AUSTIN (KXAN) - It's bluebonnet season, and you probably won't find a patch ofthe signature blooms anywhere in Texas that won't have a familyposing in it somewhere. It's the quintessential Texas Family Photo- so here are some tips from aprofessional on how to get the most out of your picture.
- Safety first. Try to find a spot that is not on the side of the freeway. No photos are worth the risking the safety of you and your loved ones. In some areas, it’s illegal to stop for non-emergency reasons.
- Keep it legal. The bluebonnet is the State Flower of Texas. It's a crime to destroy rights of way and government property - including the blooms on state-owned grass. And though it’s legal to pick them (as long as they’re not on private property), it’s better for everyone else if you leave them where they are. Any souvenirs you pick and take with you will only last an hour or so, anyway. Other people deserve a good photo as well, so watch your step.
- Colors are key. Lower speeds for film cameras and lower ISO (sensitivity) settings on digital cameras will give you deeper, richer colors.
- Don't do lunch! Noon is the worst time for it. The overhead sun is too harsh, so try getting it done before 10 a.m., or after 4 p.m. This will give you better lighting for a portrait.
- Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. Telephoto lenses are better in this situation. Try zooming in as far as your camera will go, then keep walking backwards untill you get everything you want in the shot. This will soften the foreground and background, while leaving the subject sharp. If you are photographing a small child, this also makes it easier to have an adult just few feet away – close enough to help control the child, not standing in the shot.
- Get dirty! Wear dark-colored shoes, so you aren't afraid of getting muddy. You'll have more flexibility with poses, and you won't look nervous or uncomfortable in your shots.
- Play with light. Flash in the day time is a good way to fill in shadows from eyebrows and hats. Try shooting with and without the flash for variation.
- Experiment. Try vertical! This tip applies to all photos: Don't for get to turn your camera upright. This is too often an afterthought, but can really help you find unique perspectives on the photo.
- Eliminate background noise. A horizon line, in this case, is not your friend. Buildings and power lines and even the horizon itself can be distracting when your focal points are the flowers and the people. Try standing and looking downward at your subject. Bring a small step stool if you have one. Also, don't be afraid to use the same spot someone else has already used. If someone else is taking a picture in a dense bank of flowers, don't feel like you have to claim your own territory or shoot your photo in a unique area. Hang out and wait for them to leave, then use their good idea for the great location.
- Don't hold back. Take as many shots as you can. For digital, you’re only as limited as your memory card. For film shooters, at least a whole roll is recommended.
BONUS: Don't forget to smile!
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