From The Jason Files: D Is For Distraction

August 22, 2011

I have a terrible blind spot when it comes to taking pictures.

I have a bad habit of missing tiny details – like spaghetti sauce on the face of my friend’s daughter.

Ugh.

Little distractions can drive you nuts – like a weird shadow, something odd in the background or an out of place hair. I know that I can obsess over something small for months after I make a photo.

I’ve gotten a lot better at this over the years, thanks in part to a handful of checks and balances I’ve put in place. These days, there are fewer chocolate smudges on faces my final photo:

1.) Look without your camera.

Look at your subject before you even lift your camera. Is the face clean for the portrait? Are telephone wires obscuring the landscape? Does the sunlight look weird on the building? No matter what you’re taking a picture of, ask a lot of questions.

2.) Pack a clean up kit.

This one’s helpful when you’re taking portraits. Pack some wet wipes (for clean faces), a squeaky toy (to get attentions) and some Clean and Clear pads (to tone down shine), water and snacks (to keep rumbling stomachs quiet) and some clothes pins (to keep things in place). These will save your life.

3.) Click a little more.

Why take one photo when you can shoot ten? Overcome blinking eyes and things moving through the background by taking more photos. I often take five or more photos of the same pose – just to make sure I got the right look. As you take more photos, you’ll get really good at spotting common distractions.

4.) Take a breath.

Snap a few shots, then review your pics on the back of your camera. I have a checklist of things to look for (focus, light, pose, etc.) every time I look at the back of my camera.

5.) Get a second set of eyes.

Having someone else look at the photos helps a whole lot. My girlfriend’s got eyes like a hawk when it comes to distractions. She’s amazing at spotting the things I don’t. Ask someone else to look at the photo – and tell them what kind of distractions to spot.

Try it! If you get the best portraits ever then you are morally obliged to share them with us here! And be sure to check in with Jason at his Facebook page, where he is GENEROUS with the tips and advice, and to keep up with all of his Digital Life photos right here.

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