Too Much Tilt In This Photo? Yeah, You’re Right.

Yes, too much leaning to the right. Or is that the left? But I love the expression. It is so hard to get natural expressions from her these days. I am sure this is true of all kids her age.


They become more self-conscious. More goofy. They think they’re Miley Cyrus posing for CD cover (check out the tween star earrings I let her wear on weekends now). So this was a shot in-between the aforementioned less than desirable looks/poses. I just love her face. And the color! Posed in the shade of the garage in front of the sunny and colorful azalea bushes, she pops off the background. To get this effect, I set the camera to aperture priority and opened up to F/5.6 (my widest opening on this lens, at this focal lenth, in this light, at this ISO). Setting your camera to the portrait scene mode would give you a similar result. The wide open aperture makes the background blurry and soft. But I’ve got to admit it, my attraction to tilting (seeMarch 13 post) did not work out in this photo so much. I’ll try tilting it back a little in photoshop. But love the smile and that’s what really counts. (F/5.6; 1/125 sec; 400 ISO; 60mm with VC on).

Communion Portrait


I love window light. In the Italian restaurant where we celebrated this boy’s first holy communion, a bank of windows with translucent shades was near the kids table. I asked him to take a minute and stand near the windows, using the wall treatments as a colorful and classic background that leads your eyes right to the subject’s face. I set the camera to aperture priority and dialed in the widest aperture opening I could (F/4.2). The ISO was set at 400. And since the light was low, I turned on the anti-stabilizer on the lens and was able to get a sharp image at 1/30th of a second (gotta love that VC!). The natural light really lets you see the details in his dapper suit and his beautiful rose corsage. And his dark eyes sparkle from the window light. It took more than a few shots to get a natural smile, and I did it by asking him to close his eyes real tight and then open them. He giggled after making a goofy face and I was able to catch a pretty natural smile.

To Tilt or Not To Tilt Your Photos


I admit it. I am a tilter. I just love the little feeling you get that this is a moment captured rather than a posed shot (even when it is, like this one after she got her 6th sequential soccer award–well, every player gets one every season, but special to her nonetheless). To me, slightly or moderately tilting the camera gives the picture energy. The other benefit of tilting is that if you, like me, hardly ever hold the camera really straight (making my images sometimes look a bit “off”) no one notices that the image wasn’t straight to begin with. So I just go with my natural tendency to tilt and use it for effect. Now many people feel tilting is over-done. And it can be. And there is certainly a time when it is not appropriate and can ruin an image. But I like it. And I’m sticking with it. For now. (ISO 800; 55mm; F/4.8; no flash; program mode; auto white balance). PS-can you see the catch light in her eyes? It’s coming from an overhead skylight! So look around for a light source when you are figuring out where you want your subject to stand.