Prom is a one in a lifetime event for high schooler. Here are some tips to make a wonderful prom pictures.
1. Watch the background
No one looks good in a tuxedo or a dress with power lines behind their head or a garbage cans behind them. Pick a spot where it is ‘clean’. Use a shrub as a background or in front of their limo, on a staircase, or just simply a blank wall.
Having an expensive camera will not make a great pictures but lighting will. Find a spot where light is bright. Do not put them in a spot where they will squint. Use a diffuser if you have one.
3. Watch for Shadows
Shadows are big disasters. Be sure that there are no harsh shadow thrown across the picture.
4. Get them Close to Each Other
Let the couple get really close together in the photo. Cheeks touching and hugging add a lot to your photo.
5. Getting “The Pose”
Never let yourself be photographed straight on in a full body composition. The flattening effect of photography will add the illusion of being larger than you are. Face 90 degrees away from the camera and then turn 45 degrees back towards the camera with your upper body. Finish by turning the rest of the way towards the camera with just your head. Also, never tuck your head back or you will have a double chin in the photos. Move your head forward a bit to elongate your neck. Photography poses rarely look normal except through the lens.
6. Use the Program or Action Setting on Your Camera
If you do not use the manual setting on your camera then use the program setting with shutter speed set for at least 1/150 of a second. If your camera does not have a program setting use the action setting. I know this goes against the “use the portrait setting” advice you’ve heard a dozen times but there is a good reason for this. The portrait setting uses a slower film speed and wider aperture to blur the background and gain a more fine grain texture. This creates a very tiny depth of field on some cameras (sometimes so small the nose is in focus and the eyes are out of focus) and results in a slow shutter speed that can lead to a shaky image. Using action mode is a good compromise of aperture and shutter speed.
7. Get “The Smile”
Nothing ruins a photo faster than a forced fake smile. As the photographer, part of your “job” is to capture a genuine expression. Try saying something completely ridiculous instead of “say cheese”. Try something like “say purple people eater” and watch. There will be a moment of complete confusion followed by a laugh. In the middle of all that expression change will be a beautiful smile – be ready to click fast when it appears.
8. Take Your Time
Grabbing a few shots before the prom is a great idea. Don’t try to do it just as the limo arrives though. A rushed photo session never returns the results you hope to achieve. Plan ahead to have a few moment for candid shots. If you are mom or dad and your child still balks at your photographing them before prom consider a little bribery. Offering an extra hour before curfew will work wonders for the cooperation level and really isn’t that big a concession on your part.
9. Consider a Photojournalist Style
Photojournalist style imagery basically captures a lot of unposed candids. Like wedding photojournalism, the resulting images are more stark but show a lot of personality. Getting ready shots and even shopping for the dress is a great time for photojournalist style.
No matter how important the day is, its not worth an ulcer. Above all else relax! If you are relaxed the photo subjects will be more relaxed and the photos will come out better.