Nov 8 2012

How to take great pictures on CFCA trips

Judy-Anne GoldmanBy Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA multimedia manager/producer

If you’ve been on a CFCA trip to visit your sponsored friend, you know how many wonderful and profound experiences you take home. These memories will last forever.

For many of us, we also hope to bring home photos to share those memories on our desks, walls, computer screens and refrigerator doors.

But often the picture doesn’t quite do the memory justice. The lighting turns out too bright or dark, the photo is blurry or the picture is just somehow “offî in terms of capturing the scene.

Here are a few tips to help in capturing those special moments with your camera. With just a few easy adjustments, your visit can be documented and remembered more vividly!

1) Lighting the way

When taking pictures of people, make sure that your subject’s face has some light on it, and that it’s not totally in a shadow.

If it is, here are a few things you can do:

  • Move the person around until there is better light on his/her face.
  • If the person is wearing a hat with a brim, perhaps she/he could raise the brim or take off the hat, if it’s convenient.
  • You can also use your flash to add light. Most cameras have a way to manually activate the flash.
  • Avoid too much light, though! A shady area is better than direct sun on a cloudless day.

2) Clear photos

Maggie and Elizabeth on a youth group trip to El Salvador

Maggie meets her sponsored child, Katherine, on a CFCA trip to El Salvador. Maggie traveled with a group from Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which blogged about the trip here.

Beware the fuzzy image! That can result from low lighting or from the camera shaking.

  • If you find that your pictures don’t look clear, try setting the camera down and using the self-timer so that you’re not touching the camera when it takes the photo.
  • Also, you can devise a makeshift brace by leaning against something ó a chair, a wall, a bench ó to try to steady yourself.

3) Background

This can be the culprit when the picture is just a little “off.” Be aware of what’s going on behind your subject.

  • When the background is too busy, get closer to your subject to block out some of the visual “noise.”
  • Be aware of people walking around behind your subjects. Let them pass before taking the picture.
  • If you’re showing where someone lives, you also want to make sure the background helps tell that story. Don’t be afraid of taking a wider shot to show more details.

4) Bonus points

  • Making your subjects comfortable: Some people may not be comfortable or used to having their picture taken. They might look stiff. Before taking the picture, try saying something to relax them or something a little funny.
  • Different angles: To mix it up a bit, think about taking a photo from a different angle, maybe standing on a chair or hill, or getting on the same level as a baby crawling on the ground.

We hope these tips enhance your picture-taking experience and help capture some of the memorable moments of your trip.

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2 thoughts on “How to take great pictures on CFCA trips”

  1. Thanks for the tips Judy-Anne. I am always looking for ways to improve my photos of my sponsored children and the CFCA projects.

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