Do you feel like you take the same pictures over and over again? Formal occasion: pose in front of the fireplace. Group picture: stand shoulder to shoulder. It can get a little boring unless you mix it up.
There are many places online you can read about photography tips. Some of the articles and blogs are focused on the professional, but they can remind you of ways to change up your picture-taking to make more interesting shots. Little changes that make a big impact include changing your angle (standing on something and shooting down or crouching down and shooting up – like I did with the cat on the ladder in the main picture), using a bench to vary the height of your group of subjects, and seeking out new locations for your pictures.
In group shots, make sure everyone is touching. It doesn’t necessarily have to be with their hands or arms, but the closer together your subjects, the better the result. I often say, “Pretend you like each other!” Also, figure out who the goofball is and ask them to do something silly. Everyone else will react naturally.
For a close-up portrait, look for an interesting background. That beige wall is nice and not distracting, but maybe a wood grain door, a modern painting, or a bush in bloom does a better job of filling in the space behind the face. Also – don’t let your subject stand right up against something. A little depth looks better.
Take candid shots. Hang back a little and snap away as grandpa greets his grandchild. Sneak up behind kids having a serious discussion. Watch how someone at the table reacts to a story being told. All your pictures won’t be winners, but it’s easy to delete in this digital age. You might just catch something magical when people aren’t posing for the camera.
Before your next event, create a list of ideas for photos you want to try. Consult your list to make sure you are actually using those ideas. With a little practice, you will soon have a variety of different pictures to enjoy.