Top Tips on taking great Explorer Day Photos

by Leslie Bol, Board Member and Club Co-Leader, Vancouver

Leslie Bol, Board Member and Vancouver Club’s co-leader shares some of her top tips for composition and framing.  Whether you are shooting with a DSLR or your camera phone here are a few things to keep in mind to capture your fantastic Explorer Days and allow us to share them with others.

1. Change your perspective – get down to kid height, on your belly for a close-up for a picture of a frog, or up high to capture an interesting overview of a scene. Think about doing something different than the default position of taking a photo from your standing height.

Figure 1. Being eye to eye with this northern leopard frog is a much more intimate photo than having taken a photo from above it.

2. Action and Reaction – remember to take a photo of not only the subject in question but also the reaction of the kids to what they are experiencing. Capturing candid emotions can be very engaging for the viewer.

Figure 2. Here’s a photo from a kids bird photography day. I loved capturing the reaction of all the children taking a photo of a bird they saw. This was much more interesting to me than a photo of the bird itself.

3. Focus – think about always keeping the eyes of your subject in focus whether it’s a person or animal!
4. Rule of thirds – segment your photo into thirds both horizontally and vertically and align your subject with one of the lines or their eye with one of the inner corners.

Figure 3. In this photo, I’ve aligned one of the eyes of Georgina with one of the intersections of the lines dividing the photo into thirds and I’ve made sure her eyes are in focus.

5. Drop or crop out distracting or extraneous items – if there is something at the edge of your photo that isn’t adding to the story of your picture then try not to include it in the first place or crop it out later.
6. Take lots of photos and curate them down to the very best ones – National Geographic photographers only ever have about 10% of the photos that they take used or published. So take lots of pictures and then choose which ones are the best to tell the story of your Explorer Day.