Sat 30th Jun Family Portraits (7) Show Your  Best Side.

You've probably seenprofessional portraits taken this way. If you form a line facing to the sideways to the camera and then turn your heads to face the lens, it makes for an interesting photograph. It's really easy to do, and makes for great looking portraits. It's really easy to achieve, just make sure evetyone's facing the camera.

Fri 29th June Family Portraits (6) Keep The Kids Happy.

There's nothing worse than a sulky child on a family portrait. When I took my autistic daughter to a studio for her portrait smiling was a bit of a problem. The photographer would often have a large box of cuddly toys to wave about to get her to smile. It workedmost of the time, so if you've got a freind who can do this for you it's a good idea. Or you can put their favourite DVD or pop star on to get them to behave. Naughty children means tense parents, and that can show in the finished photo, whereas happy kids make for a relaxed atmosphere and a great portrait.

Thurs 28th June Family Portraits (5)Use A Tripod And Timer. 

Proffessional photographers use a tripod to take portraits, and a tripod is a perfect way of getting the sharpest shot, and also getting yourself in the picture. If you set your ccamera up on the tripod and get the family perfectly positioned, using the 10 second timer means you can get yourself in the shot. If you can get away with buying a cheap mini tripod from the pound shop and putting it on the table to take the shot it saves you the trouble of setting up a full sized tripod.

Wed 27th June Family Portraits (4) Fancy That!

You've all seen those victorian style photo booths on the pier at the seaside where your family dresses up in Victorian clothing for a black and white photograph. Well, why not try it for yourself at home? Fancy dress shops will hire out the costumes. And why stick with a victorian theme? There's loads of different costumes available. Why not choose a superhero theme, or maybe a sporting one? The possibilities are endless and make for an unusually different family portrait.

Tues 26th June Family Portraits (3) Act Naturally.

The best family portraits look natural. Laughter, chatting and smiling all look good in a portrait, but it should be natural. Try to get shots when the family's nattering away or laughing as these expressions really can make a family portrait. Try not to make your portrait look stiff or sullen as this ruins a photograph. If your taking a portait of all your kids, shouting out 'Who wants an ice cream' as you press the shutter will get them smiling or squealing with delight, and these candid moments make a great portrait.

Mon 25th June Family Portraits (2) Lipstick, Powder & Paint.

Shakin' Stevens had the hit record of that title, but his trademark denim stage outfit definately wasn't suitable for a family portrait. You need to dress up for the occasion without going over the top. Women and girls should wear some make up but don't go overboard. It should enhance the portrait. For an informal portrait, a nice blouse and skirt or summer dress is fine for the ladies, whilst slacks and nice shirt (and possibly a jumper) is great for the males. A nice buckled belt on gents trousers enhances the shot. As for evening wear, it should be avoided as it's too showy for a family portrait (it's fine for a glamour portrait for a woman though). Hair should look neat and tidy. A good time to take the portrait is straight after a trip to the hairdressers or barbers.

Sun 24th June Family Portraits (1) Preparation.

Over the next few days I'll show you how to take great family portraits. Family portraits are an essitial part of American family life, but in Britain they've not caught on in such a big way. Preperation is the key. I don't mean in a fashion or make up sense, I mean preparing the house for the photograph. To begin,y ou need a good location for the photo shoot. If you're taking a portait to mark a graduation from university then a study with a bookcase is great, if it's a casual photo then the family couch is a great idea, and a long dining table with a candleabra on it is great for a formal portrait in evening wear. Make sure the room is neat and tidy, and that there's nothing that will spoil the shot.

Sat 23rd June June Brides (10) Santa's Little Helper.

There's a lot for a professional photographer to consider when photographing a wedding, but if you've beeen asked to do the photography as a favour to the happy couple it can be daunting if you've never done it before. The most critical time is just after the ceremony when every one has to be in the pictures.It's a good idea to have an 'Assistant' who can get everyone where they need to be whilst you concentrate on getting perfect shots. They can also bring a second camera along to get some extra candid shots. Remember, don't bite off more than you can chew, and if you don't think you're up to the job, don't be afraid to say no.

Fri 22nd June June Brides (9) That's What Friends Are For.

For a mid price point package, a good wedding photographer can cost between £1,000-£1,500 (source: website http://www.weddingphotographerindex.co.uk/calculator.php#results using the 3rd option everytime and a local photographer between April-September)..With the advent of digital photography many couples are turning to family and friends who are keen amateurs to save money. For my first wedding (1994 pre digital era) a friend with an interest in photography took the pictures (and chauffered some of the guests) for the cost of the film and developing.. it was a big mistake on both counts, and the grafiti on the church didn't help either (I'm not kidding!). All we recieved was a wallet with the developed prints two rolls of films, many of which were blurred (Supersnaps  or a similar service) taken just before, during and  immediately after the service  My second wedding was a different kettle of fish. A friend of my stepson who was a photography student took the pictures, and my wife and I recieved a photbook album with 40 prints a small framed print , a cd with all the images taken on it (over 300 taken from early morning until the early part of the evening reception) and an online gallery to view the images, As she was a student, the images were excellent and didn't cost us a penny (We did give her a sizeable cash gift to her for doing it). If you are thinking of going down this route, then don't just give the job to someone who's keen to do it for you. As with choosing a paid for photographer, ask to see examples of their work, and look at their ohotos uploaded to Facebook, Flickr and other photo sharing sites. You also need to be sure they'll turn up, and also not get drunk before the wedding breakfast has finisjed, and that they can plan and organise all the photographs beforehand.


Thurs 21st June June Brides (8) Stags And Hens

Why should it be just the wedding day that makes it in to the wedding album? The celebrations often start with the stag and hen nights, and they're great photo opportunities. From the first glass of wine or pint of lager, to the taxi ride home, there's plenty of photo opportunities that could make it into a wedding album. And these days, many people go away for aw weekend on a stag or hen do. Spain and  the Greek Islands are popular destinations, due to the night life.Many high jinks take place on these jaunts, and often make amusing photographs. Just make sure that nothing too embarrasing makes it into the album, and no photos of the bride or groom to be flirting makes it into the album or there'll be ruptions. 

Wed 20h June June Brides (7)  Ministerial Rules

No, this isn't about Government legislation, it's about church ministers. They are in charge of the church, and may have strict rules. Some churches ban photography during the service (when photography was invented, many people thought it broke the second commandment - yet many Vicars, Priests and ministers took it as a hobby and camera film was invented by an American Reverand, not Kodak who patented the process first), some ban the use of flash, and some churches allow both. The last thing you want to do is to suffer the embarrassment of the Vicar telling you to stop taking pictures. Respect the Minister's instructions.

Tuesday 19th June, June Brides (6)

If you wander around the Bride's house, the Church, the hotel or the reception venue, take plenty of shots of fill in items, like the Church sign, guest place tags, confetti on a table etc, that can be used to link from one set of photo's to the next in your album (be it a printed one or an online one for all to see). For example, the Church sign can be used to introduced the photo's taken in the church, or a shot of the hairdressers used to link to the shot's of the hairdo session, and a shot of the empty dancefloor links to the evening party photo's. Try it, it makes for a really interesting album.

Monday 18th June June Brides (5)

If there's a professional photographer on hand to capture the day, stand along side him and take the same group shots that he/she takes. If he's using the flash, you shouldn't need to as his pro flash will light the scene if you time it so you shoot at the same time. And if you should be 'Unlucky' enough to be needed in a photograph, give the pro your camera and ask him to take one for you. Or you could ask someone you trust who's not in the shot to take the picture for you.

Sun 17th June June Brides (4)

If you've ever seen 'Big Fat Gypsy Wedding'  or 'Don't Tell The Bride' on T.V. you'll know how well the reception venue get's decorated. Whilst most couples don't go to the extravagance of these weddings, most reception venues will be decorated to a large extent.Try and be the first to the venue so you can photigraph the decorations without anyone there to spoil the photo's. The Wedding Cake, the foil helium ballond, the table decorations and even the buffet spread are all great photo ideas. Just be careful not to nibble the grub before anyone else.

Sat 16th June June Brides (3)

To get the best photo's, get a seat as near the front row as possible. The closer you are to the happy couple the better it is. It makes the camera's autofocus easier and more reliable, and you can zoom in even closer than from several rows behind. Stand up when photographing to avoid 'Back of head' shots spoiling your photo's. Some churches ban the use of flash, so make sure it's turned off.

Fri 15th June June Brides (2)

Have you thought about being there when the bride, or groom are getting ready. I saw a Facebook album where the entire morning had been photographed, from the cooking of eggs and bacon for breakfast, to the groom dressing (tastefully may I add). My own wedding photo's include my wife getting her hair and makeup done (it really helps having a make up artist for a step daughter), ironing the dress and a row of shoes lining the hall. It's these personal moments that add the extra touches to wedding photo's.

Thurs June 14th June Brides (1)

The summer month's are traditionally a time for summer weddings.If you're taking photographs, whether it be for your own collection, Facebook, or you've been asked to do it by the happy couple, then you need to think about what you're planning. A 'Shot List' of pictures to take, such as the family shot, exchanging rings, confetti shot, cutting the cake, the first dance, the speeches etc, is a great idea. Ifyou're attending a wedding this weekend, why not create your list now? Anthther wedding Photo tip to come tomorrow.

Wed 13th June Lucky For Some!

Don't let superstition put you off taking great photo's. If you have to stand under a ladder to get a great shot. A single magpie makes a great photo, as does a black cat crossing your path. Think about the most feared superstitions, and see if you can turn them into a great photo. You can even use your camera on Friday 13th to photograph lightning striking twice if you wish, just don't worry about it, it'll be alright. And did you know it's actually in The Bible not to be superstitious. Today's tip is meant to be a little light hearted relief, and although there's a few photo ideas in it, should not be taken too seriously.

Tues 12th Jun Top of The Pops.

I'm giving you all plenty of warning with this tip. Father's day is less than a week a way, and what better pressie for dear old dad can there be than a spanking new digital camera. Just head over to our Buying Advice and Megapixel Madness pages. If he's got a top of the range camera already then how about some accessories for it. Memory cards can be picked up cheaply on Amazon and other online stores starting at under a fiver, or there's lenses,cases, spare batteries, and other great ideas. However, if you're the ultimate knock off Nigel looking for a pressie for your dad, then Tesco and the pound shops have cases in for just....... You've guessed it, £1.00.

Mon 11th June. Golden Goal!

I'm writing this on the back of England's1-1 draw with France today. There's lots more footy related pics you can take. For example, several of my mates (no, I'm not a Billy No Mates) went to Soccer Aid and got great photo's (but sadly not the goals). Or you can photgraph your mate in his Blingland kit (or should that read Mingland) trying to do trick skills with a soccer ball, or even one of your dog playing with a footie ball as well (no dear, a pic of Millie the cat with your ball of wool isn't a footie pic). Even the kids can dress up and get on in the act, and Mum could take pics of them running rings around you. Now how did that photo of you bending over out of breath in your soccer kit make it onto Facebook? Shame you don't know the missus' password to delete it.

Sun 10th June Goal!

You've all seen the telly ads showing the lads in the pub celebrating a goal being scored. Well, if you're going down the pub to watch Euro 2012 with your mates, why not take your digicam and capture the excitement on your mates faces when England score (or maybe the dissappointment when Joe Hart lets one in). Then there's always the guys who paint the england flag on their faces. That's a pretty picture, which can be enhanced even further with a red and white curly wig, or a larged england flag draped over the shoulders. Score lots of  great pics during the chamionship.

Sat 9th Jun Think small!

Little things can make interesting pictures too. You can use macro mode to get in close, or zoom in with a large zoom camera. There's lots of ideas. In the garden there's daisies, four leave clovers and lots of small plants to photograph. small sweets aranged on a plate or table top make for an interesting subject, as does craft items, like beads, sequins, feathers and even toys. Think about  what you can photographthat's small, and then plan how you're going to take the shot. Remember, you can still use your zoom in macro mode to get in closer, just make sure the image onscreen looks sharp before you take your shot. 

Fri 8th Jun Think Big!

It doesn't take much to think big about photography, large megapixel counts, big zoom lenses and even bigger wallets to pay for it all. But you can think big about taking pictures without flashing the cash. Want the bigger picture? Use your camera's panoramic mode. Want brighter blue skies? Want the best possible pictures? Read your manual so you know how to get the best from your camera. At the zoo? take large groups of animals as opposed to single ones. Use a polarising filter. I'm sure you get the picture.Think about how to get more from your pictures, then go and do it. Make sure you think big the next time you get your camera out.

Thurs 7th Jun Stayin' Alive!

As I write this tip, the Bee Gee's are on TV with the above named song. Professional photoshoots need to undertake a risk assessment before going ahead, and we as casual photographers need to adopt a similar approach. You should be thinking ' Can I take this shot safely?' If you're photographing a bulding, don't just step back into a road to get the whole building in the shot, and it's a similar situation if you're photographing close to the edge of a cliiff (don't stand too close to the edge and fall over) or near water (don't fall in), and make sure you don't trip over cables and other hazards. Take a quick look around and assess the situation before you consider getting into a position to take the shot.


Wed 6th June Splish Splash!

You've all seen photo's of water splashes and thought 'Wow!', but did you know they're really easy to achieve? Put an empty clear glass bowl in the sink and set your camera to burst mode and the maximum number of shots allowed. Set your camera for a fast shutter speed or if you don't have that option, use sports mode to freeze the action. Run the tap fast and photograph the drops boucing off the bowl. The empty bowl will generate lots of splashes, but the fuller the bowl gets then you see the droplets splashing up off the water. You might have to take loads of shots to get the perfect shot, but it's worth it.

Tues 5th June Rainy Days

Don't let the rain stop you getting out and taking photo's. Just keep your camera in your case or bag, and don't use it in a heavy downpour. Ripples on a pond, raindrops on leaves and ducks on a pond in the rain make good subjects. If you have a waterproof case for your camera then you can use it in the heaviest of downpours.

Monday 4th June Blue Skies

As I write this it's great that today is a day of sunshine where I live as this tip is all about blue skies. The Apri Tip Of The Day page features several photos featuring sunlight. The tree and blubell photos in particular are greatly enhanced by the creative use of blue skies. If you get down low shooting flowers and get the sunlight in the picture, as we often see flowers shot against grass or soil, and the blue sky really makes for a different shot.  Beach shot's look better with a really blue sky. Blue skies can be enhanced with a Polarising filter. If your camera has a filter thread then just screw the correct sized filter onto the lense. If you've a simple point and shoot or a camera phone, then hols a filter in front of the lens and take the shot single handedly. And if you take a portable photo printer on holiday with you, you can print your own holiday postcards, the bluer the sky the better.

Sunday 3rd June Light Painting.

This is a cool tip. Take a darkend room, a slow shutter speed or night mode and a small torch (LED torches are great for this). Give the torch to your friend. Night mode keeps the shutter open longer than normal on a point & shoot model, but if you have shutter priority or full manual mode set it for as long as you need. !0 seconds should be a good time. Move the torch about and when the shutter closes the result is a light painting. If you can put coloured cellophane over the torch it makes it more colourful. Several torches with different colours adds a great contrast to your photograph.It's best to mount the camera on a tripod if you can. If you want to spell out a word or image, remember to do it in reverse, otherwise you'll get a mirror image.

Sat 2nd June Jubilee Weekend

Get your camera out. There's lots going on around the country all this weekend. Street parties, concerts, fetes, regattas and many more different types of events to celebrate our Queen's 60th Year on the throne (and I don't mean that gold plated toilet in her en-suite bathroom). Get your camera out and show us your celebration pictures for the Point-n-shoot Jubilee Photo Challenge. It could be painted faces, bunting flying in the wind, pictures from the royal regatta or concert, a photo of Her Madge or something entirely different. Post your entries on our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/186294448128523/ and I'll announce the winner at the weekend.

Fri 1st June Summer Of Sport 

This summer is going to be one of the best summers for Britsh sport.There's the Olympics, the Euro 2012 Championships, Wimbledon, the Open Golf, test cricket and much more taking place. If you're attending one of these events then don't forget your camera. A long zoom model is great for getting closer to the action, but if you've only got a small 3 or 5 x zoom then that will have to suffice. You can get in a little closer with a small zoom lense camera by using the digital zoom as well, but don't go above 50% digital zoom to eliminate camera shake. Image stabilisation should be switched on, and a fast shutter speed or sports mode selected to capture the action in pin sharp detail. If you can't make one of these big events, just find some local events instead. If you can't make the big sporting events, then there's always lots of local cricket, tennis, local golf courses and even crown or flat green bowling to choose from. The best of this summer's sporting action makes for great photographs..