This article originally appeared as part of the story Getting the Picture in the December 2019 issue.
Find Your Light
“Be aware of different color light sources. For example, if it’s really bright out and you have window light coming in, but also a lamp on, turn the lamp off,” Coddington says. “Otherwise you’ll get weird coloring on people’s skin.” When in doubt, natural light is usually the most flattering.
Get in the Picture
If you’re the go-to picture taker, make sure that you’re not left out of every photo. “Don’t hide behind the camera,” Coddington says. “Your family doesn’t care if you feel like you need to lose 10 pounds or if your hair is messy. They love you and want to see you in photos.” Hand your camera to someone else; you’ll be grateful you did.
“Try to catch your natural smiles instead of ‘cheese,’” Coddington says. So how do you capture that elusive authentic grin? Ask your subjects to relax their faces and try to make them laugh. “There’s a moment at the tail end of a big laugh that is really just a natural smile,” she says.
Let Kids Be Kids
“Kids get really frustrated when they are told to stay still or smile,” Coddington says. “They don’t have a long attention span and sometimes they just need a break.” She recommends starting the shoot with the photos you need to have kids in and then giving them a break. “Let them be themselves,” Coddington says. “Be silly; have fun.”