Mandy Altimus Pond, a local photographer with her own home studio in Massillon, organizes large group photo shoots and single-person portrait photo shoots, mostly for the art of creating great photographs.

Have you ever taken what you thought were a group of great photographs and when you had them printed there was an empty soda can sitting next to your subject in one of the photos? Or maybe there was a pole coming out of someone's head in another photo? Inevitably, you're going to have one or more pictures where someone has their eyes closed.


With just a few tips, anyone can take great photos these days, especially with digital cameras and cell phone cameras. You can take the photo several times from several different angles to make sure you get it right.


Mandy Altimus Pond, a local photographer with her own home studio in Massillon, organizes large group photo shoots and single-person portrait photo shoots, mostly for the art of creating great photographs. She offered tips for taking better photographs.

MEET MANDY


Mandy Altimus Pond is a local artist who uses her camera as her canvas. With an interest in history and a passion for art, she combines her talents to create beautiful and unique photographs. Anyone is welcome to help with her group photos by dressing up to be a part of the photo shoots. More about her work, information on her studio and a call for models may be seen at www.altimuspond.com. For more information, contact her at mandypond@gmail.com.

1. USE PROPS.

To make your portraits more interesting and exciting, try using a few props. Instead of just taking a photograph of a woman, have her hold an umbrella. Using props will add something extra and can often liven up your image.

2. EYES OPEN.

When taking a group photo, use the rule of threes to make sure you got everyone with their eyes open. Take the same photo three times and, chances are, at least one will have everyone smiling with their eyes open.

3. FILL THE FRAME

Details make the photograph. Add interest creativity to your photos by filling the frame with the subject. Instead of taking photos from far away, get up-close and personal.

4. SHOOT OFF-CENTER.

Don't center the subject of your photographs. Subjects look much more interesting if you follow the rule of thirds. Imagine drawing a tic-tac-toe board on your screen and then try to put your subject where one of those sets of lines intersects.

5. USE THE SUN.

To work with a different type of natural light, try photographing an hour or so before sunset. Photographers call this the "magic hour" because the sunlight is golden and makes almost anything look magical.

6. KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS.

Many times I would get back from a photo shoot in a beautiful wooded park and discover that an empty soda can or bottle is lurking in my image.

7. BE CREATIVE

The great thing about the digital age is you don't have to pay for each photo, nor wait for it to be developed. Take a photo of your subject from several different angles and compare them. You'd be surprised how quickly you can turn a boring photo of a flower into a work of art by getting underneath the petals.