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Sony’s Guide to Capturing Magical Family Moments

Press release   •   Jun 10, 2013 10:13 BST

To celebrate the launch of Sony’s new camera, the Cyber-Shot™ HX50, the world’s smallest, lightest camera with 30x zoom, Sony has teamed up with the finalists in the Portraiture, Smile and People categories of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards to get their tips on what it takes to capture the best and most natural photos of people.

The family photographer always has a big job on their hands – recording birthdays, family holidays and reunions. Like the majority of designated family photographers, you want to ensure you’re capturing natural photos you can treasure. These tips let you in on the secrets of some of the world’s best photographers, which will guarantee you take photos that are truly unique and inspiring, capturing moments and memories that will last a lifetime.

The expert photographers from around the world have reached the final stages of the awards with images that capture the wonder of beauty pageants, travellers and the ultra wealthy to name a few. The photographers have offered their top tips for creating these exquisite shots, revealing how you ensure your photos always look natural and offering insights into what you shouldn’t leave home without.

Sony asked the photography finalists, if they could share just one tip what would it be – almost two thirds of respondents said that knowing the subject of your photo was the key to taking great shots – so if it’s a family or friend then you’re on the right track. The photographers insisted that talking to your subject, looking into their eyes and reading their body language will ensure photographs that depict the essence of the people you’re trying to capture.

In addition to getting to know the people you are photographing, the photographers also recommend getting up close to the action, either in person or if that’s not possible with a good zoom on your camera. Marco Ceccaroni from Italy says that this is the most important thing:

“When you take pictures of people you need to be up close to them, if not photos don’t have the same strength. Keeping your distance measures how deep you can look at them. This is incredibly important above all in portraiture photos.”

Finally, the photographers also advised to think about the whole photo, not just about the subject in it. Both Dragoi Alecsandra from Romania and Paulo Mittelman from Brazil stress the importance of the whole composition.

Dragoi Alecsandra said: ‘When you take a picture of a person you always have to be careful about the background. What is happening behind your model can change dramatically the image and its meaning.’

Ensuring your photos look natural

The photographers advised that the secret was to wait for the shot... after the shot - waiting for your family or friends to stop posing is important to ensure the shots aren’t forced – this is the key to keeping things natural. Marco Ceccaroni from Italy a finalist in the portraiture category says that photographs increase the grade of expression on your subject, so you should wait for them to stop posing. When this happens you can finally take your shot – ensuring that your camera has a super speedy response time will ensure that you don’t miss a second of that natural look.

In addition to waiting for the magic moment after the pose, the photographers advised that the secret was to sink into the background of the photos; top photographers Michela Taeggi, Li Fan and Boguslawa Trela all agree this is incredibly important.

Michela Taeggi from Italy, shortlisted in the People category confirms this: “A photographer needs to be discreet and to move gently if he wants to catch a real moment of somebody's life.”

In addition to these tips, Ming Hui Guan from China offers one final piece of advice - sharing the photographs you take of your family and friends helps them relax. If they like what they see in those pictures then they will feel even more comfortable letting you take photos of them again and again.

Don’t leave home without…

The photographers identified three key items that they never leave home without – these include a tripod, flash and notebook – half of the photographers in the people categories cited these as essential in their kit bags.

Berta Vicente Salas from Spain said: ‘My notebook is essential; in fact it is a diary. When I have an idea, I always write it there, then, when I am absolutely sure that I already know what I want, I take it’

Other items identified that are useful for capturing the best people shots include props for your family and friends as Boguslawa Trela did in one of his shortlisted shots of his friend blowing bubbles.

In addition to these items, having a good camera that can capture every special moment with your family and friends is vital. The new Cyber-shot™ HX50 camera from Sony gives every scene the colour, detail and clarity it deserves – even at high zoom. Boasting a 20.4MP sensor and built-in image stabilisation, the HX50 delivers beautifully vibrant photos and Full HD videos, even when you’re far from your subject. What’s more it’s the world’s smallest, lightest digital still camera that packs a powerful 30x optical zoom range.