Tips for capturing great hug photos

Recent model iPhone and Android phones both take great photos. Most people have become accustom to phone cameras, whereas fancy DSLR specific-use cameras may be more intimidating to some people.

We recommend turning OFF the HDR feature on your iPhone or Android. In environments where there is a lot of movement, HDR photos do not always turn out well. Many of the exposure benefits that come with HDR can be achieved with post-production editing.

***Don’t worry about the camera being seen. The vast majority of
people don’t care, at least not if you are using a phone camera to take pics. Have the photographer in plain sight so that they may be visible to the subjects. Focus more on getting good shots rather than on trying to be invisible. It is not kind to film/photo people when the camera is hiding. It is dishonest and it’s not our way.

Take about 80% to 90% of pictures with the Seed’s back to the camera. Take 10% to 20% of shots with the Seed’s face in the picture.

Take ALL pictures with the phone positioned horizontally/landscape.

Try not to get super close-ups of just heads and shoulders. At a minimum, try to get full upper bodies framed in the picture, from the waist up. Even better are full body shots, from head to toe, which give us much more flexibility for editing.

Note: there are many highlighted pics throughout this site that are close-ups, but they almost all started as full-body shots.

Standing 8 to 10 feet away from the subjects is a good distance.

The most important pic is the peak of the embrace. The peak of the hug is when one or both hands are firmly planted on the Seed’s back and the subject appears to be most present and relaxed into the hug. Feel free to take a couple pics at this point to get the best shot. Sometimes, with extra shots, the expressions from photo to photo may be similar, but the background may change as different people pass by. Some backgrounds are more favorable to work with than others. 

Sometimes a picture or two leading up to the full hug embrace is nice, like when they are approaching each other, and arms are wide open.

For law enforcement, bigger guys, or other interesting people, try to take multiple pics of the approach, and take multiple pics of the  embrace. These photos are candidates to be highlighted in the gallery.

Ideally, the camera person would be slightly to the right or left of center so that the subject isn’t looking directly into the camera, but don’t get too hung up on this detail.