Photography

Every picture tells a story, and photography can be a brilliant tool for bringing a story to life. The following guide will help you to take better photographs using a mobile phone or tablet. We’ve put together some sample images here which we hope will inspire you!

A modern Little Red Riding Hood and grandma are walking through the forest, concerned looks on their faces. A wolf is watching them from a tree right behind them, portrayed by an actor wearing grey clothing, a grey scarf, fingerless gloves and a very intricate and geometric wolf's mask
© Benjamin Akira Tallamy
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A modern-day Little Red Riding Hood is walking in the woods, wearing a blue jean overall dress with a red hoodie underneath, long brown hair peaking from under the hood. She's looking really determined.
© Benjamin Akira Tallamy
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Little Red Riding Hood's Wolf is sitting crouched on a boulder in the woods,portrayed by an actor wearing grey clothing, a grey scarf, fingerless gloves and a very intricate and geometric wolf's mask
© Benjamin Akira Tallamy
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Portrait photography of Little Red Riding Hood, The Big Bad Wold and Grandma
© Benjamin Akira Tallamy
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The Big Bad Wolf hiding between branches, portrayed by an actor wearing grey clothing, a grey scarf, fingerless gloves and a very intricate and geometric wolf's mask
© Benjamin Akira Tallamy
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Tools for visual storytelling

A great way to practice getting yourself into the mindset of telling a story visually is the freeze frame/mannequin game. This game involves creating a frozen moment from the action of the story, as if you’ve paused a film and are looking at a single frame.

This activity asks you to show the most important things about a character and the action they’re performing in a frozen pose – conveying the information through facial expressions and gestures.

Activity

Choose a moment from the story of Little Red Riding Hood and turn it into a frozen image. How might your character stand? What would their facial expression look like in this moment?

Costume

Another important factor of film and photography is costume, as things like clothing and special make up can change the first impression a character makes. We’ve compiled a style guide with some costume suggestions here, as well as instructions for creating your own wolf mask.

Again, feel free to put your own stamp on it – for example, you could make the wolf completely human-looking but with traits that are similar to the original wolf character, or make a mask for Grandma instead.

Little Red Riding Hood Look Book Wolf Mask Instructions

Location/Background

Before you take your pictures you need to consider the location or background you will be using. Think about the locations featured in the story. Lots of the story of Little Red Riding Hood takes place in the woods. If you aren’t able to get to a woods, perhaps you can find a nice tree to use as a backdrop, or a plain wall that you can stick leaf shapes or tree designs onto.

If you’re struggling to find a suitable outdoor location one simple but effective trick is to take pictures from a low angle by crouching down or sitting on the floor. This will help you to frame the character against the sky, while avoiding any buildings, cars or other objects you don’t want in the picture.

Landscape or Portrait?

The orientation of a photograph can make a big difference to the overall look of an image.

Landscape images are horizontal. They are wider than they are tall and are taken by turning your phone or tablet on it’s side. This orientation is often used to capture nature or a scene, and can be good for images of multiple people.

Portrait images are vertical. They are taller than they are wide, and are taken by holding your phone or tablet in an upright position. This orientation is perfect for photographs of faces or a single person.

The Rule of Thirds

This is a simple trick which can help to make your images more dynamic and balanced. The idea is to break an image into thirds and place people or images along the lines and at the points where the lines intersect.

The eye is naturally drawn to these points of an image, so using this technique can result in more visually interesting pictures that feel balanced in their composition.

Most phone and tablet cameras have the option to turn on a grid which will overlay on your camera screen. These grid lines can be really helpful for framing images and ensuring your pictures are level.

iOS: Settings – Camera – Composition – Grid
Android: Camera – Settings – Grid Lines

Landscape illustration overlaid with a grid cutting the image into 9 equal parts
Illustration of a portrait photograph, showing a grid which shows the eyes being at one third height

Activity

Try taking some photographs using the grid lines to guide your framing. If you’re taking a portrait picture, try to position the subject’s face or eyes along the upper third of the frame. When taking a picture of a landscape, try to position the horizon along the upper line.

Don’t zoom, move closer

When you zoom in digitally using your device, you are actually decreasing the quality of your image, and making it more grainy and pixelated. Instead of zooming in, move the camera closer to the subject or ask the subject to move towards the camera. It’s also harder to keep the image stable when zoomed in, so by doing this you’re also avoiding blurry photos caused by shaky hands.

Clean your lens

Phone and tablet lenses can quickly gather dust and dirt, especially if you leave them in a bag or pocket. Before taking pictures use a soft cloth to clean the lens. Cloths for cleaning glasses are ideal for this. You might be surprised by the difference in quality!

Camera angles

The height a photograph is taken from can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of the image.

Taking pictures from a high angle can make the subject look vulnerable and smaller. You can achieve this by standing on a ladder or a chair when taking your picture.

Taking pictures from a low angle can make the subject seem larger and scarier. You can achieve this by crouching, sitting or lying on the ground to take your picture.

Taking pictures at the same level as your subject can make them appear friendlier and creates a sense of connection between the subject of the picture and the viewer. You can achieve this by positioning the camera at eye level with your subject. If the subject is shorter or taller than you then you may need to adjust your own height by crouching down or standing on something.

side-by-side portraits, the left from a high angle, the right from a low angle

Activity

Try taking photographs from different heights. Think about the characters from the story and which angles might best capture their spirit.

Lighting

Consider the time of day you’re taking images and the overall effect this will have on the mood and atmosphere of a picture. It’s important that the subject of your photographs is well-lit and the viewer is able to see their face.

If you’re shooting during the day, try to position the sun behind your camera, rather than pointing your camera towards it. Having the camera pointed at the sun is likely to result in your subject’s features becoming obscured by the bright background.

While most cameras work well in daylight, you may run into issues when trying to take pictures in darker spaces or at night. Your natural instinct may be to turn on your camera’s flash, this can often result in an unflattering or harsh look. Instead of using a flash, consider other lighting sources which you could use. A lamp or torch, or even a streetlight can be a great alternative to flash. Experiment with the different effects created by these various lighting sources – what mood does the ambient light of a streetlight create in comparison to the direct spotlight of a flashlight?

Illustration showing a person lit from the front, and one lit from the back

Activity

Think about the story you are trying to tell. What time of day does the scene take place? How could you use lighting to make the image more interesting or atmospheric?

Selecting the best photographs

You aren’t always able to spot problems with a picture on the screen of your device, so it’s worth taking lots and lots of photos – there’s bound to be some good ones in there! Once you’ve finished, you can then go through the pictures and choose your favourites.

Activity

Use your device to edit your favourite image. Adjusting the exposure, brightness, contrast and saturation can have a big impact on the look and feel of an image. You might also consider adding a filter or effect to the picture.