Wednesday, February 4, 2009

photography tips....reposted

First, Melissa's question: Did you get the great camera first and then work on improving your photography, or the other way around?

I really started working on my photography when I started my blog. I had a Canon Elph point and shoot (well, we actually owned several due to various mishaps, ahem.). I got my nice camera about a year and half after I got serious. I think there were still settings on the Elph that I hadn't mastered. So, there is a lot of good functions on a basic point and shoot that can get you pretty far. What I wanted to play with though, was aperature priority (making one point in the photo in focus and having other parts blurry). And I couldn't do that on my point and shoot.

The best tip that I heard when I was starting out was: try not to use the flash. So, I stopped using the flash. And I've liked my photos so much more since I stopped. There is something about the way the flash lights up the shot that looks harsh and distorts the colors.

If are you interested in trying out the 'no flash' approach, I suggest a gradual weaning. First, know the parts of your home that have good light (my kitchen in the morning, Andrew's room in the afternoon). And do what you can in those spaces. For example, this valentine banner. I wanted to get a shot of Andrew holding the banner, but since it was going to be a posed shot anyway, I posed him on the kitchen floor to get the good light.

Then, after you know the good areas in your home for natural light shots, you can experiment little by little with your other settings to get photos in the rooms of your home that are not well lit. For example, my dining room has no windows. It's lit by the living room windows and a floor lamp. When I want to take pictures in the dining room, I turn on the overhead light and then adjust my camera settings for that light. Most cameras have settings for various lights, so you'd have to check your manual about where those settings are on your camera. And the best thing to do is experiment. Take lots and lots of photos in various light settings until you get a look you like.

There are definitely down sides to not using the flash. Sometimes my kids will be doing something really cute and if there is not enough light, I can't quite get a good shot. But, I've gotten so used to seeing my photos without the flash, that I think if I did end up using it for those kinds of occasions that I still wouldn't like the photo. It might just be that I am not good at using the flash yet and it's something I've got to learn how to do well.

Ok. That's it for today. I feel a little self conscious about giving out photo tips because a) I still have so much to learn. And b) the photos I'm posting with this are not really take-your-breath-away work. So, my friends, bare with me. I'm still learning. And, as I figure things out, I'll be sure to share!

Questions? Comments?

To make these valentines, I cut out hearts. Then I mixed white paint and glue together and put the mixture in a squeeze bottle for Andrew. That way, we could add glitter (because of the glue) and have cool white lines (because of the paint).


Melissa said...

I love valentines. I cancelled our playdate for tomorrow. we're going to stay home and make valentines and cookies and not clean.

I love your photography tips. My dad, who is a photog, recently gave me the same no flash tip. I kind of hate my camera. So working on my photography isn't going very well, because I don't love the whole experience (due to not loving my camera).


Mama V said...


Robyn said...

yeah...I posted this earlier in the day, got self conscious, took it down to fix it and then put it back up. And since some folks read blogs through blog reading programs they would have gotten I just wanted to note that I edited it.

Anne said...

When you first talked about your camera, I thought, "I have to have it!" But then I realized how irregularly I take pictures (having kids helps, I think, otherwise all my pictures are flowers and sky -- adults never did it for me).

It helps me when you define photography things for me, like aperture, which was just a fancy word to me before. You also mentioned once the possibility of talking about choosing when/when not to shoot. I'd love to know about that, as well as, what to frame within the picture, and how to angle the photo? Arranging still life shots? Things like that.

You don't have to feel self-conscious with me because you will always know more on this subject than I do.