Friday, November 20, 2009

Focus on Photography

Photography tips for your holidays:
Hints to help with your photos, any time of the year.

Know how your camera works--it's features, it's battery and media card type and capacity. Trial and error is good, if you know how to work cameras. But if you get a new camera, read instruction manual for starters. Most of the time you will be getting digital cameras. Many don't have much controls, while others have almost as much as a 35 mm camera.
Lighting is important as well. Turn lights on inside for more light and use your flash. If your camera has ISO setting, use 400. Outside 200 or 100. Flash outdoors too. People that are by or under a tree still need a flash. They will come out darker than with a flash. You can see their features better. Don't take photos with lighting behind people. Too much contrast. Or with bright sun. People squint. Light coming from the side is better.
Control camera shake-two hands on camera. Slowly push shutter button, less shake. Use a tripod for least amount of camera shake.

Examples and tips below:

It's that time of year when soups are cooking and breads are baking as we want warm food, since it's cold outside. I recently made a sausage potato soup that we've enjoyed a few times since I discovered in my Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. I wanted to share it on her website. I took various shots. Here are two as an example of how to make your photos look good. Top photo was shot at an angle. It gives some depth and looks more appealing. 2nd photo is from above and makes everything look flat. Notice the steam from the bowl--a nice touch. It was hot soup. Delicious, too!

This dump truck is against our house and my main thought was to show the fall pansies and the leaf I picked up on a walk. So the plants are featured. A bit dark, though.
This shot looks like the dump truck is making a delivery. Fall leaves on the ground add interest.
Fall leaves and plants.....okay but not really appealing. What do you think?

Photos can tell a story as in this one above with hands. I like it. Aunt taking niece from mama.

Photo of my granddaughter Melody with stuffed animals. Nice shot.
Photo shows some of her personality. With children it's hard to get the shot you want so you have to take quite a few. I found a pose that was cute then she decided the bunny needed to go on the floor. Never mind!

Aunt Megan (my daughter) and her niece, Melody with their hats. I knit Megan's hat. Nice shot but messy background. A shot with that out of the background would be much better. You need to see what's in the background when you compose the shot. You don't want trees, poles, flowers, etc. growing out of people's heads. Look for what you don't want in the shot. Sometimes you have to reposition people to get a great, clean photo. A good thing to remember when taking photos for a Christmas card. When taking people shots, don't cut arms or tops of heads off. Chest up is fine, knees and above or a full shot. Remember to watch your composition.
Practice: photography. If you want to get better, get a book and learn from it. I took a course from New York Institute of Photography (at home) that got me further into loving photography. I've come a long way but still need to be on my toes when I shoot. Practice makes perfect, well almost!
People tell me that it doesn't matter that there's extraneous people parts or items that don't belong in the picture. You can photoshop it out. Not always. Sometimes you can't crop out something completely. That's why composition is important. It creates less work for you in the end process.
Red Eye Reduction: it's an important feature on your camera. Make sure it's on all the time so that your people's eyes won't look like monster people. I do have situations when eyes are red and mostly because dim lighting.
Processing: download your photos onto your computer, if you have that option. You can order photos on line with Walmart and Walgreens and Costco. The latter two are my favorites. Also have a more professional processing place for other work. Back up your photos on CDs to keep for years to come. Label the CDs and keep them in a box for convenience.
When ordering photos, pay attention to sizing and some places let you know if your shots will be cropped or not. Best to check out your shots or you might find part of a mountain gone in a photo that was important to the shot! I did that recently! Live and learn.
Make sure you mark your photos with dates, places, names of people, etc. so that you will know a few years later who/what/where/when. 30 years ago I was living in England, took photos, thought I'd remember all. Well, now I do, sorta. My kids won't know. So now I'm marking them, with an acid free pen. Photo albums need to be acid free and lignin free paper. Photos won't turn yellow. I tend to stay away from magnetic albums. Albums have come a long way over the years. Same goes with matting photos. Acid free/lignin free backing.

I've also learned that you need to figure out how much a CD can hold of your photos. I've got a camera that is 5 megapixel and one that's 8 megapixel. A cd with hold more 5 megapixel photos than 8 megapixels photos, due to the size. I will have to divide my photos into a couple different folders to get them on a couple cds.

Enjoy your photography. It's meant to be fun and shared with other people. That is one of my focuses of my blog is to share my work with my followers. Anybody can take a great photo. Professionals only show the good ones!! Happy photographing!!!


gahome2mom said...

Wow! I appreciate your review and the added photo's make a great presentation.


Grandma Becky said...

I'm glad you like it and thanks for putting a link on your site. Have a great day, Janet.