Sometimes it’s hard to get creatively charged to get out and take some pictures. I know I’ve felt it – how many more photos can I take around the same environment! I’ve completely exhausted all the possibilities – right? Creative photography ideas just are not jumping out at you right now? It’s a bit like writer’s block, except its photographer’s block I guess! Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way – I’ve found a few ways to over come it!
First of all, I’ve been participating in (and helping to present) an awesome telecourse with Sheila Finklestein. You can check out her course info at Through and From the Lens. Sheila teaches how to see your world through fresh eyes and hence rejuvinating your photography skills. I’ve certainly found that I’m starting to look at things a little differently. Check out the faces I found in the trees in our yard. I’ve been inspired to create a whole series of them. (these guys have been around forever!)
I’ve been reminded to look at everything from different angles, close-up and at a distance. Looking at color, texture and thinking more about light. In these pictures I was looking for faces in nature.
Then this morning I discovered this new site thanks to the ever cool Photojojo – Noticin.gs (see what they’ve done there?) It’s a game really, played on Flickr.com. “Noticings are interesting things that you stumble upon when your out and about” You post your pics on Flickr and tag them with “noticings” and Geotag them with where they were taken.
You get points for noticing things like noticing the first thing in a neighborhood or noticing the same thing for a week. Seems like a great way to get into the habit of taking pictures on a regular basis – one of the key ways of improving your photography.
So I’m headed out to get creative and find some noticings before the snow hits Atlanta 😉
The White Balance setting (WB) on our digital camera controls the overall color cast of the image. The reason why there may be a color cast on our pictures is because this is the way that digital cameras react to light temperature.
Every light source- the sun, light filtered through clouds, a bulb inside or florescent all have a different light temperature. And each temperature results in a different color hue. Our eyes naturally filter out these color differences and in most cases all light appears the same.
Digital cameras however do see the differences in different light temperatures and hence different “colors” of light. The White Balance setting adjusts to counteract these color casts.
In most cases our camera’s Auto White Balance does a pretty good job at setting this mode correctly, however in some scenarios we are going to have to adjust this setting manually. This is especially true if we are shooting without flash and in a particularly unusual lighting situation.
Here are some pictures I took without flash to demonstrate. My subject’s dress is supposed to be snowy white:
As you can see in the first picture, by leaving the camera’s White Balance setting to Auto, the light inside gives an overall yellow hue or cast to the picture.
In the second picture I changed my White Balance setting to compensate for this by changing the WB to Tungsten – Much better and definitely more realistic!
You can experiment with the White Balance Setting on your camera. Look for the WB symbol either on the back of your camera as a shortcut button or in the functions menu.
Most types of light are preset for you there
Tungsten (which just means a regular bulb)
Check your camera manual so that you can decipher the WB icons and play around with the settings to see the different effects that you get. This works best if you take a series of the same shot, especially if your subject includes something white so that the effect is really obvious and shoot without flash.
You’ll see how by changing this one small setting on your camera you can achieve very different results.
So how many of you got a new digital camera for Christmas? Judging by my inbox – a lot of you! That’s my excuse for not being blogging as much lately. I’ve been out helping my clients around Atlanta get to grips with their new DSLRs. It’s been great fun but I just realized that I had gone a month without posting here and I’ve been neglecting my readers. So from now on I promise to write more regularly, with more tutorials, recommendations, reviews and all round great photography advice for beginners and anyone else who wants to listen!
So for this post I’m just going to try to encourage you to get out and start shooting and make 2010 the year when you really learn how to move out of Auto mode, get creative and really master your camera. I’m planning on learning a few new techniques myself and I’m challenging myself to improve my skill set to bring my photography to the next level. So let’s learn together – it’s always more fun that way, isn’t it?
If you are in the Atlanta area and would like to book a One-to-One private instruction lesson with me email me for my availability and more info at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a really great time of the year to get unique and magical pictures of your kids. One of the things that adds to the magic, is all the sparkly lights everywhere. From the lights on the trees, to the neighbor’s vibrantly decorated yard, there are excellent festive backdrops for holiday pictures everywhere. So why is it that when we try to photograph lights at night they disappear into the darkness?
What Usually Happens (what not to do!):
Here’s a shot I took at the weekend which demonstrates what happens when we use flash:
It’s a perfectly exposed shot but we don’t really get a feeling of the atmosphere of the picture. The background is beautifully lit by fairy lights but when the flash fires it throws the background into darkness.
How to Photograph Lights (do this instead)
So how do we accurately portray the scene as we see it?
And here is the result:
What happens in Night Scene mode is the shutter stays open for longer than normal so the ambient lighting in the background is exposed. Then, the flash fires in order to expose your subject in the foreground.
The result is a well-exposed subject and a perfectly exposed background. So we get the overall festive feeling of the picture.
Some things to remember when using this mode:
So go and find some cool illuminated backgrounds and take some Holiday pictures using Night Scene Mode.
P.S. This is a great method to use to photograph your Christmas tree and your living room when taking your picture for Capture the Magic! Be sure to read my post on this great way to catch Santa in the Act!
So I’ve eventually started my Christmas shopping this year and I’ve been scouring the internet for pressies. One of my sticking points every year is gift ideas for Mom. Being a photographer one of my “go-to” gifts for her is always of course Pictures! She is usually inundated with photos of recent times and loves to look at them on her laptop, but we have heaps of old pictures that just sit upstairs in boxes and albums gathering dust. It’s a shame that these pictures are now mostly forgotten. So when I found this idea by ScanDigital I was impressed.
How about getting them all together on a brand new digital photoframe? All you have to do is ship off your old pics, negatives, slides, whatever you have to ScanDigital and they upload everything to a digital frame and send you everything back plus the preloaded frame and a DVD of all the images.
Perfect gift idea for Mom who has it all and it saves you from having to show her how to put stuff on the frame herself. I also love the idea of putting old pics on display. In this digital age they are always forgotten about.
So get together some of your old pics and visit the ScanDigital website for more information.
But don’t delay! Deadline is December 14th!
Most of you know that I’m the proud mom of a baby girl and this year I’m anticipating that Christmas will be even more fun than usual, having her around. I know I really should go and stand in line at the mall so she can get her first Santa picture but that doesn’t sound so appealing. So, since Santa will be paying us a visit this year I thought I would capture the event on camera on Christmas Eve.
How so I hear you say? You’ll never catch Santa in the act!
Well, thanks to a new website called Capture the Magic you can! These guys help you get a picture of Santa in your very own living room. You could even get a picture of him talking to the dog.
Set up your camera on Christmas Eve before the little ones head to bed and in the morning you have the proof of the pudding to show that the big man himself made an appearance.
Thrill your kids this Christmas! Catch Santa in YOUR house!
For today’s Learn a Mode Monday I thought I’d try something a little different and post a video of how to use your continuous shooting mode. This mode is perfect for capturing fast moving subjects like wildlife, athletes and 11 month old babies!
Check it out and let me know your thoughts!
A great way to use up an entire memory card 😉
Here’s the Transcript of the video for those of you who like to read:
Hi everyone! Welcome to the 1st Camerashy Learn a Mode Monday via video. This is an exciting day for me because this is the first time that I’ve ever done a video blog. Also I would like to give a special warm welcome to all my Facebook fans. Over the last number of days our numbers have actually doubled on Facebook so I’m super excited about that. I hope that I will be able to deliver all the good content that your guys are looking for. In the meantime, lets go over to the Learn a Mode Monday since it is Monday. Today’s mode is going to be continuous shooting mode. Now this is a good mode if you are at a sporting event and you want to catch fast movement or if your kid is just on the go like my little Sophie who is always moving all the time. I want to be able to just snap quickly as she moves along and not missing a shot. So what I use for that is I use my continuous shooting mode. You might have seen this on some of the more professional looking cameras but most compact cameras can actually do this feature as well.
I’ll show you first where it is on my Digital SLR which is my Canon so that I can show you where the mode is. First of all I’ll have to turn it on at the top and the mode is usually at the back of the camera that usually has a symbol like a stack of papers.
Holding up closer, this one is just there. So all I do to select that is to turn on the continuous shot mode. Usually with most cameras you have to scroll through a couple of different modes to get the one that you want. If you are looking for that little icon like the stack of papers which I’ll be posting so you will know what it looks like under this blog.
All you do is keep your finger on the button while you’re shooting. So it’s just a matter of snapping. All I do is to continually keep my finger pressed down on the button. The method of doing it if you are at a sports event is to keep your focus onto what you are looking at. Keep your fingers on the button and you should move the camera and follow the actions along. That action is called Panning and we will probably talk about that in another blog.
On the compact camera, it’s the same exact icon. At least it is for the Canon cameras and most cameras have the similar thing. And for this Canon, it is the shortcut button on my particular camera – it is the little stack of papers symbol that you can actually see better than on the Digital SLR.
So that’s Continuous Shot Mode or Continuous Shooting Mode. Remember you keep you fingers pressed on that button and you will never miss any of the action. Thank you very much for tuning in to my latest blog cast. Hopefully I can keep them coming so keep snappin’! =)
It’s Pumpkin time! And of course what does one do if one has both a baby and a pumpkin? You sit on on top of the other of course! Well, in my case the baby won’t stay on the pumpkin and tries to eat everything around her in the great outdoors – grass, gravel, bugs…(she doesn’t get outside much.) So for my pumpkin picture we had to have daddy in the frame too.
It was quiet a gloomy day in Smyrna, so check out the two photos below to see what happens when I used my “Fill Flash.”
This first picture was taken in Auto Mode and as we were outside the camera detected that no flash was necessary.
But I know better than my camera!!!
The second picture is so much more vibrant and bright. I did this by simply switching my Flash to “on” or “Fill-in” so that it will fire outside. this is one of my top flash photography tips! This give just enough light to brighten up the shadows on my subjects’ faces and adds a bit of sparkle in their eyes.
To do this…
So no need to worry if it’s not the perfect Fall day when you have your trip to the pumpkin patch – Use Fill-in Flash!
Are you trying to get to grips with a new digital SLR? Are you trying to get a handle on photography basics without the waffle and jargon of those high brow forums? Welcome to Beginners Photography Blog! You’ve found a place where there is no such thing as a stupid question and we are all learning together. I’ve been teaching photography in the “real world” for over 10 years and been involved in the photographic industry for the past 20yrs. I love helping people get the most out of their cameras and improve their photography easily, sometimes by just knowing which mode to use! This blog will help you do that and more!
In my experience I’ve found that although there is a ton of photography information out there online, it can be sometimes difficult for a beginner in photography to know were to begin. Maybe you can’t be bothered with that manual or perhaps you can’t make head nor tail what that camera icon is – I promise I’ve got you covered! Beginners Photography blog is a great place to get lots of tips and tricks that will help make your pictures pop without having to know the intricate workings of your camera!
So if you’ve already begun to learn photography or if you’re just thinking about buying a Digital SLR, subscribe to our RSS feed to be sure you don’t miss any secret tips of the trade!
At a family gathering this weekend I was reminded of the beauty of black and white photography. Instead of the usual family snapshots of people posing , fakey smiles and bright colors, our efforts were rewarded with a set of timeless pictures where we are not distracted by fashion or fads and the true personalities of our subjects can shine. A lot of times we forget how beautiful Black and White can be, choosing instead the “reality” of color. I have to be honest and say that in the past I’ve kept Black and White for Landscapes and Scenery and the odd posed portrait shot. So think about using this mode for an unusual twist on what could otherwise be another set of snapshots.
Black and White mode can be found on most cameras within the scene mode menu. Look for BW icon or a color mode. I feel it works best in situations where you can forgo flash so if your inside, turn off your flash and push up your ISO to 400 or 800.
If you’d prefer you can desaturate the color from your images after they have been taken by using a photo manipulation program such as Adobe Photoshop Elements or Picasa 3. This will certainly give you more control over the black and white effect you apply but can sometimes be quite laborious if you have several shots to work on.