Category Archives for Beginning Photography

Atlanta Photography Workshops

IMG_9544Don’t ya just LOVE FALL!  I do – It’s hands-down my favorite time of the year.  Maybe it’s because October is my birthday month, or maybe it’s because thankfully the weather is much cooler here in Georgia.  Thoughts turn to apples and pumpkins and trips to the mountains.  The photo opportunities are ENDLESS! So will you be ready to capture all those memories with your camera?  If you are in the Atlanta area I invite you to join me for a wonderful morning workshop where you will discover how to get awesome photos from your DSLR camera.

The details:

When – Saturday November 2nd 9.30am – 12.30pm

Where: Smyrna Community Centre

How much:  $99 per person attending

What you’ll learn:

How to get super sharp photos

When to use which lens

Taking photos in tricky light conditions

What all those modes and buttons do.

Lots more!

If you’ve always been meaning to read that camera manual, then don’t! Come to my workshop and all will become clear – I promise 🙂

Eventbrite - DSLR Camera Basics Workshop

5 Things to look for when Buying Second Hand Camera Gear Online

Buying second hand gear

Photography is an expensive hobby.  A student once said to me, yes Ingrid, there are three variables which will determine your photography – Light, Time and Money.  Well, although I admit you can travel down the rabbit hole of ever improving camera gear, it is still possible to nab some camera gear bargains online if you are well informed and buy second hand.  So here’s my top 5 tips on buying second hand camera gear.*Photo credit

Buying Second Hand Camera Gear

1. Purchase from a reputable source.

The big players in the second hand camera gear industry are well established and usually even stand over their resale items with a 6 month warranty.  This can go a long way in calming the nerves of a newbie photographer.  I’ve bought many lenses in this way from KEH who are a huge online supplier of second hand equipment – everything from camera bags to lenses to lighting equipment.  You might pay a little bit more buying a lens in this way but in my opinion that warranty is worth that peace of mind. Funny story – I know about them when I lived in Ireland and when I moved to the US I realized their warehouse is  right down the street from where I live here in Smyrna!

2. Still lots of bargains to be had…

if you regularly stalk Craigslist and other online auction and sales sites such as Quicksales where private individuals are selling their stuff .  If you are on Facebook (I know, who isn’t?), then you can join some of the specific groups for people buying and selling their second hand gear.   Just do a search on Facebook and then request to join the groups that interest you.  You can always leave the group when your are finished buying or sell some of your own stuff to buy the next piece of gear!

There are several benefits of buying from an individual. For a start, you can sometimes find some REALLY awesome deals.  People start photography and then realize they are no longer interested, or they upgrade their cameras or they just need the cash for something new.  When you buy like, this you can usually get a bundle deal of  lenses, bodies, filters and bags  for a great price. Just beware of add-ons that are unnecessary inflating the price your your gear.  Most people will never use color filter sets and just because the piece of plastic ring thing looks fancy – you probably don’t need it.

Secondly, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions to see photos taken with the gear and actual photos of the gear.  You can usually tell if a person is being honest or not in these sites and of course you can always look at their account feedback. Sites like Craigslist can be a little more sketchy these days, so as always – use your judgement and don’t put yourself in any questionable scenarios when meeting the seller.

3. Do your research.  

second hand camera gearWhen you buy second hand its up to you to do your research.  You need to know exactly what it is you are looking for and be prepared to ask lots of questions so that you can be sure that the piece is in as good as shape as possible.  I personally, honestly would stay away from buying a camera body 2nd hand unless you are very sure of where it was coming from and its history.

This is especially true for entry level DSLR camera bodies. These aren’t usually built to withstand a lot of wear and tear and one drop could knock something vital way off in how the camera operates. when trying to decipher how much use a camera has gotten look for signs of wear and tear on the strap, where the paint has rubbed off on the grip and on the flash hotshoe.

4. PayPal or CreditCard only

Only deal with sellers who will accept PayPal or Credit Cards.  All reputable and honest sellers will do this.  If you are been asked to send money orders or wire funds directly to someone’s bank account in some far flung place, then this screams SCAM!  Always, always buyer beware 🙂

5. If it looks to good to be true, then it probably  is.  

Use your judgement when you are buying 2nd hand gear online.  If you see brand new camera models at knockdown prices then red flags should go up.  Also check for fake brand names.  If I had a dollar for every Cannon or Nickon lens I saw back in my days of retail…. not to mention the countless variations of plastic imitation lenses.  Remember, just because a lens looks awesome – it could be a piece of junk.

So I hope this little guide will help you out! If you have had any experience in buying used equipment online I’d love to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments below.

Happy snapping!




Disclosure: Beginners Photography worked together with Quicksales on this article.




Better Pictures with your Bridge Camera and Compact Camera

Me CollageIf you’ve been a reader here on the blog for a while you might know that I teach photography here online and in person in Atlanta.  I’ve been doing this for quite sometime – 13 years in fact – right since the inception of digital photography.  Back when I started teaching in 2000 I taught groups of “early adopters” all about their new fangled digital cameras.  Looking back at my notes from those classes we talked about 4 MEGA byte cards and AA batteries and 2mega pixels sensors.  People had no idea about these things which is hard to believe since we are now so used to taking photos with our phones and deal with GIGA bytes every day!  I clearly remember trying to explain to several people that there was no door to open to put the film in – there was no film!

Anyways, as the years have progressed I’ve focused more and more on DSLR camera users as those cameras have become more popular, less expensive and have a steep learning curve.  But I consistently get asked to do something for people with compact, superzoom and bridge cameras.  These cameras have come a LONG way in the past 13 years but there is still a lot of confusion out there with people who want to know about all the functions their cameras offer and how they can improve their photography without having a lot of fancy equipment. Truth be told on some of the advanced compacts there are almost as many options as on the entry level DSLR cameras.

So, next Wednesday evening, at 8pm EST I’m holding a free mini-class on How to take Better Photos with your Compact or Bridge camera.  This is going to be a fun interactive webinar where I’ll share the 3 most important things in photography and how, by learning about them, you can dramatically improve your photos.

If you are at all interested in improving your photography without the need for a bulky DSLR,  I’d love for you to join me .

Here’s the link to the sign up form and don’t forget to register right away as space is very limited!

See you on the webinar


P.S. Even if you can’t make it on Wednesday evening, be sure to go ahead and register and I will send you the replay. Here’s the link again:


Get Creatively unStuck

Photograph Magazine

Image from PHOTOGRAPH Magazine

There comes a time for every photographer when you know the basics, you’re familiar with your camera and you are ready to move to the next step. When this happens you can sometimes get stuck. Stuck not knowing where to go next with your photography. 

Have you reached this point where you need another approach to pursue your visual creative process?

Have you thought about what your usual creative process is? –  Is it intentional or intuitive?

Do you know where your photography aspirations  are leading you?

Have you though which path would you like to take -Portrait or Food Photography, Landscape or Photojournalism?

Or do you just need to get unstuck?


Image from PHOTOGRAPH Magazine

PHOTOGRAPH is a digital quarterly magazine for Creative Photographers from the folks over at Craft and Vision and it will allow you to experience different paths in the magical world of photography. In this issue (number 3), you will be given access to the portfolios of renowned photographers; the likes of Henki Coentjoro and his black and white photography , Dave Delnea’s works from Tunisia and the stunning food photography of commercial photographer Kevin Clark. Also featured in the issue are articles from David Duchemin, John Paul Caponigro, Martin Bailey, Chris Orwig, Younes Bounhar, Jay Goodrich, Piet Van Den Eynde, Nicole S. Young and Al Smith.  This introduction to these amazing artists is sure to inspire even the most stuck and creatively challenged photographer.

When you flip through the beautiful pages filled with amazing images  you will also learn each photographer’s visual sense, style and their influences unfolded in the question and answer section.  You will see that they didn’t start out amazingly creating the images that you see now. Each have their own story to tell but they all have one thing in common- to always bring the camera with them wherever they go.


Image from PHOTOGRAPH Magazine

PHOTOGRAPH will help you reflect on your own visual creative process experience. The featured photographers’ beautiful works will let you see the world from a different perspective. It will inspire and will motivate you to go out and shoot on your own terms and hopefully bring you closer to creating your own style of  photography.

Go out and shoot! See the world in different colors and angles! Capture priceless moments. And most importantly DON’T forget to grab a copy of this issue for only $8. Remember that even though you may have your own creative vision we all need inspiration from others and a subscription to the ad free PHOTOGRAPH will take care of this for you every 3 months.

Right now you can get a one year subscription to PHOTOGRAPH for only $24, saving you $8 and guaranteeing inspiration for the year ahead.

Studying these expert photographers is truly a wonderful way to bring your photography to the next level. don’t miss out!


Time-lapse photography made easy

Have you ever had a  moment where you are surrounded by the beauty of nature or the bright city

Timelapse Photographylights, and you just wished that you could share that feeling of awe of the picturesque view unfolding right before your eyes?


So you take a snapshot of that glorious view because your camera is always with you right? But somehow the photo did not translate what you saw right in that very moment. It’s just kind of, well, blegh…You thought you captured all the elements involved in making a beautiful photograph, but it just wasn’t right. So where did you go wrong?

Most likely you didn’t really do anything wrong. It’s just difficult to represent breathtaking events that transcend time such as the movements of the clouds, sunny to cloudy day, beautiful sunrise or sunset, lovely gray city fog to luminous sparkling city lights, accurately in a single image.

TIMELAPSE  an introduction to still photographs in motion by Dave Delnea is an ebook created with all the information, tips and techniques to capture  and shoot a Time-Lapse sequence. Time-lapse photography is simply a record of time unfolding in a well-composed, still frame.   If you want to learn how to do it, this book will guide you in learning both Still and Time-Lapse Photography that can be great ways for communicating tales of travel and adventures to the world. This ebook will also let you take a  peek of Delnea’s beautifully crafted photos over years of travels in which he learned and experimented with  time-lapse photographs.

The author breaks down the Time-lapse photography process into 4 very easy steps.  He clearly outlines the essential equipment that you will need for time lapse photography, most of which are things that you probably already have in your own kit.  He also lists the essential extras needed to capture your very own beautiful time-lapse, but again these are things that you will probably come across everyday. He also adds the not-so-essential extras like the apps that he used in assisting  to capture the imagesTime-lapse Photography.

Framing, Focus and Exposure considerations tips, Exposure & Mechanical  Flicker, Post- Production Workflow using Adobe Lightroom and Hosting the image sequence in a video file are also outlined in a manner that is easy to understand even for a  beginner photographer.  If you purchase you’ll even get a link to Dave’s Lightroom Time-Lapse Preset which is pretty slick.The screenshots of the menu settings that he used are also shown which will help you walk through the settings suited for each situation to capture a time lapse.

Timelapse Menu

The Advance Techniques Bonus at the end of this ebook provides a little teaser of what’s in store after you have learned the basics.This is a fun ebook demonstrating how we can use our existing technology for a type of photography that we might have thought was beyond our reach. The possibilities available to the aspiring photographer today, even on a tight budget, are infinite. As Dave Delnea himself says ”This is a remarkable period in history to be creative.”

The author’s style is light hearted and free spirited with a dust of occasional humour which makes this ebook not only a fun read, but an educational resource to be kept and referred back to again in the future.

You can purchase TimeLapse by Dave Delnea here from Craft and Vision and use the coupon code TIME4 to get it for only $4 until March 22nd at 11.59pm PST Or if you decide to purchase at least 4 other Craft and Vision ebooks in addition to Timelapse , use the code TIME 20 you’ll get 20% off your entire order.


P.S Watch a Sample of Dave’s TimeLapse photography here.

Demystify your DSLR Camera

If you are lucky enough to own a DLSR camera are you confident in using it to the max?

Would you like to know:

  • What all those buttons and dials do?
  • The things that will REALLY make a difference to the types of photos that you are getting…
  • The reasons why your photos just aren’t as good as you though they should be…

Well here’s your chance!

Next Tuesday evening at 8pm EST I’m holding a live, free training online to help you “Demystify your DSLR.”  Check out the video below for all the details for this basic DSLR training.

Sign up here to reserve your spot:

Look forward to seeing you on the webinar!


P.S: Even you think you can’t make it on Tuesday, sign up anyways and I can send you the recording.

Improve your Photography in 2013

By taking more photos…

Last year I began something I called the CameraShy Take 52 Challenge.  It’s simply taking one photo a week based around a theme with the idea behind it being that the more photos you take the better you get.  I started this challenge as a way to make MY photography better, but it turned into something completely different.  By sharing my themes each each many people joined me and the Take 52 Challenge grew as a Challenge for others.  I am simply a facilitator.

This year we are doing it again.  This time we are using a dedicated Facebook Group – not the CameraShy Facebook page nor Flickr.  I will still send the weekly emails with the themes but the Facebook Group is where all the action is.  And it is certainly alive at the moment – 72 like-minded individuals already sharing their pictures and endeavoring to improve by doing.

If you think you’d like to improve your photography this year, and would like to join us, jump in when you can and sign up below to get access to our Facebook Group and get the weekly themes via email.


Sign up for Take 52 challenge

Happy New Year!
P.S. The theme for week 1 is “CELEBRATE”


Get your free Ebook on Choosing a Digital Camera

"Choosing the Best Digital Camera for You"

“Choosing the Best Digital Camera for You”

At last, I am happy to report that my free guide on “Choosing the Best Digital Camera for You is complete.


I’ve been asked to create this mini eBook for some time now as I am constantly getting asked which digital camera I would recommend.

My aim is to guide you through the process of defining what exactly it is that you are looking for in a camera and how to go about making your choice.

It covers  –

  • what features you really need
  • where are the best places to buy
  • and I also include some of my favorite recommendations.

So if you’re thinking about buying a digital camera this holiday season, either for yourself or as a gift be sure to sign up for this guide!

Click here to sign up for your Free Ebook on

“Choosing the Best Digital Camera for You”

Happy snapping!


P.S. I plan on doing lots more of this type of information ebook so please let me know if there is anything you would specifically like to see!

Awesome Travel Photography Competition for you to enter

Travel Photography is one of my great loves.  Ah…I remember the days before kiddos when I would wander the world in search of my next great adventure, always with camera in hand.  I especially loved shooting city scenes full of life and vibrancy and easily telling a story in a single frame

If YOU love to shoot city scenes of your travels or even your home city you should not miss out on this wonderful competition being sponsored by Millenium & Copthorne Hotels.  There are prizes of restaurant vouchers and weekends away and I am honored to be one of the judges 🙂

To take part in this competition, simply:

  1. Tweet the URL of your favourite city photographs that you have taken
  2. Include #CityView and @MillenniumEU so we can find them

End date: 31th October 2012

Entries will be judged across five categories and winners will each receive these great prizes:

  • Most Shared – Friday and Saturday night dinner, bed and breakfast for 2 people, at any Millennium & Copthorne hotel in the UK Winner chosen by – Millennium & Copthorne Hotels
  • Most Dramatic – Friday and Saturday night bed and breakfast for 2 people and a bottle of wine on arrival, at any Millennium & Copthorne hotel in the UK Winner chosen by – David Nightingale (
  • Most Creative – Friday and Saturday night bed and breakfast for 2 people, at any Millennium & Copthorne hotel in the UK Winner chosen by – Ingrid Owens ( aka me!
  • Honourable Mentions – £75 restaurant voucher, to be redeemed at any Millennium & Copthorne hotel in the UK Winner chosen by – Jeff Titelius (
  • Honourable Mentions – £50 restaurant voucher, to be redeemed at any Millennium & Copthorne hotel in the UK Winner chosen by – Victoria Brewood (

All accepted entries will be featured on the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels blog and your work will be credited. The most highly revered images will be used to create an article entitled “The World’s Greatest City Views” and again, images will be fully credited.

This is a wonderful opportunity to show off some of your work to the world and perhaps win a great prize to boot!  Go on – put your best shot out there…it might be a winner!

Happy snapping

3 Tips on Focusing on Difficult Subjects

This post was inspired by reader Cassandra who wrote

“I just bought the P510… love love love it. Shot the moon- can’t believe the clarity. Shot a deer in the woods… couldn’t get it to focus past the tree branches- how can I focus on the subject during superzoom when there are objects nearby that the camera prefers to focus upon? help!  “

This is a really common problem for DSLR users, Bridge Camera users and Point and Shoot camera users alike.  The main difference between them being the choice of focus modes available to each.  The Focus Mode allows you to change how the Auto Focus system determines where the focus should be in the frame.  In DSLR cameras you also have the option to focus manually.  Let’s look at 3 tips which will help you with focusing on difficult subjects.

Focus Points

1. Check your user’s manual to see how many focus points you camera users.  The focus points are the little red or green blinking lights you’ll see inside the viewfinder or on your LCD screen when you half press your finger on the shutter button right before you actually take the picture.  DSLRS and some Bridge cameras will actually let you select which one of these focus points you would like to use.  The default setting is Auto Focus Point selection where the camera choses what IT thinks you want to be in focus.  90% of the time it gets it rght as it usually focuses on the closest thing or the largest thing in the frame.

But if you are trying to be a little creative, this may not be what you want to focus on .  This is especially true if you are using a large superzoom where you might be focusing on something really far away , through trees or slightly obscured by something in the foreground.  In this case you might find it best to select the Center Auto Focus Point.  That way you know that only whatever is in the centre of the frame will be in focus.  Again check your user manual to see how to do this for your particular camera model.

Focus Lock

2.  But what happens when you don’t want your subject to be dead center of the frame.  Afterall don’t we all hear about the Rule of Thirds for a pleasing composition? That means your main subject needs to be off center a little. In order to focus on off center subjects you have a couple of choices.  If your DSLR allows it you can select a focus point that is over the subject that you want to focus on.  You will have to consult your specific user manual to find out how to do this .  Alternatively you can use the Focus Lock Method.

Focusing on Difficult subjects

The Focus Lock Method is where you –

  • focus on your subject with the focus point set to the center.
  • Then hold your finger on half way on the shutter button.  (If you haven’t noticed before, the shutter button of your camera has a point half way where focus is obtained and then you fully depress the shutter button to take a picture. )
  • When you keep your finger held on the shutter button half way down the focus is locked on your subject.  You can then recompose your shot to the left ror the right, up or down to reframe your subject the way you wish.
  • Then fully depress your finger on the shutter button to take the picture.


Focus Lock Method

Moving Subjects

3. The first 2 tips work very well for stationery subjects or at least those that aren’t moving too fast.  If you find yourself shooting at your kids’ T-ball game, it may be a little harder to focus on a moving traget using the methods outlined above.

This is where you need to change Focus Modes.  Again, you will need to consult your manual on how to do this for your particular camera model.

In Canon you’ll be changing from One Shot to AI Servo mode and for Nikon it’ll be AF-S to AF-C.

Servo Mode

You can now lock your focus on your subject and  keep shooting while the camera will constantly readjust the focus on your subject as you press the shutter button.  Makes  catching toddlers on the move so much easier!


Happy Snapping



P.S. For lots more in depth information about how to use your DSLR to the max check out my newly revised online “Master your DSLR” course.