Q: Do you do self portraits? Do you have any tips on getting good self portraits or what is the best angle to shoot from?
A: I have to admit that I'm not great at self-portraits. For one thing, holding a heavy SLR camera steady out in front of your face is hard to do. And in order to get yourself in the shot at arm's length you have to have a really wide-angle lens. But, there's always the "photo in the mirror" shot, like this:
Or you can set up a tripod and set the timer on your camera like this:
The most flattering camera angle (for me anyway) is to take it slightly from above.
Q: I'd love quick photo editing tips -- what are the fixes you make most often to make a photo look great fast?
A: The first thing I do is load all of my photos into Adobe Lightroom and do any basic editing from there. Lightroom is nice because I can easily apply a basic edit to a whole batch of photos at one time. From there I export everything into Photoshop and do more extensive edits. For a quick boost I'll run some sort of color saturation action. A favorite of mine right now is from Anna Jones and is called "Indie Color Foundation." I usually run it at about 50% strength.
With a color boost:
Very subtle, but I think it just makes the colors warmer and gives it an extra punch.
Q: I would love to know how you save all of your files.
A: Like I mentioned above, Adobe Lightroom is a wonderful way to organize your photos. You can rate photos, tag, organize, rename and group them. It's been a wonderful tool for me.
Q: Just wondering where I should go so I can learn "good principles of design."
A: Someone actually responded to this in the comments section and mentioned Cathy Zielske's "Design Your Life" class at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this class, and the first place I learned those basic principles is from Cathy herself in her book "Clean and Simple Scrapbooking."
Q: I would love to know how to take good pictures indoors or outdoors at times with less than ideal light.
A: This is probably the number one question I get asked about photography. I wish there was some big secret I could divulge on how to get fabulous indoor shots, but there's not. You've basically got two options: use natural light from an open window, or get an external flash and learn how to use it. By "external" I mean the kind that attaches to the top of your camera, NOT the one that pops up. If you have an external flash, learn how to bounce the light off of the ceiling for a much more flattering look. A couple of GREAT books that I recommend are THESE BOOKS from Scott Kelby. He's got some wonderful lighting tips in there!
This photo was taken indoors in very low light, with the flash bounced off the ceiling (notice how even and "non-flashy" the light is):
And this photo was taken in my tiny bathroom, with no windows, and the light bounced into the mirror behind me.
I hope that helps at least some of you a little! If you'd like to ask me anything else, feel free! I'll try to answer more questions by the end of the week. But for tomorrow...back to scrapbooking!