Good Monday morning everyone! Are you ready to talk about photography with me this week? I love love love using my camera to capture our daily life, as well as things in our wider world. It's a raging passion, and one of the things that people know about me is that I will always have my camera where ever I am. I've learned a lot, and improved my photography over the last several years, so I thought it would be fun to share some of it with you this week.
While I don't think perfect photos are necessary for scrapbooking, I do know that I am more excited to scrapbook my "better" photos, and I know that my team mates at WCS (and probably you too!) feel the same way. As is stated in our raison d'etre
We believe that understanding photography and design make scrapbooking a little more fun.
So let's start off with some photography basics shall we? I know, I know, but my photography really took off when I started paying attention to the technical aspects. Camera manuals aren't fun, but it is important to learn how your specific camera works. Here are five important terms that I will be referring to this week.
Exposure: The amount of light that your camera captures when you take a photo. Getting a correct exposure means that your photo isn't too dark (underexposed) or too bright/blown out (over exposed). Exposure is controled by the following three things.
Aperture: The size of the opening in the camera lens. A large aperture means lots of light gets in. A small aperture means less light gets in. Think of this as a door opening and closing. A wide open door will let more light into a room, than a door that is ajar.
Shutter Speed: How fast the aperture closes to stop the light from entering the camera, thus effectively taking a shot. To continue the door analogy, you can close your door quickly (fast shutter speed) or slowly (slow shutter speed)
ISO: The light sensitivity of your film, or these days your camera sensor. A low ISO like 100 means low sensitivity to light. A high ISO like 800 means a high sensitivity to light. In practical terms you use a low ISO when there is lots of light, and a high ISO when there is very little light.
Tomorrow I will delve deeper into these three things and how they work together to control the final exposure of a photo. For today I'd like to focus on the first thing that really helped my photos get better.
White Balance: This setting controls the warmth or coolness of your photo. Most modern cameras will have a range of options for your white balance. Common ones include: Sunny/daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten and Florescent. Adjusting this setting depending on the kind of light you are shooting in, will make a world of difference to your photos.
Have you ever taken a photo indoors under artificial lighting and wondered why it was so yellow, or so blue? Unlike our eyes camera sensors cannot adjust how it sees light, unless we let it know what kind of light we are shooting in. If you only take one thing away this week, let it be that you start adjusting your camera to have the correct white balance. Here's an example of what I mean, two photos of our cat Mozaique.
In the first photo there is a yellow cast, which I corrected in the second shot by changing my white balance to Tungsten.
Here's another example showing the opposite problem. In the first photo the incorrect white balance resulted in a photo with a blue tinge
Once I chose the right setting, the next photo I took was nicely warmed up and the colours are true to life.
Both these photos are straight out of the camera with no editing. Amazing what a difference changing that one setting made!
It is also important to change the white balance for outdoor photos as well. Light on a cloudy day is not the same as light on a sunny day. And light in a shady spot is different too! During vacation this past summer I took this photo of our cheese safe hanging from a tree in a shady spot.
As soon as I looked at the LCD screen I could tell it was too blue, too cold. I quickly checked and saw that my white balance was set to sunny. I changed it to shade and took a second shot
Ahhh, much better. Now that looks more like a lazy summer day in France!
Your assignment for today (yes, there will be assignments) is to go dig your camera manual out from where you stashed it and learn how to adjust the White Balance setting. Take some shots using the wrong setting, then correct it to compare! Many digital cameras will be set to Automatic White Balance by default. Take a photo this way, then change it to the correct one, and see what a diference it makes.
Until tomorrow: Happy Shooting!