Hi there! After Francine's awesome week of phototips and tricks it is only right that we continue into the weekend!
Today I want to link you up to some of the monthly/weekly photo projects I have been seeing on the internet lately. You know where you would get a prompt each day during a month or you set out to take a certain kind of photos over a month or week.
Why would you want to do these kinds of projects? Well, I feel it is a very good way to pratice your photography and you will discover things that you otherwise wouldn´t see. And the new friends you might get while you are in a project with other people are just icing on the cake! It really helps me focus and see the world with a different eye.
I have done a few myself. One year I took photos everyday of where I had been i.e my feet! I am doing that again this month!
Me and Monika started our own weekly photo project last year and we are doing our second year now. In this group we have prompts each week for 52 weeks.
Chantelle of the Fat mum slim blog has free montly prompt lists for you and they are great!
WCS alumni Rebecca Cooper hosts a beautiful weekly photo challenge called The simple things, where you are incouraged to take some time each week and capture something that made you happy, feel good. I did this for an entire year and I love how it made me slow down and choose a moment each week I was extra grateful for.
Talking about gratitude, last November I did a 30 days of gratitude photo project. The link goes to one of many groups on Flickr where you can share your gratitude photos. I shared a photo each day and just a sentence or two of what I was grateful for that day.
Every year Poppytalk hosts Color weeks in the spring and autumn. I just found out today that this year the Autumn color week begins on October 17th! Boy, it so much fun to see the Flickr group each day because it is just filled up with one color! Amazing!
I hope that you get inspired to take on a challenge!
Good Friday morning! Are you ready to go out there and shoot some photos? well good, because I have some assignments for you. Just over a year ago I wrote this post about shooting from varying angles, and today I am challenging you to do just that.
1. Capture the details
I talked about this in my post from yesterday. I really love zooming in on the details of an activity or my surroundings. These are the photos that make for great introspective journaling, because you can use the photo as a symbol of something bigger. Here is one that I took this summer
When I scrap this photo I can talk about not only this specific cheesecake, but also my love for cheesecake in general. Or maybe about how making cheesecakes used to be my specialty, but lately my husband has been the one making them and wowing everyone!
Here is a layout that Deb made using a close up shot of her favorite summer treat.
2. Shooting from above
Taking a portrait from above gives such a different perspective of your little one. In this case it showed just how little he still was just one year ago.
This is the layout I made using it (you might remember seeing it here)
If your little one isn't that little anymore, you can always achieve this by standing on a chair. Or how about the window upstairs like I did in this shot of my guys having breakfast outside?
3. Shooting from below
Steps are great for getting this kind of shot.
Here's one that Christa took of her daughter
4. Quirky Family/Group shot.
What do you do when you want to take a family shot but don't have a remote or a friend to help out? Find a mirror of course! This is still one of my favourites from last year
You can see how I used it in a layout here in our gallery from August.
Here are two more
So go crazy and look for reflective surfaces everywhere!
The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would
Say what? Basically you imagine your viewfinder to be divided up like a tic tac toe game, and use the lines or the intersection of those lines, to position the focal point of your photo.
For landscapes this means not placing your horizon line in the middle of the photos, as we are naturally inclined to do, but along one of the lines as above.
Before I say good bye, I want to link to two of my favourite photography resources. The first is a standard photography book: Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. This is the book that really helped me understand shooting in manual. If you want to learn more you should definitely check it out. The author does a much better job of explaining it than I did!
The other is more scrapbooking related: Real.Life. Photography by Rebecca Cooper, available from Ella Publishing.
One last thing: I didn't touch on photo editing at all because it is such a large topic. But if this is something you would like to learn more about, let us know so that we can address it separately in a future photography week!
Good morning! I hope that some of this information is starting to sink in and that you are seeing some results? Today I want to move on to sharing some more practical tips that I have picked up over the years. I'll focus on the two main areas we scrapbookers take photos: everyday life and special moments. At least those are the ones I document the most!
Some general tips
First, keep your camera handy. I pretty much take mine with me every where I go. And I try to remember to keep it close by when at home.
If you'll be taking lots of photos at home get familiar with the lighting and best settings for indoor photos. My most used settings for photos indoors during the day are : ISO 400; white balance : daylight; and I use Aperture Priority mode with an aperture of 3.5 or less. This works for my house but you will have to experiment to see what works best for yours.
Take lots of photos! In this digital age it is possible to take lots of shots because there's no film development cost.
Events and Special Moments
I am not a huge event or seasonal scrapper, but I do take lots of photos of those occassions to share with friends and family. This is especially true for Kieran's birthday parties. My approach is to take lots of broad photos to tell the story, but I also make sure to zoom in on little details as well.
In this photo I tried to capture the entire scene of his second birthday party. I also wanted to capture details of the decor. Tip: Do this part before the guests arrive!
Also be sure to hand your camera off to someone (or have a photo savvy friend also taking photos) so that you get to be in some photos too! In the former case I will adjust the settings on the camera first, usually leaving it in Aperture Priority.
Of course you have to get in close for those epic moments! The following photo is from his thrid birthday party.
Kieran started school last week, so that was another special moment to capture. I made sure to get a couple of broader type photos like these
But also some classic "all dressed and ready to go" shots in front of our door.
Hands down, my favourite kind of photos to take are those that capture everyday life. There's no real formula for this, as everyone's life is different, but keeping your camera close by and ready to go is the key. By ready to go I mean making sure it is already on your most useful settings, so that when you grab it to capture something, you can click away without worrying too much about fiddling with buttons. My advice is to use either Aperture or Shutter priority depending on what's going on. When my son is just playing with his toys or eating, or some other relatively calm activity I will use Aperture Priority. If he is chasing cars and trucks around or we are outside I will use Shutter priority because I know he'll be moving around quite quickly!
Once again, I try to take broader as well as detailed shots
(I stood on a chair to take this one)
While it is fun to see this shot that includes a good bit of the living room,
what I really wanted to capture was Kieran inside the tub, so I zoomed in (actually since I was using my 50mm fixed lens, I moved closer to him)
This is most likely the photo that I will scrapbook to tell the story.
Sometimes I even get closer in
I love taking photos of little hands in action!
There are times when you have to move fast. You just grab your camera, keep clicking and hope for the best. Like this day when Kieran "raced" his Papa home on bicycles.
(Click each thumbnail to see the series)
When I realised what was happening I ran for the camera, and put it on continuous shooting mode. Most modern digital cameras have this option which comes in handy when you want to take a series of fast moving photos. In this mode you simply hold the shutter release button down and the camera will fire off a series of shots as fast as it can. Check your manual to see how to find this setting on your camera. These are certainly not the best photos I have ever taken but I wouldn't have missed having them for the world!
Do you have any questions about any of these photos, or would like to know something about getting a certain kind of shot? Please ask away in the comments. And start studying up, because tomorrow I will issue my final assignment!
So, you're back? I'm taking this to mean that you had some fun yesterday and you're rearing to go to learn more? Did you try playing with the different settings, including the ISO to see what happened? Today I'll talk a bit more about ISO, then I will move on to showing some photo examples.
If you tried changing your ISO while keeping your aperture the same, you might have noticed that it affected the shutter speed. Remember on Monday I said that ISO measures light sensitivity? To explain it in practical terms you can think of ISO as your light gatherers, bringing the light into the camera. An ISO of 200 would be twice as many light gatherers as an ISO of 100. This means that you will need the aperture to be open half as long, which means your shutter speed would be half what it was at ISO 100.Still with me?
This is why you use a higher ISO in low light conditions.When the light is low, you need as many light gatherers as possible in order to use the fastest shutter speed possible, otherwise you will end up with blurry photos, (remember that a slow shutter speed can't freeze the motion and you will see motion blur). Conversely on a bright sunny day you use a low ISO such as 100 (some cameras even go as low as 64!) because with the abundance of light, you don't need as many light gatherers and you will be able to have a pretty fast shutter speed to get a correct exposure (and avoid blur).
At this point it is also useful to remind you that you also control the amount of light entering your camera with the aperture - how wide the door is open. In low light you usually want to have the lens as wide open as it will go. Ironically this corresponds to a LOW aperture number (the technical name is an f-stop but I never think in these terms so I am avoiding using it!). So you would set your aperture to the lowest it can go. This would depend on your lens. If you are using a standard kit lens the lowest available is usually 3.5, with the lens zoomed out as far as possible. My favourite 50mm lens will go as wide open as 1.8.
I urge you to take your camera and go out to practise. It takes time for this part of it to click, and it will only truly click with lots of trial and error. Believe me, I have lots of very blurry and dark photos to prove it!
Now for some examples to illustrate.
One of the ways I love to use to see the effect of changing shutter speeds is to take photos of flowing water. I do this everytime I am near to a river or stream! This summer I took these two shots.
High (fast) shutter speed
In this shot my shutter speed was 1600 (technically 1/1600) and you can see that it practically froze the water. You can almost see the drops splashing up!
In this second shot I slowed it down to 1/10 and now the movement of the water is blurred, giving that milky white appearance.
A couple weeks ago at the park Kieran amused himself by running laps around me. I just had to try to capture his enjoyment. My first few shots were a wash, with too low a shutter speed 1/60
It's kind of cool because you can definitely tell that he was moving, but it wasn't exactly what I was going for. So I upped the shutter speed to 1/160
You can still tell that he is moving, because there is still some slight blurring, but this photo really captured what I wanted.
Just so you know I took over 30 shots in this five minute period and most of them were bad. But I was able to get this awesome one in between as he flew by me and gave me a happy grin.
Totally worth it sitting there shooting like a maniac while people looked at me like I was crazy.
Here are a few examples illustrating what you should expect with changing apertures. Apart from the aperture controlling how much light gets into the lens, it also plays in role in what your background will look like. The technical term for this is Depth of Field (DoF). A wide depth of field means that pretty much everything in the shot is in focus, that's what you get with a high aperture value like 16. A narrow depth of field means that only very little is in focus - the result of a low aperture number.
(Click on the photo to see it larger)
In the photo on the left, with the aperture set at 6.3 most of the strawberries are in focus. In the photo on the right with the aperture set to 3.5 you can see that the starwberries towards the back are softly blurred.
Here are some photos of Kieran at the park. The aperture changes from 8.0 to 3.5 to 2.2.
Can you see how the grass in the background changes while he remains in focus? In the first photo, you can actually make out blades of grass, but not in the last one. And in case you're wondering my other settings were: ISO 200, White Balance - Shade, and Shutter Speeds 1/80, 1/320 and 1/800 respectively.
So, still with me? Now it's your turn to go and play some more! Tomorrow I will share some of my tips for shooting in various circumstances, including everyday shots and events. Is there an area you'd like me touch on? let me know in the comments! And as always feel free to ask any questions you might have.
Welcome back! Did you get a chance to try out playing with your white balance yesterday? One thing that I didn't mention, which was brought up in a comment by Laurie, is that apart from the built in settings, you can also set a custom white balance. How each camera does this will vary, but it basically involves taking a shot of something that is pure white, then telling your camera to use that as a reference point when taking photos. I tend to mostly use my built in white balance option, but if I am in a location with mixed sources of light, I try to do a custom white balance shot.
So today we're going to get into a bit more detail with exposure. Basically I am going to show you how you can shoot in manual mode. Eeek! Trust me it is simpler than you might think. If you bought a fancy new camera thinking that now your shots would be perfect, but are disappointed by the results you get from using the auto or P mode, then this will get you excited!
As we learned yesterday correct exposure is controlled by aperture (the opening) shutter speed (how clickly it is closed) and ISO. These three together are comonly known as the exposure or photography triangle. Your camera will have buttons and dials to help you control these three things. Since every camera is different, this is where you will need to go get that manual! (Note, I will address point and shoot cameras a bit later on).
The first thing you need to do is set the photo mode dial at the top to M
Now look through the view finder and you will see a set of numbers at the bottom that looks like this
The number at the left is the shutter speed, the next one is the aperture. Then comes the exposure scale. For the moment I only want you to pay attention to the little arrow in the middle of the scale, and the black bar at the bottom, what I called the sliding bar. This little bar is what tells you that you have correct exposure. When it is in the center as shown that's when you press the shutter to take the shot!
So here we go. Choose a well lit but shady spot and a subject, be it a person or object. Set your white balance to shade. Set your ISO to no higher than 400. Point your camera at the subject. Adjust your aperture to 5.6. Look to see where that little bar is. Now adjust your shutter speed until that bar is bang snack in the middle. That's it,take your shot!
It will probably take you a while to get used to all these manipulations and you will feel clumsy at first, but it will get better! The more you use the buttons and dials, the easier it will become. Now for your second test I want you to change your ISO, either increase it or decrease it. Leave your aperture at 5.6 and make a note of what happens to the shutter speed value in order to once again have a correct exposure. What did you notice?
If you're comfortable, now go ahead and use a different aperture OR shutter speed and then adjust the other to get correct exposure. That's it! You're shooting in manual!
But Francine, you ask. What if I don't have time for changing all these settings? Well this is where you ask your camera to do some of the work for you.
You can set your camera to aperture priority (Either A or Av on your dial) and you choose the aperture you want, and the camera will automatically select the shutter speed to get the correct exposure.
What aperture to choose? Well if you want those lovely, buttery soft blurry backgrounds use a low number. I tend to use 3.5 or lower whenever I can, to get that nice blur in the background. If you want to take a photo that includes a clear detailed background use a higher number.If I am shooting a landscape then I will use 11 or 16.
If you are photographing an active child, pet or sports, you might want to use the Shutter priority setting (S or Tv). In this case you select the shutter speed and the camera will automatically change the aperture for a correct exposure. As a general rule of thumb the lowest shutter speed I've found that will freeze action and not cause blur is 160.
Where does ISO come in? If you played around a bit with changing the ISO, you might have an inkling what role it plays. Because this is already a lot of information to absorb, I will talk more about ISO tomorrow.
Point & Shoot Cameras
If you have a point and shoot camera you can also achieve better photos by taking your camera off auto. Lets look at the dial again.
Yours won't have the letters, but you will have a bunch of different symbols.These are the ones you should find on any camera.
The head in profile is the setting you can use for portraits, and this is the one to use for getting nice blurry backgrounds.
The mountain is the setting for taking landscape photos or if you want to capture a clear detailed background.
The flower is for macro shots: getting close to stuff! Pay attention to your focus though!
The running man is for fast moving subjects
The moon and star is for taking photos at night.
Some cameras include even more symbols, so be sure to check your manual to discover what they mean and how you can use them.
I think that's enough for today! Please do leave any questions in the comments.
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!
P.S. if you have any questions please ask away in the comment section below.