Friday, August 28, 2009

Photography Tips


By request (because I honestly have no idea why someone would ask me for info--I consider myself a student and not much of a teacher on this subject...)...

Here are a few of the things I do when I take pictures...
1. Use a good camera. I highly recommend using a digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera. I've used one for about 5 years, and recently bought a new one. If you don't have one, save your pennies. You won't regret it--I promise you.
2. Invest in a few good lenses. I use my tried and true 50mm 1.4 lens for 90% of all my shots. I know it and I love it--and it suits my needs. I use a 55-250 when I photograph my kids playing sports or I take pictures of the kits. Once in a blue moon I use a macro lens for really tight close-ups. I pretty much stick with what I know and learn it before I move on to the next.
3. Set your environment up for success. (Can you tell I was a teacher for many years?) Think about shooting pictures before you leave the house and come prepared. Are you going to the beach or a park? Bring a colorful blanket. Is there a favorite object or item that needs to be included in the shot? Be sure it is packed. Are toddlers involved? Bring juice and treats. Set up your shot so a tree branch isn't sticking out of someone's head, or extras aren't in the background.
4. Become a student. Start by looking at photographs you love. What is it about them that captures your attention? Lighting? Composition? Play. Try to recreate it--remember what works and what doesn't. Take a class. I have taken 4 photography and 2 editing classes in the last 12 months, and can't wait for more! I highly recommend Karen Russell's, Katrina Kennedy's, and Candace Stringham's photography classes.
5. Read your manual. I know--everyone hates this one (including me.) But it is the truth. How are you ever going to learn if you don't refer to that little book?
6. If you own a DSLR, stop using your flash and take your camera off the "auto" setting. I prefer shooting in the Aperture Priority Mode (you knew it was coming--refer to your manual.)
7. White balance makes a huge difference. If you don't believe me, try shooting the exact same object using the different settings and look how it affects your picture.
8. Play with angles. Stand on a stool and look down at your subject. Get on your knees and photograph a child at their level. Tilt your camera to the side. Have fun with it!
9. Give yourself time to learn. It doesn't happen overnight, and sometimes you take a few steps backward before going forward. But when it comes down to it, the time invested in learning is worth it.
10. Find a friend that knows more than you and is willing to help. That is how I learned in the beginning...and how I continue to learn a lot, too!!

Feel free to post any questions here--I'll do my best to post answers!! Have a wonderful weekend!!

12 comments:

Jewel said...

Trish, thanks for all the useful tips. Face it, you are a great teacher of photography! I have a question regarding your telephoto lens. Does the lens you use work for both outdoor and indoor events? I am hoping to find a telephoto lens to use for outdoor sports (softball, football, etc.) and for my kids' music concerts, etc. that will be indoors. I am a DSLR newbie - I just bought my Canon at the beginning of summer and am blown away with it already.

Ady said...

great tips... This is on my to do list for 2010. TFS

Trish said...

Hey Jewel!

The 50mm 1.4 lens is wonderful for any indoor or outdoor shot--and especially outstanding in areas of low or poor lighting. When the right settings are used, this lens does the trick for everything nearby or for portraits. For farther shots, I rely on the 55-250, simply because the zoom gets me closer to the subject. I generally have to edit those photos more--especially exposure settings. Hope that helps!

Rita said...

Hey Trish!! What is the name of that gizmo for white balance?? I could have swore that you had mentioned it on one of your blogs??? I have a hard time figuring out if I need to set for tungsten or flourescent light....plus, my interior walls are painted a light gold color which gives all my indoor photos a "golden" color if I don't use a flash. I know I hate using a flash, but it's that or jaundiced subjects!!!

jamie said...

great post, trish!
thanks to you i finally moved into the world of dSLR...and am so happy...it's worth the money, that's for sure.
but i have to laugh...everyone asks me "are you figuring out your camera?" to which i respond "NO." i have a huge learning curve before me. your tips are wonderful. think i will be taking the k kennedy class starting next week.
thanks again!!!
jamie

Jewel said...

Trish, yes it does help, thanks!!

Stacy said...

Trish, your tips are spot on! My only other tip would be to pick up a copy of the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I've read it several times and learned something new each time I've read it.

Michelle Lanning said...

great tips those would be mine as well - love that pic too!

Trish said...

Rita--if you adjust your white balance and still get a yellowish cast, try increasing your ISO speed and that should do the trick! With the fixed lens, the higher the aperture,the more light that is let in too. HTH!!

em said...

trish, do you do custom white balance?? i need to figure that bit out. right now i just use the preset ones, but i know there is a way to like shoot at a white object and then set it. i just don't know how! i just don't always like the presets. tungsten light still always has a yellow cast and the auto is not always all that good!!

Anonymous said...

Em--I don't normally use custom white balance, but I have in the past when I shoot on manual. You can purchase a white balance card like this one to help:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/300868-REG/Porta_Brace_WBC_White_Balance_Card.html

HTH!

Vanessa, Florida, USA said...

Thanks so much for the tips :-) I love photograhy and I want to learn so much more!!! Hugs!