To Create or To Capture?

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Which type of portrait photographer are you? Do you create portraits or capture them?

Why does it matter which you are? So you can feel cool.

Really, you need to feel confidence in your images. If you decide what type of photography is satisfying to you, then you can pursue it and not feel like you have to imitate someone else’s style just because she received 20 “likes” for her picture on Facebook.

Characteristics of a creator:

  • This type of photographer knows her way around Photoshop! She can take even a blah picture and turn it into a piece of art using fun post-processing effects like popped or muted colors, golden tints, “urban acid” look, etc. Continue reading “To Create or To Capture?”

Photo Noise Reduction: Stop the Noise

Photo Noise Reduction

(“Slight” noise in this photo, particularly in the shadows)

Stop the Noise

I’m not talking about the noisy neighbors blaring music at 2 a.m. Although noise in digital images can be just as annoying and frustrating!

Noise in a digital image is the same as grain in a film image. Noise looks like random speckles where it should be smooth. While there are times this look enhances an image, generally we avoid noise (kind of like banana flavoring – once in a while okay, but usually pretty distasteful).

To not have noise, you need to stay away from the things that cause it! Continue reading “Photo Noise Reduction: Stop the Noise”

Manual Mode: Making YOU the Photographer

How to Shoot in Manual Mode on a Digital Camera

How to Shoot in Manual Mode on a Digital Camera

You spent the big bucks and set aside your point-and-shoot (a.k.a. do-all-the-thinking-for-you camera) for a fancy camera. You can put it in automatic – the green box – but are you much better off than you were with your point-and-shoot? Well, you probably get sharper images. And the picture actually takes when you push the button – instead of 10 seconds later. But was it worth the extra money?

It will be beyond worth the extra money you spent, if YOU start doing the thinking! Continue reading “Manual Mode: Making YOU the Photographer”

The Path to Perfection Starts With White Balance Cards (a.k.a. Gray Cards)

White Balance Cards

A white balance card or gray card is the color of middle gray or 18% gray (click here for the technical jargon).

Why You Need a Gray Card

A gray card helps you achieve correct white balance.

Have you ever noticed color casts in your images? Often they are blue or red. This happens because your camera is reading the color temperature of the light incorrectly. Simply put, the white balance is off. White balance is very important to having professional-looking images. Continue reading “The Path to Perfection Starts With White Balance Cards (a.k.a. Gray Cards)”

12 Elements of Composition in Photography, Part 2

Photography Composition - Element of Color

Here’s Part 2 of 2 of our Photography Composition post. If you missed Part 1, check out 12 Elements of Composition in Photography, Part 1.

With so many images all around, what will make someone stop and look at yours? Grasping elements of composition that naturally draw eyes to an image or part of an image will help take your photography to a new level.

Color

I was reading about King Henry VIII the other day. Apparently he and Anne Boleyn wore yellow after the death of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon – the queen beloved by the people. When you read that, how do feel they were reacting to her death? My first thought is they were jerks to wear such a joyful color (they claim they wore yellow because that represents mourning in Spain, where Katherine was from).  The point is, color can represent and even trigger emotions and moods. It’s hard to imagine a picture of someone wearing yellow as depressing.

Photography Composition - Element of Color Continue reading “12 Elements of Composition in Photography, Part 2”

12 Elements of Composition in Photography, Part 1

Composition photography - Element of Repetition

With so many images all around, what will make someone stop and look at yours?

Grasping elements of composition that naturally draw eyes to an image or part of an image will help take your photography to a new level.

Rule of Thirds

Just put your subject in the middle of the viewfinder and click – right? Wrong.

For a more professional and balanced image, imagine dividing the scene into thirds both horizontally and vertically.

Composition photography - Rule of Thirds
[Photo Credit: Rachael Olson] Continue reading “12 Elements of Composition in Photography, Part 1”

Low Light Digital Photography for Control Freaks

Beginner Photo Tip: Shooting in Tricky Low-Light Situations

Sometimes we do not get perfect lighting situations. Okay, so lots of the time we don’t get perfect lighting situations. That’s where an off-camera flash is my best friend. Seriously, I’m in love with my whole off-camera flash set-up because I love CONTROL. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the luxury of control. When we don’t get to control the light it can create a tricky situation.

Here are some examples of tricky low-light situations I’ve been in and how I still got the image I wanted.

Indoor Action

The other night I took pictures at a volleyball game. I had absolutely no control of the light. The available light was the fluorescent overhead lighting common in a gym. My flash would not help because it couldn’t reach the players and I doubt they would have appreciated flashes of light blinding them as they played. This was a tricky low-light situation.

Yet I still captured great action. Here’s how: Continue reading “Low Light Digital Photography for Control Freaks”

Metering: Which Setting Should I Use and When?

In-Camera Metering - how and when

In-Camera Metering - how and when

We all know the rule of thumb to shoot an outdoor portrait in the shade —  to avoid harsh lighting and shadows. But a common problem occurs if you have any sunny areas in your frame: a properly exposed sunny background but an overexposed subject. I’m sure you’ve all seen it before: a subject under a shady tree that looks dark while the sky behind the subject is the right shade of blue (if only you were going for a portrait of the sky, but unfortunately, you weren’t). This problem is easily remedied with an understanding of your in-camera light meter. Continue reading “Metering: Which Setting Should I Use and When?”