Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sweet, sweet spring...

I can't even begin to properly express how much I love this time of year. I know I've said it before but gosh, I really do! I was so overwhelmed driving to work this morning and seeing all these GORGEOUS trees just bursting with leaves and blossoms and fragrance! It's so delightful!!! I wish it would last longer!
Okay, I just had to share that...
So about those photography tips I heard. Most of you will probably already know them and some of them I did as well but that doesn't mean I'm actually doing them! HAHA!

1. Use your tripod! I admit it, I hate lugging the tripod out and around. We have this little portable one and it is a PITA to set up. So guess what's on my birthday list now?! A REAL tripod - one of those full size ones that is much quicker and easier to set up. I also admit that I don't use the zoom on our camera because I can rarely hold the camera still enough to get a photo that isn't blurry and I know that if I used the tripod, my problem would be solved.

2. Shoot in AV mode. I have heard SO many people say 'if you don't shoot manual with your SLR, you've wasted your money'. I've been slowly venturing over to the manual modes on my camera but I have another confession, I don't understand what the different modes are. I have read my camera manual several times and have taken a photography course but it's still very confusing to me. Every time someone tries to explain aperture, shutterspeed, exposure, depth of field etc. to me, I start hearing Greek. It's actually quite frustrating. I wish someone could just make it make sense to me. Anyway, maybe I just need to start playing around and start learning for myself what my camera can do.
The reason he said to shoot in AV mode is because you can control your depth of field and take photos that are stunning and a step above the usual snapshot. Gotta learn more about this.
I can say though that in the last couple months, I've been changing my ISO speed and white balance when I shoot - that's a start, right?

3. Get up, get down! It's all about the angle. I think this is something I am starting to do. I'm standing on chairs, laying on the grass, squatting, moving, trying different angles all the time. Sometimes it doesn't work but other times, it's just amazing what changing the perspective can do. I think another good thing to do is be aware of what is in your frame. Looking around - to the edges of your photo, the front, behind, etc. What else is in the photograph? Do you want that to be there? Do you want it to look like that flower is growing out of the subject's head? Stuff like that. I know I've heard it a million times before but it is such a good reminder to take a second look.

4. Learn, learn, learn. Read information, talk to other people, take a course, go online, get a book, whatever it is, just absorb information. I'm working on this one.

5. Get out there and shoot! Play with the settings, try new things, don't be afraid to shoot. I'm starting to embrace this one whole heartedly - especially since going digi. I don't have to worry about taking 100+ photos because I can delete them if they suck. I can look at them and say, 'ooh, that shouldn't be there' or 'this is way too dark', etc. At least I don't have to worry about developing all that film now! However, I still want my goal to be that each photo I take gets better. I don't just want to shoot 100+ photos and get 1 good one. I want to get more and more and more good photos while taking less because I want to be better.

So there you have it. I'm sure many of you already know these things so maybe you didn't really learn much but for me it was such a good reminder to keep going with my photography. Don't give up because you take some crummy photos one time. Keep learning, keep trying, keep shooting.

Oh and here's my tip for the day - something I love to do. Look at other photographer's work. I do this by surfing the net. I find things I like such as different poses, amazing composition, cool angles, fun props, just whatever catches my eye and I learn a lot about myself, what I like and don't like when I do this. I think it helps me find my style.

So this weekend, I plan on taking my camera out and playing with it. I have got a lot to learn before this little one enters our lives!

If you have any tips to share with me, I'd love to hear them too!


Blogger Melissa said...

thanks for the tips Heather!! I dont have an SLR, but my point and shoot has manual modes that I should start playing with more too.

Want to play a game with me?? I challenge you to take some manual shots this long weekend, and see what you come up with. I will do the same, then we can tell each other how good we did! LOL. You on?? ;)

1:41 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Great advice!! I really need to try the tripod thing - I've never done that! How bad is that? I'll join the challenge that Melissa issued, if you like! And yes, you can see the book on the weekend. See you tomorrow - I'm excited!
Love you,

3:36 PM  
Blogger Mary Mac said...

My biggest tip? Buy Understanding Digital Photography by Bryan Peterson. Honestly Heather, it is $30 well spent and he explains everything in very clear language that doesn't just go in one ear and out the other. I am reading it right now. And I have loved every bit. He talks a lot about things specific to digital - file types, white balance, ISO. But he also talks about aperture, shutter speed, composition. And his photos are stunning. So inspiring.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Great tips, Heather! Thanks for sharing! Since I took my digital camera "course", I've stopped shooting in Auto and have noticed a huge difference in my pictures. I also have a tripod-- a real one. (It was Cam's from before we got married, but it's very handy-- especially when I want to take a photo and actually be in it! My camera came with a remote, so it's very handy.)

9:37 PM  
Blogger JennD said...

Sounds like you and I are in the same boat with our cameras. I just can't figure the darn thing out no matter how much I read. You are totally inspiring me to perservere. Have an awesome weekend shooting!

12:35 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Oh great tips heather. I hear you on the tripod one. I did have the small one too but now I think it's lost somewhere at my mom's party. So now I need another one.

I am learning the manual mode too but I always get frustrated with my indoor shots and my focus points on outdoor ones (i have to take it out of auto focus and always forget). I just started playing with white balance but always seem to miss the ISO one.

Kerry posted a cool tutorial on S!. I haven't read it yet but I really should do that. I think I have it saved. It's all about shooting in manual mode.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous KathyT said...

Great tips, I am trying to shoot more on manual too, but I never seem to have enough time to really get into it - that's one of my goals this summer! The other thing I do is just take TONS of pics.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

Another vote for Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure - you won't be sorry!!!

7:43 PM  

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