Photo Challenge – Sunshine

This year I decided to do a different photo challenge. Granted I started late, but it’s all good. This first week challenge is “Sunshine”.

This one was taken in South Carolina. It was a cold and sunny day.

This was another cold day. So cold I didn’t want to step outside!!!!!

Another cold morning here in South Carolina!

Hanging out in Columbus, GA.

Photography Tips 6

26. Reason to avoid the built in flash.

In using the built in flash of your camera, it can provide an undesirable effect to your subject. It can leave your subject with too much light. Thus, if you can save up some money, it is best to invest on a quality external flash. Pair it with a diffuser, and learn how to make use of them properly to obtain the best photo quality.

I love my external flash. I love trying new shots and learning the lights. I’m not strong in artificial lighting, so the external flash I have teaches me a lot.

27. Talk to your subjects.

When you are trying to take portraits, it is best to talk to your subjects while you are doing it. When you talk to them, it would make them more comfortable in front of the camera, which makes the photos look more natural. Aside from that, it can also provide you a chance to take candid shots.

28. Testing out the modes of your camera.

If you have just bought a brand new camera, one of the first things that you can do is to test out its different modes. You should try out its auto mode, manual mode, and such. By doing that, you would become more familiar of its settings. Thus, you would learn more about what settings to use in different types of photo taking.

I’m very introverted. So sometimes I be nervous, especially with new clients. I found out just talking and having fun relaxes us both. So make sure you’re engaging with them. Don’t forget, candid shots make some of the best photos.

29. What to do without using a tripod.

If you don’t have a tripod, you can still take quality photos by bracing yourself while shooting. You can do this by leaning against a wall, or resting your camera on top of a stable object. Aside from that though, to make sure that the photos are not blurred, it is best to hold your breath when pressing the on the shutter button.

This is also one of the first things my mentor taught me. This has been some if they most valuable information I’ve received. I do events where I don’t have time to keep moving the tripod to get the shots. So the bracing and breathing techniques has really helped me.

30. Always return the settings of your camera to the average one.

There are times when you want to take pictures while you are strolling around the park, or in your neighborhood. To make sure that you can take an instant shot, it is best that you always put your camera on regular settings. With that, you would be able to snap on it immediately, without having to go through lots of hassles in getting the right settings.

I learned this early on. If you have to fix settings you’ll miss a lot of images. When in just strolling I keep my settings on regular or auto.

Photography Tips 5

21. Check out the exif data.

When you check back on your pictures, it is best to check out the camera settings when you took them. Some of the setting you want to know about regarding this would include the aperture, shutter speed, and such. To do that, refer to the exif data of the pictures. By doing that, it can help you take note of the things you have done right or you have done wrong, and make improvements.

This has been a great help for me, especially when I create an image I love by accident. I want to know how to do it again. On the flip side, it helps when I can’t get it right. When I ask a mentor I’m able to give them that information. Most of the time they can tell me off the top what I did wrong.

22. Use your flash outdoors.

This idea may seem a bit funny for some. However, using your flash when you are taking pictures outside is actually a good idea. It is often referred to by professionals as “fill flash”. Using your flash outside can help light up your subject even on a sunny day, especially if the light is coming from behind them.

This was one of the first things my mentor told me. It was hard to understand or grasp at first, but when I took the same shot with and without the flash was able to see the difference.

23. How to take pictures of sunsets.

Setting your white balance to daylight and not to auto is a good idea when taking pictures of sunrises or sunsets. Oftentimes, when there is lower amount of light, your camera may not provide you the best photo for it. Thus, it is best to set it to daylight, or better yet, put the white balance mode to manual.

This tip I’m still working on. I rarely get the chance to experience either. I’d love to hear how that works for you.

24. Back up your images.

Backing up your images is one of the most important things you need to do. You can easily do it by purchasing an external hard drive for your computer. By backing up your images, you are assured that they won’t get lost. Back up your photos every one or two weeks, and store the it in a place that is safe.

I would also recommend using some sort of cloud storage as well. Granted it may not always be able to be saved in RAW format but, that is your extra protection. We never know when a disaster may strike and we may not be able to get the laptop or hard drive, but at least they’ll still be in the cloud. I use an external drive and cloud as backup.

25. How to manage your hard drive space.

Managing your hard drive space is very important, since it is where you would store your images. Save space on your hard drive by spending some time in sorting out the images. Select the images that you really want to keep. After doing that, all those that you have not selected should be deleted, so that you can save more room for future photos.

This is so true. However, sadly, I haven’t done that. Why, not really sure. Still I know that is definitely a 2018 project goal.

Photography Tips 4

16. Create a homemade light box if you are trying to take pictures of your products.

If you are trying to sell certain products online and you want to take pictures of them, you should have a good light box for it, so that your pictures would really look good. A homemade light box can be made with a cardboard box and a tracing paper. With your homemade light box, you can take quality pictures of the products, which would help in selling them faster.

For me, I just got to where I want to sell my craft products, so instead of making one (due to my time restraints). I absolutely love it. I do recommend you making one or buying one for your products.

17. Lower down your camera.

In most cases, you would usually take a picture standing up. Try lowering it down for certain types of shots, so that you can also explore different angles. Checking out different perspectives would provide you with more options on how you want to go about in taking a picture of your subject. Aside from that, lowering down your camera is one of the best things to do when your subject is small.

I love doing this. This is why I made sure I got a camera with a swivel screen. Due to knee surgery I can’t bend that low. If there is a will there’s a way!!!

18. Make your hobby pay you for all your hard work.

To gain more motivation in taking beautiful pictures, one of the best things that you can do with them is to sell them on stock photography websites. These sites can expose your pictures to people who are looking for the best images for their marketing efforts. In other words, if companies find that your pictures are in good quality, and they are applicable to their products, then they would purchase it.

I haven’t personally add anything yet, but I will be. So don’t miss out.

19. Use plastic LCD screen protectors.

You need to protect your camera’s LCD screen at all times, since it is where you would check the images you captured. To achieve that, you can simply make use of LCD screen protectors for them. They can ensure that your LCD would be free from scratches and dirt. Thus, with them, you can maintain the quality of your digital camera for a longer period of time.

Very important. Let’s not forget to do that.

20. Manipulate light.

Capturing light for the picture that you are taking is considered by some as an art. To manipulate light, you need to consider the different sources of it, such as the sun, flashes, and lamps. You have to know that these different sources may also need different tools, in order to take advantage of them, such as the reflectors, diffusers, and snoots.

This one I’m still learning. Sometimes I catch certain light patterns by accident. The more I practice with the tools above the better I get. The images you can create will be awesome.

Photography Tips #3

11. How to make sure that your lenses will not knock against each other while being put inside your bag.

Camera lenses do not come very cheap these days, which is why you need to take care of them properly. To make sure that they won’t destroy each other while being put inside the bag, you can use your hiking socks for them. At least that’s what I’ve been told. All you have to do is to cut the socks into its proper sizes. Just make sure that the socks are cleaned so that your lens would not get dirt on it.

Personally, I made my bag. I’m a craft person after all. I bought a sewing machine bag we had for black Friday. Bought the cushion fiber used to make chair covers, Velcro and some material. I cut the success sizes I needed the fiber to secure my items. Covered each piece with my selected material, add three Velcro, place in bag. It’s perfect for me with wheels and all.

12. Provide yourself some time to look through the photographs that you have taken a while ago.

Checking out your work after a few weeks that you have taken them, can provide you a new feeling for the photos. Aside from that, it would also give you the opportunity to see what you did right, and what you did wrong. More importantly, even if you did really well with them, you can always use them as your guide to make improvements.

This to me is vital. I even go as far as reaching out to other photographers to see what I could have done differently to make it better or make it pop. Networking and having a mentor is important to growth in the field. I understand not everyone likes to help because they are afraid. There are many who will and do help. As you grow, don’t be afraid to help others. There is enough work for everyone!

13. How to take pictures of fast moving or unpredictable subjects.

There are times when you want to capture an image or images of subjects that are erratic or moving fast. An example of this would be your pet dog playing around the garden. To make sure that you can capture a decent picture, simply make use of your camera’s continuous shooting mode. With that, it would take a number of shots in just a second, which would give you the chance to catch a good shot.

I love this tip. I do this regularly when shooting animals and sometimes water. Sometimes I’ll use it at sporting events too. Just find what works for you.

14. What you can do to become a wedding photographer.

If you want to become a wedding photographer, you want to start it right, so that you can get more clients. Staring out right in photography means gathering more information about it. However, you should also practice more; and, one of the best ways to do that is to volunteer as one of the photographers for your friend’s or relative’s wedding celebration.

I totally agree with this. This kinda goes for anything you want to branch out into. Don’t be afraid to offer your service in order to branch out. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions from others who have done or doing it well already. Always remember, be uniquely you.

15. How to make sure that you are buying the right kind of lens, especially if it expensive.

Lenses are available in different models these days. Some are big, while some are small. Keep in mind that such camera accessories are quite pricey. To make sure that you would be purchasing the right kind though, you can always rent certain types of lens for a few days first, so that you can check out their many functions and advantages, which should help you make the right purchase.

I personally haven’t rented any lenses yet, but I great many do. This is definitely something I plan to look into doing. I also caution and advise that you do some research. Ask yourself, what will you be photographing? Will it near or far? What type of conditions may I be in? Those your answers to those questions may alter your decision. What do I mean? For instance, if I want to get into food photography I won’t use the same lens that I use for landscape. Two different lenses are needed to optimize your photos.

Thanks for reading with me. How do you feel about these tips? What tips around these five topics would you advise?

Photography Tips part 2

6. Always look for candid shots.

Looking for candid shots can actually provide you with more opportunities of taking the best shots. When you check out different photos, you will find that some of the best ones are those that are taken without the subjects looking at the camera. Capture scenes where people are doing their usual things, and you will see how natural it would become.

This is by far my favorite tip. Candid photos are my favorite. There’s nothing like getting that loving look between couples, or that cute giggle of a child. Those really do make some of the best photos. Even when I’m doing headshots, it’s almost always one candid fun picture included with that. The smile of the client when they see it is totally worth it. The one and only thing I have to warn about, know the venue rules if it’s not your personal studio. You don’t want to break a rule or offend your client. You most definitely don’t want to embarrass your client by taking pictures where they don’t want them or it’s personal. My best practice is to ask the client is there anything that can’t be done.

7. Make use of UV filters on the front of your camera lenses.

UV filters can provide your camera with the protection that it needs, in order to stay in top condition. Place the filters in front of your camera lenses, so that your lenses would be protected from scrapes or knocks. With that, you can be assured that your lenses last longer.

I found this to be useful by accident when I first started. Good lenses are expensive and we definitely want them to last as long as possible.

8. Buy different lenses and swap with a fellow photography enthusiast to save money.

Camera lenses are quite expensive these days; and, having a good number of them would offer you more when it comes to taking pictures. However, if you want to save on cost, then find a friend who has the same brand of camera that you have. Aside from that, have an agreement with him in purchasing different lenses, so that you can simply swap lenses whenever you need to.

Please make sure you put your agreement into writing. Never go based off word. While word is bond for some, others take it lightly. Hate for you to be out of money because someone doesn’t keep up their end of the bargain.

9. Use a remote if you still get blurred shots even with the use of a tripod.

Even with the use of a tripod, there is still a possibility that you would get blurred shots. This can be due to the way you press the shutter button, in taking the pictures. To get around that, all you actually need to have is a remote. Aside from that, you can also make use of your camera’s delay timer.

I’ve found this to be very useful. I can be a bit heavy handed sometimes and even with the tripod I tend to shake it a bit and get some blur. It also allows you to step back a little bit.

10. Make use of your mobile phone’s camera if you are trying to scope for beautiful landscape shots. So you won’t forget them.

Scoping for great landscape shots can become a fun activity, especially if you won’t keep on forgetting those that you want to visit later on. To prevent that from happening, you can always make use of your mobile phone’s camera for it. By doing that, you would be able to remember where you want to shoot your landscape scene next, by simply checking your phone.

If you want to take it a step further, you maybe doing a theme shoot or that specific location gives you ideas, why not use a note taker to write out those ideas of the picture you took. In some cases you can use screen write to write on a copy of the picture itself. These are very important for me because I almost always working on more than one project and need to take notes to remember what I wanted to do or try.

Photography Tips Series 1

I want share a series of photography tips. I’m not a know it all, as I’m still learning from some awesome photographers. I’m always learning and always welcome new information. These are the first five of many tips!

1. Gather as much photography information as you can. You can never know too much. If you need a cheat sheet, buy one. Or better yet make catered to your needs!

To begin with your career in photography at the right path, you need to gather more information about it first. Gathering information would provide you guidance on the right steps that you need to take. In other words, the key is research, research and more research. You’ll be doing research even after you’ve started your business. Researching can be done through the internet, talking to professional photographers, as well as reading some books about the subject.

Me personally, I taken a course or two. I also have a few mentors. They are so awesome. Did you know you can learn from people starting out just like you too? How? It’s simple really. Remember you’re different. You learn at different stages, you remember things differently. It stands to reason that even though we maybe technically on the same beginner level, they understand something way more quickly than you, and vice versa. You may also have different specialities where you can help someone else. Above all, keep yourself willing and ready to be taught and to teach.

2. Purchase the digital camera that you want. Even if you are still at the starting point of your photography career, it is best to purchase the type of digital camera that you really want. You should purchase something that can provide you with the kind of pictures that you want. By using a camera that provides quality photos, you would become more motivated in taking more pictures with it, even if you are still trying to learn about it.

For me personally I wish I had done that. While the camera I had was great at taking pictures, it was a point and shoot. Knew it wasn’t what I truly wanted, but to took care of my basic need to train and teach myself. Don’t get me wrong, it was one of the point and shoots I’ve worked with and produced some excellent pictures. Still, I believe had I waited a tad bit longer I could have gotten the one I eventually did get, or one very similar. At any rate, I do still have that one. Makes for a great back up and a light load for specific outings. So get the one you really want.

A photographer whose work I’ve grown to live and admire posted about this very topic. When he said that I reflected back on what I did. Man, if only I knew then what I know now.

3. Invest in a tripod. Having a tripod can provide you with lots of benefits, as far as taking pictures is concerned. It is one of the things that you need to invest on, in order to have quality landscape shots. Aside from that, it would also help you in taking glorious pictures of sunset or sunrise. A tripod comes in handy many times. Plus it’s truly needed for those times you need that long exposure.

I know my hands can get shaky as it is, but you want me to stand still so there’s no blur. Yea, no, hats not happening. When you’re purchasing a tripod it’s important to get a durable lightweight one. If you’re anything like I was staring out, you maybe tempted to take your tripod everywhere. Your speciality may require. My recommendation is to never go without having a good tripod.

4. Time your shots well. Timing your shots well is one of the keys in taking beautiful pictures. This is actually one of the reasons why some professional photographers would suggest beginners in the field, to make use of filmed cameras at the start. This is because, using such types of cameras can help a person develop a good habit in timing and choosing his shots, due to the fact that the film limits it.

This I agree with on so many levels. While I’m still working on this, I completely understand the value and importance of using a film camera to time your slots. I’ve never had a SLR film camera, but I have taken numerous pictures with film cameras and Polaroid cameras. I’m not into wasting film, so I was very cautious in taking my pictures. Timing was everything. Great timing is the difference between an okay picture and an great picture!

5. Don’t hesitate to try new angles. There is always a tendency for a beginner to stick with taking pictures of their subject head on. If you are doing that, you may be preventing yourself in finding the best angles. Thus, it is a good idea to try out different angles first. Try to taking the picture from the top or from below. By doing that, you can have different perspectives of the scene.

I’ve seen photographers get into some wired positions to get that perfect shot. I love angles that are unique for specific images. I’m always trying different ones, using buildings, trees and other things to help with different angles and viewpoints. Dare to be different.

I hope these five tips help you out. I’ll be back to share more soon!!!