Bonus blog post today!! I just can't help myself. I had so much fun with Sarah this morning that I couldn't wait to show you all at least one. Sarah was such a pleasure to work with, very natural and comfortable with herself.
Ok, maybe more than one, I have to share these too. Think of it as the bonus blog post getting a bonus. A double bonus and regular readers know how I love those!! Sarah has such a sense of humor, she absolutely loved it when this llama sauntered right over and posed with her.
I hope to have Sarah's pictures on the blog on Monday so keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the pictures from this really fun session.
So not only did we have a great time with Brody last weekend, I also think I may have gotten a new favorite black and white picture. You may remember that a while back, I had a post about this subject. Well it has some new competition. If this one is not a favorite, then it's mighty close. What's kind of nice is that this is such a typical "boy" shot while... .
this one is 100% "girl".
Also the last time, I posted this picture my sister-in-law "yelled" at me because I didn't note that it is possibly her favorite picture of all time. Well here you go, Barb, here's your shout out.
Much like the cowbell in this classic Saturday Night Live skit, we always need more Brendan on the blog! Well, he's back to help me showcase a new product. He (or more accurately his mom) has been my human guinea pig for this whole senior picture process. Need to know if I like taking senior pictures, ask Brendan if you can take his. Need to know if my monitor is properly calibrated, print out pictures of Brendan. Want to see what a collage looks like printed, make one of Brendan. Need to know how to submit a picture for the yearbook, ask his mom to find out and let you know.
Speaking of his mother, she has been thrilled with all the results, most especially the fact that Brendan didn't totally hate the process. In fact, some things he has actually liked. When she showed him the collage, he said, "Wow, thanks for doing that." Anyone with teenagers knows how rare a spontaneous, heartfelt thank you is and how great it can make you feel. And if it's a boy and it's for a picture of themselves, well unprecedented.
My sister suggested that I add a glossary link to my chalk talk feature so that if I have already explained a term you will be able to find it relatively quickly. I thought that this was a great idea so I got right on that. In the future, I will highlight any words that I add to the glossary so if you see a word that is highlighted, click on it and it will bring you right to the glossary. If you have any terms you would like added, please leave them in the comment space below or on my FACEBOOK page.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending and photographing my nephew's christening. He was awesome, so alert the whole time. He always has that wise expression that newborns just have and the rest of us spend a lifetime trying to regain.
I walked into the church with the thought of shooting the ceremony and I was alarmed at how very dark it was in there. My first thought was, "Oh no, what do I do now?" I decided to raise the ISO and shoot wide open. Although I did just learn from my friend that you should never, ever shoot at the widest aperture available. I didn't know that it never comes out that well. Why is it there then? Is it just there to make the lens seem better? Maybe it is like the "never order the second cheapest bottle of wine in a restaurant" rule. Supposedly, nobody will buy the least expensive wine on the list (they'll look too cheap) so the restaurants put the big mark-up on the second cheapest bottle which is also the one most people will buy. Coincidence? I think not.
Anyway, I was in a very dark church hoping that I would at least be able to get some decent pictures. So I set my aperture to f/2 (my widest opening is f/1.8 so yes I can be taught), and then raised my ISO enough (1600) to get a reasonably fast shutter speed (1/100) but hopefully not get too much digital noise. For those that just said, "Digital what?" Digital noise is the graininess in the picture. If you happen to have a picture of you and your siblings circa 1978, then you know what I'm talking about. The thing is it is a trade-off between the effects of flash and noise and it is a personal decision of which you like better. My point is to take the opportunity to explore both to see which appeals to you more.
Of course, getting great results is a whole lot easier with a gorgeous baby wearing an exquisite gown but hopefully the tips will help a little too. If you have any questions that you would like to have answered, I would love to hear them. Please leave me a comment below or on my FACEBOOK page.
This issue of chalk talk will focus on what's in the picture. I had the pleasure of having lunch last week with my friend, Stacey Norling, who is also a professional photographer. Her stuff is terrific, if you get a chance check it out here or on FACEBOOK. As so often happens when we get together, our conversation turned to photography. She mentioned that she loves the book, "Within the Frame" by David duChemin. I love to read photography books so I immediately went home and ordered it (my library doesn't have it) but first I googled the author. I found his blog and had a bit of an epiphany when I read the line on his header, "Gear is good, vision is better". How perfect in its simplicity. If you have ever taken a good picture, I am sure that you have heard, "Wow you must have a really good camera". I know that I certainly have heard that once or twice. But while good gear does make your life easier, it is certainly not the whole story. What you see and how you see it are much more important than what you see, or shoot, it with. I have included a picture that my daughter took with a $100 point and shoot camera that I think perfectly illustrates this point. Sometimes you walk by an image and it strikes you as something worth taking a picture of and you are in the right place at the right time. And sometimes you need to move the camera a little bit to find the way to make the image look better.
Don't think of it as composition, one of those technical terms that people hate, think of it as taking the time to make your image in the lens look a little more special. By the way, flash would have completely ruined the mood and tone of this picture (she had turned it off when she entered the church because she did not want to be disrespectful). As always, I would love to hear from you about anything. Feel free to leave me a comment below or on FACEBOOK.
Blog recommendation: The Pixelated Image Blog, David duChemin
I am going to try a new (hopefully weekly) feature. Photography tips. Before we begin, I want to make it clear that I am not a professional, far from it. I am really more of a hardcore hobbyist. I certainly don't have the most expensive camera or lens but what I do have is a love of photography. Combine that with a love of reading and I have read just about every photography book there is out there. Why would I want to give tips? Well the success of your slide show depends on the quality of your pictures. Quite simply, great pictures = better slide show = happier you.
My number one tip: turn off your flash. Of course if it is a family picture at a dark restaurant and you simply must record the moment leave it on but if it is a picture where the flash will ruin the mood (a sunset, blowing out candles etc.) shut it off. The picture above is a perfect example. I took it from inside the house because I am a wimp when it comes to the cold. If the flash had fired, it would have resulted in glare from the window and also negated the night effect. I avoided this by putting the camera on the "A" (aperture) setting and using a wide open aperture (f/1.8). I also increased the ISO to 2000 and used a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/80 sec. Aperture, ISO and shutter speed all work together like the legs of a tripod - each needs to hold up their side or it will collapse (resulting in a bad picture). ISO is the speed of the picture, it used to be film speed -100, 200, 400 etc. With a digital camera, you can set this number yourself and the higher the number the faster the speed. Aperture determines how much light your lens lets in, the lower f number the more light. Shutter speed is how long the shutter stays open and it is fractions of a second - 1/30 is slow, 1/1000 is fast. I used aperture mode rather than manual because if I set the aperture then the camera will set the shutter speed. Gosh, this post is long, I will try to be brief in the future.
As a humorous aside, my daughter does not like having her picture taken at all so I got her to "cooperate" by asking her to throw snow at me. She is 13 so she liked that idea a lot.
This week's recommendation:
Book- "The Life Guide to Digital Photography" by Joe McNally. Very readable, great tips, not too technical.
If you have questions that you would like answered, please leave a comment here or on my FACEBOOK page.