Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 basic photography tips

i've wanted to do a post for a while and share some basic photography tips that i have been learning and practicing, but have been very hesitant to do so for several reasons...the biggest reason being that i don't want anyone to think that i feel like i take great pictures!  another reason is that there is a wealth of information on the internet about taking pictures, and most of that information comes from much better photographers than I! however, i'm learning that taking good pictures isn't quite as much about fancy cameras and fancy photography terminology as it is understanding a few key things...and that's what i want to share here!  these are extremely basic tips, but i've found them to be extremely helpful to me.  if it helps even one person, then it's worth sharing :)

so my top five things i have learned so far {and am still learning}:

1) get to know your camera....   this is the best advice i've been given.  i know it sounds so simple, but it's important!  a very good friend told me to read my camera's manual front to back...and back to front again and again!  she told me to read it until i really understood it.  

i learned from my camera's manual that i can freeze action!  it's important to know what your camera offers, and it actually leads to the second thing i've learned.... 

2)  edit{less}....   your end goal should be to take great pictures without having to edit them.  who wants to spend a ton of time playing with your pictures {and i'm not talking about the "fun" editing; i'm talking about getting sharp pictures, taking pictures with the right lighting, getting pretty bokeh, etc.}?  if you take a great picture on the front end, you won't need to do any editing!  
this is one of my favorite pictures i've taken...everything was editing necessary!

3)  shoot manual!...  this kind of goes back to learning your camera's functions...i am learning that just about in every situation, a picture will turn out better shot in manual than in automatic.  it's just really hard for a camera to make the best decision about settings when it comes to lighting, or my baby that moves at lightning speed, or any other issue at hand when photographing.  learn your camera and change your settings yourself.  here's a cheat sheet that my good friend showed me.  i printed it off and keep it in my camera bag at all times!  click HERE to check it out!

4) lighting matters...  there is SOOO much to say on this issue that it's hard to decide what to focus on {no pun intended}...i just have two things to say about lighting:  {a}your photograph will turn out differently based on where you position yourself in relation to the sun...i mean, duh; right?  is the sun behind you shining directly towards your subject, or are you facing the sun and it is shining into the picture?  there's no right or wrong where this lighting issue is concerned; it just depends on how you want your picture to turn out.  However, with that said, make sure if the light is shining on your subject that they are not squinting at the camera...that can kill a great picture! 

my favorite lighting is light shining from behind my subject...beautiful!  

the second thing as far as lighting is concerned is {b}when taking photographs inside, natural light is a must!  if i'm taking pictures inside, using my flash is a last resort...i always try to take pics near windows or doors with lots of natural light flooding in.  the flash just tends to kill a picture!

  i didn't use my flash in this pic but it still turned out beautifully because of the natural light streaming in from the window to her side

5) capture how and what you love best...  photography is like everything trends...there are a lot of opinions out there about what is good lighting and color, how you should photograph, what you should photograph...however, i believe the best pictures are the ones that you love.  depending on my mood {or the mood of my subjects...usually my kids :)}, i may want a muted photograph.  another day i may want vivid colors...i photograph what i like the way i like it.  i refuse to give in to photography peer pressure :)

i love this has great colors...i remember this day as being bright and happy, and that's the story this picture tells!  perfectly captured!

these are just five extremely basic tips that i have learned {and am still trying to perfect!}.  photography is not only fun, but also it captures my life story and my most important memories.  and i want to be happy at the end of the day about the way these memories look.  it's worth it to take great pictures!  happy photographing!

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