Monday, May 31, 2010

Some Basic Rules

Sometimes I forget that I've come a long way as a photographer. I expect that everyone who owns a camera can shoot good photos. A colleague at work today asked me what resolution he should set his camera on.  He was referring to the size of the .jpgs. I told him it all depends what you are doing with the .jpgs. If you intend on having a picture blown up to say a 11" x 14," then you'll want the highest quality you can get. If, however, you just like showing your images off on your computer or posting them on FaceBook and you have no intention of printing them, then make them as small as possible. You'll get lots of pictures on your memory card and there is no need to take up so much space on your hard drive. If you understand this basic concept, a lot of the time you can choose the larger size when attempting a portrait of your grandchild, but then change the setting to a medium or small ,jpg when getting generic photos of the kids playing in the pool.

First and foremost, read your camera's manual. It is an invaluable source of information. It doesn't hurt to have it stored in the case with you to look up things when you feel like getting a bit creative. My first digital camera had "modes" to select for different lighting challenges. There was a "night portrait" I discovered one evening when my husband and I were shooting photos on a dock at sunset. Using that selection  allowed me to take gorgeous photos of us where you got us in the foreground but didn't loose the background.  Essentially I know how to do that with my SLR today but it takes a little figuring and shooting and adjusting sometimes. Knowing you have a "night portrait" selection can make the difference between getting what you want in the long run.
Happy Memorial Day!  We're headed upstate tomorrow to see some beautiful settings.  Stay posted for some new photos.  Happy shooting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dance photos

In an effort to make money as a photographer, I proposed to colleague Sandy Viola that we shoot portraits and group shots of the dancers at Taps N Toes where my niece's dance. It sounded like it would be an enormous task but probably quite lucrative. I got us the "go ahead" from the owner and took the day off from the full-time job in order to clean lenses, format memory cards,  charge batteries and pack the car up. I was excited to see how Sandy set up her lights and worked with the children. While the experience turned out to be a lot more chaotic than I'd anticipated and much less lucrative given that the dancers had to constantly change costumes and had little to no time for posing for a camera,  I still did gain insight into being a better photographer from working with Sandy. She gets down with the kids and convinces them to act silly and have fun with posing. She likes knowing what to expect from her light. She reminded me not to cut off the feet (a disaster considering we were shooting ballerinas). My task was to try and get the group shots which wasn't easy since many of the kids had to prepare for another dance number or two and many of them wanted to watch their friends perform, so they disappeared into the auditorium. In the long run I got SOME of the groups, not all and Sandy did a wonderful job capturing about 20 lovely dancers - a small percentage of the girls that were there. Perhaps some more will realize the lost opportunity and make their way to her studio. It was a learning experience for me. Should we do it again? Only if we can figure out how to control the situation better (or if our reputation gets out and they are actually looking forwrd to the experience).  As for me, I playd with my niece's images today:
I can still have fun with my photography even if I can't get rich on it!

Happy shooting, friends!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Finding places close to home

I've always said I'm lucky to be living in the Hudson Valley - we have so many photographic opportunities here. Lots of historic sites, a beautiful river and lots of cool mountains. And FOUR very different seasons that all bring with them new photographic opportunities.  Why, within 10 minutes of my house I can find a castle.....

Magnificent mountains.....

The Poughkeepsie cityscape...
Or just flowers at my own house.  The important thing is to keep shooting, trying different angles and settings and learning from what you've shot.  Happy shooting!