What I've Learned About Photography

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

First of all, let me say that if you are an actual photographer, please stop reading now, lest I offend you with my non-professional knowledge. :-)

For everyone else, though, I have picked up a few tricks and tips that I thought I would share to help you get the most out of your photo-taking endeavors.

Tip 1: "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes" is for pansies and gunslingers, not taking photos: shoot, shoot, shoot and then shoot some more. Sometimes you'll get the best results if you shoot continuously and pick from the photos later. Action shots, for example, are difficult to get if you have a timid trigger finger.

I have an "action mode" on my camera that looks like a running man (it seriously has Hammer pants and everything). So, if you have one of those, use it to its fullest.

How many shots do you think it took to get these photos?



That's like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop! (Hint: the answer is closer to one million than three, but it's worth it if you get one shot that you love.)

Tip 2: Don't be afraid to take photos that are obscured by something or don't show the subject's face. Sometimes those turn out to be the best ones in the group or capture the mood in a way that you didn't expect.

This photo only shows the player (my son) in profile and shows the coach (my husband) from the back. But, you can see that they are deep in conversation about all things baseball related. The mood is clear.


In this photo, the player (my son) is behind a fence, but that is how you often see players at games, so it adds authenticity to the photo.


In this photo, you can't see the person's face at all, but it embodies relaxation. I wouldn't mind a swing on that hammock right about now. Guess who was relaxing at the beach when I took this photo? (Hubby again!)


Tip 3: Work with what you've got. In my case, I have a family full of hams. So, I have the pleasure of taking A LOT of corny photos. But, that's what I have to work with.

Ham City: Population 4 (Note this photo was in desperate need of better lighting, but it illustrates perfectly the cornball nature of our family.)


This little ditty was unprovoked and just happened when taking Christmas photos last year. Oh yes, he's given his regards to Broadway in case you were wondering.


And, when the mood turns sour because you're working with a kid who doesn't want to take any more photos, well, sometimes you end up with a photo that looks like this. (Which also made it to last year's Christmas card because it was hilarious and too good not to use.) Remember work with what you've got.


Tip 4: Crop a photo within an inch of its life if you have to. While using all of the previously mentioned tips, you're bound to end up with some photos that are spectacular "if they only didn't have all of that other crap in them." Crop it out and call it a day.

Before cropping (how nice that my Jeep is prominently featured):



After cropping, the focus is all on my beautiful niece Charlotte and her leaf throwing abilities:


So those are my tips. I am not a professional photographer by any means. If I were, I might have a list with a round number, like say 5 or 10. Or, I might be at a photo shoot instead of compiling a list, but I digress. This is a list from someone who supports ambush photos fully (unless they are taken of her). So, take it for what it's worth. :-)

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