Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"EPT" #2 (Easy Photography Tip)

Having a good quality camera is VERY helpful. There are things about higher quality cameras that makes life for a photographer (or even just your everyday picture snapper) much easier. Whether is has to do with the ease of the menu's or the type of glass inside the camera itself, to the mechanics of the the camera...there are reason's why an expensive camera is, well..expensive. Does an expensive camera guarantee you great pictures every time? No.

But! At the very same time, does an inexpensive camera mean that you will never get great pictures? No!!! The reason for this is simple...and yet, takes a lot of practice to figure out.

The key is finding the right light. Whether or not you have an expensive Nikon, or Canon or have a less expensive point and shoot....if you find the right light, you will get great pictures. So how do you find the right light? It is pretty much a trial and error process, although there are a few things that can make this trial and error process quicker.

First things first...natural sunlight is best, but it is important to avoid direct sun. (you'll know, because your subject will be squinting!). Shadow's are bad...your subject hiding in a shadow will make for one big ol' shadowy picture. Finding that perfect shady, but not shadowy and yet sunny at the same time spot can be difficult. Sometimes you are in the right spot, but just a small change in position will make a big difference. I go by the eyes...the second I see the subjects eyes light up (from the sun) I am sure that I am close to a good spot!

A few examples:

This picture was taken with my cell phone. While the picture is slightly "oof" (out of focus), you can see that the exposure was good and that his eyes have that nice reflection in them. I like this picture of Ethan alot! Not great camera, but good light equals a decent picture.

This picture is a good example of good exposure. This is "neighbor Owen" standing in our driveway. The sun is directly in front of him, but he is just slightly shaded by the tree's behind him. Getting him to look up just a bit made me catch the crazy amazing color in his eyes. This, taken with my Nikon (which is only an entry level not super expensive camera), is another one that I love.

This is a picture of Luke taken outside of the Church. This time, a morning on a pretty cloudy day. He is standing under the entry way roof near the front door of the Church. Again, the sun is in front of him and he is slightly shaded by something behind him.

There are tricks to use when you can't quite find the right light. I will use this picture of Elijah (taken over a year ago or so)...

We had just returned from a walk and the sun was bright. He was being happy so I was trying to grab a few pics. In this picture he is facing away from the Sun...the sun is behind him. He is also in a stroller with the canopy up, so not only is he backlit by the sun, but he is in the shade. If I had turned him around the sun would have been way too bright in his eyes and he would have never looked up at me, so instead, I used our white garage as a, sort of, reflector of the sun. I rolled the stroller over and faced Elijah towards the garage and I stood between them. This allowed for some good light in on his face and eyes. You can see that he is still a tad dark, so if I were editing this picture now I would do a very small bump in the curves just to lighten his face a bit. (I also would have fixed the white balance...which is just an example of how much you can learn in a year!).

What happens when you just can't possibly find the right light? Take the pictures anyway!! It's not always about a perfectly exposed picture....it's about capturing a moment! As you take more and more pictures, looking for these lighting situations will become like second nature for you and you will find yourself still being able to capture the moments and at the same time get properly exposed photos!!

Practice, Practice, Practice!!