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  • Writer's pictureKristi Lambert

Anyone Can Photograph---Here Are A Few Tips!!!

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the photographers mind when they are taking photos? I picked this blog topic because as some of you may know I’ve been a photographer for going on 11 years now. I can tell you, it’s not what you think.

Typically when you’re taking a photo the family has spent time preparing for this exciting moment of making memories. Days, maybe even weeks picking out the right outfits etc. For a photographer, the pressure is on. It's much more than getting everybody to say cheese at the same time. When we’re behind the lens were constantly focusing on the background---what’s in the photo? Is the photo squared up, are we using the right settings? Is the sun too bright----is the shade too dark?

Do you see a squirrel in the top of the tree---does it appear there is a tree or flag pole coming out of the persons 'head'?

All of these things and more are things that photographers have to consider when doing sessions in an outdoor setting. Then of course, you have to make sure that everybody is looking at the camera smiling nobody is twiddling their thumbs or looking at the frog sitting on the step across the way. Perhaps if we got the frog and put it on top of the camera lens everybody would look? (I kid you not I’ve done things of this nature!) It takes a lot of time and effort to learn how to take quality photos. With the cameras nowadays you can set it on auto setting and get a decent photo for the most part, but there's always a problem with the focus.

The problem with that is most people don’t realize that when you set it on "auto" the camera is going to pick up on the very first thing at sees. That means Uncle Bill might not being focused because little baby Susie is up front holding a big teddy bear------and the teddy bear gets all the focus.

Recently I was training somebody and critiquing their photo work and they were a rather new photographer. If you are interested in learning how to take GREAT photos, here are a few tips for you.

1. Pick out a camera that has an opportunity for exchangeable lenses.

2. Pick out a camera that has a good review.

3. Pick up yourself a nifty 50 lens. It is a prime lens and works really well on most every type of portrait setting.

4. Do your research, go ahead and study just a little bit. There’s so much information on the Internet be sure you get the right thing. I took a few classes and you should too. The typical cost of the class is about 100 bucks but it’s worth it in the end.

5. Next practice practice practice. Set up some crayons on your living room table, walk outside and set up some flowers. Have your children play outside on the patio perhaps with a board game while you set the camera to different settings on focus.

Basic Settings using Aperture and ISO.

Go ahead and grab your camera and put your aperture to 5.6. If you’re outside you want to set your ISO to about 200 depending on the brightness of the sun. At 5.6 your cameras eye is open enough to let the light in and capture a good photo but still blurring the background just enough. If you bump it to F8 then perhaps you want to bump your ISO up to 300 because you have now, 'closed' the lens up a bit causing the light to not flow in as greatly as it would at 5.6.

Focus focus focus. Don’t use auto focus set it to manual focus so that you can choose what area you want to focus on. It is important to always make sure that those red dots you see inside your camera are properly placed. Don’t place the focus point on the person upfront if you have a group of people. Say you have a group of 10, with three rows. Focus on the middle row, using the 2nd to last person on the right side. Focus on their eyes. Make sure the sun isn't blinding them!

If you’re doing just a portrait session of one make sure the focus is on their eyes. The eye is where you want to capture the spirit and the soul of the person. As you can see there are many many things to consider when taking photos. I encourage you to try these out and if you have any questions while you’re working on it feel free to shoot me a message and I’m happy to help. Oh another thing make sure that your lens is clean! Even one dirty spot on your lens will cause the photo to show up with the same spot. Always keep the lens inside a clean lens carrier/bag.

Here are a couple photos that I took using a Nikon 3500 and the nifty 50 lens I told you about above

Grids show the photos below, notice the backgrounds where some are blurry. They call that Bokeh and it leaves it out of focus depending on what F-stop you use. Most of these were 5.6.

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