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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Post: Photography Tips

Hi there! I'm so excited to be guest-posting for Kelli while she's away!  My name is Liz, and I blog over at Sugarplum Creations.  I'm a stay-at-home mama to four little girls.  Yep, FOUR.  Our newest little sugarplum was born in June, and she is keeping us quite busy.  We spend our days homeschooling, crafting, and playing dress up and beauty salon.  And I insist on documenting every single second.

Photography has always been fascinating to me.  I would spend hours poring over photo albums when I was little.  I love the way you can come across an old photo, and be completely transported back to that time.  I love to journal, don't get me wrong, but there is nothing like a photo to tell the whole story.  And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a good picture . . . well, that's priceless.

So, let's talk about some simple ways to improve your everyday photos.

Have your camera ready.

Okay, this seems like a no-brainer, but if your camera is hiding away in its bag in a closet somewhere, guess what, it's not easily accessible.  And it's going to be more than a little difficult to capture those fleeting moments.  Get your camera out.  Use it daily.  I take my camera to the library, grocery store, and dentist.  Cameras are not just for birthdays, holidays, and vacations.  Capture the little moments.  You'll be so glad you did.

Now that you have your camera ready . . .

Say no to "the cheese"

While posed photos definitely have their place, if you really want to document every day life, you're going to have to be sneaky.  Catch your littles playing Barbies, brushing teeth, climbing trees, even pitching fits {hey, someday you'll miss the feisty moments too!}


Remember and implement the Rule of Thirds

Subjects don't always need to be centered in the frame.  In fact, eyes are not naturally drawn to the center of a photo.  Try to compose your shots by envisioning a grid of sorts on top of your photo, dividing it into nine equal parts.   Then place the most important subjects on or near the "lines", especially where those lines intersect.  A simple way to make your photos even more interesting!

Photography Tutorial, Rule of Thirds copy

Look how little Miss' eye and mouth fall right on the lines.

Find the Right Light

Lighting is probably the single most important factor in photography.  I won't go into a long explanation of how ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture work together to give you a properly exposed photo.  That would take way too long, and probably bore you to death.  What I will say is that, whenever possible, find natural light to work with.  I stay away from flash completely because it is difficult for me to use without creating harsh shadows and giving an overall unrealistic feel.  Sometimes you have to experiment with lighting to see what works best.  For example, on our camping trip, my daughter had crafted a bracelet for her American Girl doll.  She wanted me to get a picture of her with Meghan {her doll}.  It was sunny, but we were among many trees.  The lighting was very uneven.  I snapped a picture:


Hmmmm.  Dark shadows.  Not real flattering.

I simply moved my subject a couple of feet over . . .


And voila!
Okay, so the photo is not phenomenal, but I think you can see that moving a little made a big difference.


There you have it, a few simple tips to make your photos spectacular.  Now, go find your camera's manual, and read up.  And remember, practice makes perfect!
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Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Great tips! I haven't taken the time to learn the ins and outs of my dslr, but it something I want/need to do. :)

Kmama said...

Those are great tips. While my camera is accessible, I forget about it. I need to pull it out more often.

Kelli said...

This is just the post I need! I've been working on not putting the subjects in the middle...hard habit to break. Thanks for sharing the lighting example...what a difference.

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

I like the rule of thirds. You're so right about it making your pictures look more interesting.

Mama 2 Four said...

Great tips Liz! I love to take pictures, but I have never really taken the time to learn the technical side of photography. Yup, I am a put the camera on Auto and go kind of girl! But, all of that is about to change, as I can't justify that kind of behavior with the new camera that my sweet Husband bought me! ;)

Jenny said...

Great tips! I always love your pics. So how do you carry your camera with you everywhere? Do you have a diaper bag and camera bag?

Macey said...

Liz has the best pictures, too! Great advice! :)

Sugarplum Creations Blog said...

Kelli, thank you so much for having me!! I hope you all are enjoying every minute with Mickey!!! ♥

Anonymous said...

I love those tips. I am finally getting better with my point and shoot!

Jessica said...

Thanks for the reminder to capture the "natural" moments as well!

Joanna said...

I always forget to grab the camera on lifes little natural moments. I am one of those that says look at me and smile. :-) But I do love the everyday minutes and should capture them more.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Great advice...which I always need!!!

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