But mostly, I’m just pulling out my camera A LOT.
The thing is, I can tell you for each one of these photographs what I was feeling, what we were talking about, and what was going on just out of frame. I can tell you what they were saying, and I remember what it sounded like. Most importantly, I can remember what that moment FELT like. It’s why I pull my camera out every single day. I hadn’t thought about that trip to Hilton Head in a long time…but looking at the photos brought me right back to that trip, conjuring up memories that took place in the moments I snapped the photos AND all the moments in between. And that is what I aim to do.
1. Pull out your camera, no matter what kind you have, and just start shooting! Try to carry it with you. They are more durable than you think. The more you use it, the more comfortable you will get with it clunking around in your bag or around your neck.
2. If it is capable, set your camera shooting mode to CONTINUOUS SHOOTING. This will allow you to hold the trigger and take lots of frames super fast. You end up with lots of duplicate or close to duplicate shots, but with a moving subject (kids tend to do that) one of those frames will capture that exact moment you were looking for! Once you have more practice with your settings, you won’t need to do this as often.
3. Take a second and play with the settings on your dial… Get familiar with what they are there for. You don’t even have to get into the “fancy” settings (P, Tv, Av, M) to get great photos….but getting off of Auto and getting a feel for what else your camera presets can offer you is helpful, and you’re more likely to produce an image you like a little more. Everyyyybody loves Av though, subject is in focus and the background is blurry.
4. Try not to use flash, rely on natural light. For me, flash tends to be….harsh. (This is most likely an operator issue….I don’t hold anything against a flash, I just don’t know how to work with it well.) So I prefer not to use it whenever possible. Of course, in low light you will most likely need to, or your subjects may be blurry or soft. In that case, editing can help to soften the photo, and pull up the shadows in the background to balance. (See number 8.)
5. Find a cheat sheet that works for you, and save it on your phone. Find my favorites here.
6. Move. Move yourself so that you see more of your subject at different angles. Move your subject to face the sun, instead of you shooting into it. Move your camera just off kilter, sometimes with the subject to the left or right, or hold your camera so the frame is diagonal. For me, I like it when the photo isn’t always perfectly centered.
7. Stay still. I know, I just said MOVE, but reducing camera shake is the number one way to get cleaner, crisper images. I mean keep your camera still when you pull the trigger.
8. Edit. Not a TON…okay, sometimes a ton. I just recently purchased Adobe Photoshop CC, which includes Lightroom. I use Photoshop to compile photo and product collages for this blog, but haven’t even attempted editing photos with it. In my experience, Lightroom is much more user friendly. But even before that, I used the basic Windows Photo Gallery tools to edit. Super simple stuff, adding saturation or cooling down a photo temperature, correcting red eye, and cropping. It may take a minute or two, but I almost always tweak a photo before I feel like it’s finished.
As for equipment, I am partial to Canon, only because it was touted as the most user friendly and had the best reviews for my price point. I started with a Canon Rebel xsi about six years ago, and when I dropped it (whaaaaaaa?????) on the Thursday before Easter this year I went straight to the store and bought the same camera in it’s newest version, the Canon Rebel SL1. In addition to the 18-55mm lens which comes with the camera, I have purchased a few lenses. One for catching details at a distance (Canon 55-250mm), and one for super wide angles to catch interiors and architecture (Canon 10-22mm). My go to purchase was a hood for each lens, they help to shield the light flooding into the lens, which tends to blow out images taken in broad day light.
I’m actually dedicating some time to improve my camera skillzzzz now that the school year is back in session. I’m so grateful to some professional photographer friends who are pointing me in the right direction. It’s amazing when someone wants to share their passion and skills with others! I want to really focus on how to produce more clear shots INSIDE…where there is less light. It’s a monster yall. I fight to find balance between crisp photos that are bright and having too much grain (noise) degrading the quality. But like with anything else worth doing, it will take time and practice. If I ever get a good hang of it I’ll be sure to share!
There’s a million little stories that happen every day, some special days and some every days. If you’re like me you’ll want to remember all of them. The picture does not have to be perfect, it just has to be taken. So go grab your camera and capture yours! Cheers yall!