* DISCLAIMER* Every photo you see of this post has been UNTOUCHED after it has left the camera...*gasp* ....If you think I am uncool after this. I totally understand.
In the 3 years that I have been blessed with holding a camera and literally stopping time with every click, I have never been happier. I have been more than blessed by random strangers, who later become friends, entrusting me with the honor of capturing a moment that they get to relive every time they look at their photos.
I have countless friends that are amazing moms and students that have blessed with an SLR (rebel, 40D, or nikon equivalent) because of a major milestone in their life or because they wanted to take up photography. I have been asked to show a few easy things to them and thought I would write it down for anyone who was remotely curious as to what I do, and show it really is not hard.
I have wanted to do this post for a good while, maybe 6 month. I attempted around 6 weeks ago and chickened out. NOT because I was selfish and wanted to keep everything to myself....but because I didnt want people to be like.."I already know that"..."this isn't new."...or what not. I know this info is already out there, I just wanted to share what has shaped me and helped me grow as a photographer and hopefully help you and your family take killer christmas pics this year! I wanted to do a top 10, but I really dont know how many points I have, feel free to leave a question if I am not clear and I will rephrase!
1) Lenses. Please throw away/ resell your kit lens and invest in either THIS 50 mm 1.4 or a cheaper version This cheaper version 1.8 still a great investment. Kit lenses will have you convinced, you stink. Trust me..its the lens... (..I'd say 90 % of the reason your photos will look AWESOME)
for the purpose of this write up I will show you photos taken with my Rebel XT ( my mom gave me this as a wedding gift back in 2006) and the 50 mm f 1.4.
2) Shooting in Manual mode. That changes the way I shoot and think. I was shooting Aperture priority for a while, but when I switched to Manual mode, I knew I was the only person to blame if a photo didn't turn out the way I wanted. Being in control of The Shutter (I rarely shoot below 1/200th second, mostly in the 500 to 1/1000th of a second...to avoid camera shake) so I adjust my iso accordingly, and I never change my aperture, so if its a 50 1.4, I keep it at 1.4. Unless I shoot groups.
3) shooting an hour before sunset. Or sunrise, though I am more motivated at sunset. The light is beautiful and no one is squinting and the whether is perfect. No need for flash. Shade is a great substitute, the photos I took below of Evelyn was at noon in the shade.
4) If you are shooting kids, get on their level. Learn their fave shows and songs and make them think its a fun game :)
5) Shooting an hour before sunset...or in the shade : ) to avoid squinting and the discomfort that comes with the midday sun. So you can focus on getting the fun expressions. I said that twice, because it really does make a difference.
This is my camera I used for the demonstration below ( which I am sure everyone has a better version of today!). Rebel 350D with 50 f/1.4 lens...I m telling you..its all in the lens : ) (for those that are curious..my work camera is a 5D mark 2)
For my example below I shot B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L Evelyn around midday ...in the only shaded area at a park...under a roof. All manual mode. when I figured out what my fave setting was for the look I was going for... I only had to concentrate on getting fun expressions.
I shot 128 photos all up in 15 minutes and found more than 20 keepers. Thats the beauty with digital, trial and error : ) These photos were shot at 400iso, 1/1600th sec, f/1.4 50mm
We used a high tech way of getting Evelyn to look up.... a cell phone :)
A fun perspective is getting on their level.
Ofcourse I missed the mark A BUNCH..but for all the keepers, it was worth our time : )
Our location that we shot all the above photos. IT WAS BRIGHT!!!..and HOT!..and surrounded by picnic tables so, hence the close up shots to minimize the distraction.
*Photo below was salvaged by photoshop* BECAUSE i shot OUT side in Midday sun :S I couldn't help it.. the sunflowers were GORGEOUS!!..notice the harsh light, squinting, sweat dripping uncomfortable ness ..but still cute :)