Learning Photography

How to photograph fireworks on either iPhone or DSLR

The basics of photographing fireworks is down to knowing how to shoot a long exposure shot . I'm going to walk you through how to do this for either DSLR or iPhone (I'm sure there's an android equivalent, I just don't have access to one!). Set Up and Equipment Tripod - this is an essential tool in setting up your long exposure shot. If you don't have a tripod, you can set up your camera on stable surface like the hood of a car, table or chair. If using a DSLR, I find it helpful to scrunch up a jacket or something a bit soft to nestle your camera into so it doesn't slip around. The same thing goes for iPhones. Make sure the camera is stable and [...]

8 Ideas for Photography Play at Home

I don't know how many times I've heard "these are strange times we are living in". And it is. Currently, as I write this, we are all in quarantine to help stop the spread of the Corona Virus. I keep thinking about people at home with little kids, trying to keep them engaged through all this!  Here's my list of Photography Play at Home to do with your kids or for the kid in each of us. Enjoy! Photography Play at Home   1. Photo Scavenger Hunt I loved seeing what my kids saw through the lens when they were little. The stuff that they took photos of gave me a whole new perspective! Here's a fun way to get them using a camera and capturing what they [...]

3 Tips for Finding Best Light for Photo Shoots

  When clients tell me they want to go to a special location for their photo shoot, I always try my best to accommodate their wishes.  I'll let you into a little secret...the location matters very little for great photos. The absolute best factor for photos is good light. Some of my favorite shots have been taken in parking lots, alleyways and plain business doorways. Here are my 3 tips for finding the best light for photo shoots - Time of day   You may have heard of the "Golden Hour". This is roughly an hour before sunset or and hour after sunrise. Sunset tends to have a little more warmth than sunrise and I've only had a couple people willing to be photographed first thing in the [...]

DSLR vs iPhone or Smart Phone Photography

I took an honest look comparing my DSLR vs my iPhone for photography. Teaching both a Basic Photography Class as well as a Smart Phone Photography class, I'm a fan of both! But, I’m also a photography nerd who loves her DSLR camera! I’ve paid big bucks for my cameras (multiple!), lenses, accessories and software that goes with it. In a word, I’m invested in the DSLR world! You still can’t beat DSLR's for the image quality and control…yet. However, here’s something I don’t hear my fellow pro photographers saying much; I kinda hope Smart Phones end up eclipsing DSLR cameras just like they have Point and Shoot cameras, at least the entry level versions. Frankly, I don’t think it’s fair that DSLR cameras can be so hard [...]

How do I get frozen action shots?

Controlling Your Camera’s Shutter Speed   Have you ever seen a cool shot of kids jumping into a pool and whomever was taking the photo captured them before they are fully submerged, water droplets are frozen midair all around them like little diamonds from the splash? So cool, right? And then you try and it’s just a big blur? I feel you! I’ve been so frustrated that I was tempted to just huck my camera in the pool with them! Before you destroy your camera though, if I can figure this out, I know you can too! I’m going to walk you though how to get that frozen action shots! (Shutter Speed 1/1600th of a second) Understanding Shutter Speed The first thing you need to know about is [...]

How to I get blurred action? Long exposure explained

Intentional motion blur or blurred action is an exciting trick to learn in photography! Photos with a long exposure or slow shutter speed can result in some interesting and creative photography. Most often this is done with something that is moving through a stationary scene creating an interesting image like a milky waterfall or a cityscape where the headlights and taillights streak white and red and the buildings twinkling behind. This type of image is achieved by slowing down the shutter and creating intentional “motion blur” meaning that the action happens while the shutter is still open causing the action to blur across the frame. The length of time that the shutter needs to be open to create motion blur depends on how quickly the subject is moving. [...]

How to get blurry backgrounds in photography?

Have you wondered how photographers get that blurry background in photos? As a portrait photographer, I love having a blurry background that isolates my subject and makes them stand out. Not only does it bring the focus on the person, it also lessens any distractions in the background. I'm going to teach you how to do that. Depth of Field A blurry background in photography terms is called “shallow depth of field”. A shallow depth of field (also sometimes called a "narrow" depth of field) is controlled by the size of the aperture opening. A large aperture (small number, ex. f2.8) is controlled by the lens. It will create a plane of focus in front of your camera. Think of it like an invisible piece of glass a [...]

Photography Basics; How your camera works

When I teach my in person Basic Photography Classes, I like to show people my first film camera. I can take it apart and show people the inner workings! Understanding how your camera works and Photography Basics was easier to follow once I understood how all the pieces work together. I'd just ask you to not get too caught up in the numbers. If you're someone like me, who glazes over when I bunch of numbers are thrown at you, try to not hold on to that and just...well, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine or cup of tea and relax. We've got you! The way a photo is created; i.e. the basic mechanics of how a camera works, has changed very little over time. Here’s a rough [...]

5 Reasons to Look at Photographs Daily

We see photos every day.  We actually see too many photos everyday.  So why on earth would more photos help you become a better photographer?  Here are five ways: 1)  It will improve your composition.  If you only look at your own pictures, you won’t be exposed to  different ways of seeing.  While its possible that you will try new things are your own, seeing new compositions and how other photographers approach a subject will help you to get outside of your comfort zone.  Don’t be afraid to copy a style but then put your own spin on it.  Besides, that way when you win that Pulitzer you can say, “I am heavily influenced by…”  and know what you’re talking about. 2) You’ll learn how to break [...]

The Camera is a Tool by Joe Hollins

I’ve been involved in image making of some form or another for the last 19 years.  When I tell people this the most common reaction is to begin to talk about cameras, as in what camera should I get, what’s the best camera out there today, how many mega pixels do I need, etc.  I used to try to answer the question straightforwardly in a way that would satisfy the inquisitor but then I realized that sometimes answering the wrong question is worse than bad advice.  So this is going to be my stock answer from now on.  It depends.  On what?  Ok.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  Not necessarily ranked in order of importance: 1) What size camera will you carry with you frequently?  One thing I forgot [...]