Learning Photography

What Prime lens should I buy? 35mm or 50mm

      (above shot was taken with a 50mm at f1.8) Here’s a question that I got from Stacie who recently attended our class and has now been bit by the camera bug big time!  Makes me so happy! We talk about the advantages of Prime lenses in our class so she asked me about which one to buy.  I thought it might be helpful for more people so I asked if I could answer her online in case others might find my answer useful. “I'm stuck deciding between two lenses and was wondering if you could give me a push in one direction or the other.  As a refresher - we have a Nikon D3000 with the stock 18-55 lens as well as a 55-200.  In [...]

Top 5 Essential Gear for Amateur Photographers

Camera I often get asked about what camera to buy.  The good news is that there are so many great options out there!  With so many options I know that can make the decision harder but I just want to say that if you don’t have one of the two that I’m about to list, don’t think that it means that you have a bad camera.  Just figure out what your camera can do before you give up on it.  I've had lots of people through my Photography classes who thought they had a bad camera until they started realized all the stuff it could do. The big advantage to owning a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera is the ability to switch out the lenses.  This allows a [...]

Take your portraits to the next level with a reflector

One of the things I appreciate about Portraiture is that it forces you to be aware of light in a way that I think other types of photography don’t.  I have learned a lot about how light behaves through Portraiture, how it play across a face or lingers in someone’s eyes.  One of my biggest a-ha moments was when I started using a reflector to bounce light back into faces or add highlights to eyes. Camera gear is often not cheap but the great thing about reflectors is they are pretty inexpensive!  Not only that, you don’t have to buy the official “reflectors” to bounce light.  A cheap piece of foam core will do the trick or even the side of a building that is bouncing light can [...]

5 Photo Tips that I wish I would have know when I first got my DSLR

1. How to control my focus. It’s such an easy fix in your camera but I didn’t know I could even fix it.  I used to just continually hit the shutter button halfway until my camera picked what I wanted it to pick.  If my subject was off to the side, forget about it! (When shooting portraits, I’m always aiming my focus point on the eyes.  If the eyes aren’t in focus, the photo looks out of focus even if part of it is in focus.  Our eyes are always drawn to the eyes.) 2. How much fun it is to shoot slow shutter speeds. I hated the hassle of a tripod so I just ignored that capability in my camera.  Once I figured out all the cool [...]

How to get that shot! – Giant Bubbles – Photography Tips

A question often asked in my classes is how to get shots of busy kids. "They're always blurry or turn their heads as soon as I pull out my camera!" Super common! One of my favorite photography tips to combat this is to give the kids something to do or engage with. Then while they play, you can play! Here are some resent shots I took of my cousin's boys while they were making giant bubbles.         In all these shots I'm using fast shutter speeds from 1/6400 to 1/1250.  I was able to achieve these high shutter speeds because I had plenty of light and I picked bigger apertures of f/2.8 to f/3.5.  I did have a low ISO of 200 so if I [...]

Daily Photo Diet & Flickr

In my classes, I encourage people to start looking at photos that others have taken and start to learn by observing what people shot and how they get the image. Flickr is one of the best resources I know for this because you get to see the metedata of each shot like what camera they were using, lens and camera settings. So not only do you get to see some beautiful photography, you get to see how they got that shot! When I was first learning about my camera and all it could do, looking at photos every morning over coffee was an invaluable exercise. Here is a shot that I took that I pulled off Flickr so you can see where the settings are.  Selecting the info [...]

The Diopter

Have you ever been in a situation where you look through your view finder and it is a little cloudy or blurry, but your images are all turning out in focus? Well what could be happening is that your "Diopter" got bumped and caused your view finder to go out of focus. The Diopter is next to the view finder and is used to adjust the view finder to your eyesight. For Canon it is a little dial and for Nikon it is a Slider next to the view finder. Check out Christiana's tip on adjusting the Diopter in the video below.

Learning Photography through Photo Collecting

If you don’t know where to start or what to start shooting, here’s my advice – just do it!  I know, not super helpful.  Once again, practice is key to learning digital photography! This learning photography through photo collecting is a great exercise that can help you get started. One thing that helps me in this area and has stretched my creativity is to have a photo collection.  I love bicycles!  When I started photographing them I suddenly saw them everywhere and started adding to my collection.  I hardly realized that I was practicing! :) During this time we were fortunate enough to be living in Dublin and were able to easily travel to Paris! I loved walking down the side streets and seeing all of the old [...]