I am SO super excited for today’s guest post. I recently found out about Katie Dudley when she took Cheri’s pictures on I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar. I am in love with Katie’s style and skill! And she is just as nice as can be. As in, she sounded super excited to post today! When she is the one doing me the huge favor!
After reading her post, she has definitely put a lot of information together for us! I feel it is invaluable information and very comprehensive! Lucky us! Take it away, Katie!
A quick “CLICK” guide to taking better photos
by Katie Dudley (www.katiedudleyphotography.com)
I’m so excited to be sharing some great tips for taking better photos! Today I am only sharing the first step of my “CLICK” guide. If you are interested in learning more about your camera and how to take better photos all the while having someone to “hold your hand” while you practice/learn, sign up for one of my classes in January of 2012. I will be offering one on one mentoring as well as group classes. The classes will be held at my studio in downtown SLC. Please email me at email@example.com to get on my mailing list! Mention that you read A Lemon Squeezy Home to receive $15 off any mentoring or group class! And since the gift giving season is just around the corner, mention A Lemon Squeezy Home when you book a photography session at Katie Dudley Photography and receive $25 off any session package! Woot Woot!!!! (this offer expires February 2012 and cannot be used with any other discount)
OK back to the photography lesson… do you have your camera with you? If you don’t, go and get it. You will learn much better if you have it with you and turn the dials and test out the different modes as you read.
Camera: Get to know your camera.
Do you have a digital SLR?
DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex
Do you have a point and shoot?
What ever camera you have, learn how to use it!
Know your camera: Your camera can do many great things to get your pictures to the next level, you don’t even have to think that much and let it do all the work. (sounds nice huh!) Start by getting to know your Camera Modes. It’s a basic beginning, but it will make a huge difference and will help you capture the image that you want. Once you are familiar, when you are ready to take a picture, you will know what Mode will be best to capture the image that you want.
Another tip I have for those who really want to master their camera, is to keep your camera near by, in fact keep it within an arms length at all times! Be that crazy person who always has their camera around their neck, or at the furthest in their purse. LOOK around you, see the beauty in simple things, take out your camera and practice, practice, practice! Look at the light, think about what kind of image you want to capture, then think about what “mode” you want to use to get that result, test it out and keep trying. Digital cameras are great because you can take an endless amount of photos. Take advantage and take enough bad photos to figure out how to get that one good one. Be patient and don’t get discouraged!
– Tells your camera to use it’s best judgment to select shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focus and flash in order to capture the best images.
– This mode works OK most of the time. But don’t sell yourself short, great photos are just around the corner! Turn the dial and learn your other modes too!
– Your camera will focus on your subject and keep the background out of focus.
– Great for when you photograph a single subject.
– Get in close enough to your subject by zooming in or walking closer.
– Lets you move closer into your subject to take a close up photo.
– Great for shooting small objects like flowers, bugs, jewelry etc.
– Hold your camera very close to your object, be very steady, hold the shutter button (which is the button you push to take the photo) half way down to focus, then shoot!
-The exact opposite of portrait mode!
-The camera will make sure that as much of the scene you’re photographing will be in focus. (this is called a large depth of field.)
-Sometimes a tripod is good to use on this mode to prevent a blurry image.
– Great to photograph moving objects, like kids, sports, cars, pets…
– The camera will attempt to “freeze” the subject.
– Perfect for shooting in low light situations.
– Shots can be more interesting if you play around with this function. You can create blurry backgrounds with the light.
– Or if you’d rather, use the tripod to capture the image to make it as sharp as possible.
Now we will talk about Semi-Automatic Modes
– I love this mode!
– You can choose the aperture and the camera will choose all the other settings to make your photograph complete and balanced.
– What the heck is Aperture?! Aperture controls the depth of field. The depth of field refers to how much of the photo is in focus and how much is blurry.
– Aperture is measured by “f-stops”
– f22 would mean everything is in focus and f1.4 would mean only the subject is in focus and everything in the back is blurred. There are a bunch of “f-stops” in between. Just remember the low numbers 1.4-4.0 means your subject is in focus and background is blurred. Anything higher like f10 and above more of the image will be in focus. You choose what effect you want and the camera figures out the rest. Brilliant huh!
Wait a minute!!! Why won’t my F number go lower than 3.5?!!!
Take a look at the lens you are using for your camera. Try to find the numbers on the lens body. For example, look at the numbers highlighted below. Notice how the one of the left says 1:2.8, that means the f-stop will go all the way down to 2.8, the lens on the right will only go to f-3.5. This is why camera lenses make a huge difference in the quality and flexibility of an image.
If you are looking for a great all around lens that will give you that beautiful bokeh, blurred background, where you can move that f-stop all the way down to 1.8 I would recommend a 50mm.
For around $100 bucks you will be capturing amazing images in no time!
Click on image below to learn more about Nikon 50mm 1.8
Click on image below to learn more about Cannon 50mm 1.8
– You select a shutter speed and the camera chooses all the other settings.
– Have you ever wanted to capture every detail of your kid running down the football field? Use this mode when you want to “freeze” motion. To do this make sure your Shutter speed is high.
– Use when you want to capture movement, like the blur of a waterfall or a speeding train, or to show some blurred movement of your kid’s feet running down the field, set your shutter to a lower number.
For the photo above my shutter speed was up at a higher number, like 1000 to make the camera “freeze” the motion.
– Most cameras have this mode.
– This is very similar to Auto Mode (the very first mode we talked about) but it gives you a little more control over some features like flash, white balance, ISO etc.
– You have FULL control over your camera and need to think about all of the settings: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc.
– This mode gives you flexibility to set up shots how YOU like.
– Practice, practice, practice!
I didn’t go into very much detail on the last two modes, because I feel it’s best to start out with these other more “beginner” modes first. Get comfortable with your camera and gradually make your way to Manual, if that’s your goal.
Your homework for the weekend is to use Aperture Priority, (my fave!). Get outside or inside if it’s too cold. Find a simple object to take a photo of (avoid kids at first… they move too much!) Take a photo of your object and set your camera to the lowest f-stop. This could be 1.8 or 3.5 or 5.6. Get up close and take the photo. Then change your f-stop to a higher number, like f11 and take a picture of the same object. Compare the two and decide which one you like best!
I hope this helps you understand your camera modes better! Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you if you ever have questions!
Oh my goodness, don’t you just feel like you were given a photography course for free? Thank you so much, Katie! I love everything about this post. And did you catch the classes she is offering at a discount to A Lemon Squeezy Home readers!? It would be a dream of mine to have one-on-one instruction! So cool!
I hope you have all enjoyed Photography Week! I know I’ve learned a lot and I’m excited to put my new knowledge to practice! I want to thank all my guests who took their precious time to write up posts for all of us this week. They all did a fantastic job.
And psst…did you know you can get that cute little camera on the photography week button as a necklace from my shop?
And lastly, have a GREAT weekend!