Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Why You Should Learn to Shoot in Manual

Friday, June 1st, 2012

This post is directed at you bloggers/non-bloggers/budding wannabe photographers/non-wannabe photographers just people who just want to learn how to take better pictures with your DSLR camera or people who own a DSLR camera but don’t know how to use it.  Raise your hand if that’s you. 

Well guess what, that last one was me two years ago too!  I had owned a Nikon DSLR camera for a few years but didn’t know how to use it other than setting it on the automatic functions (seen below) and I lived in the automatic zone pretty happily for several years.  

automatic modes nikon

 

Then I became one of those ‘I just want to learn how to change the settings myself’  people because I wanted to be better at taking interior shots or project images for my personal life and also for the blog.  I read my manual and there was that one fateful day switched my camera to “M” – it was there I applied what I learned and taught myself a few things about shooting better interior photos and it’s true, there was a “lightbulb moment” and I’ve been shooting in manual mode ever since.   

Good news!  Even better than your wordy manual, there is an easily digestible and understandable source of information about shooting in manual mode that anyone can absorb and understand, whether you own a Canon or Nikon.  Do you want that “lightbulb moment” too?  Do you want to push your photography to the next level?  Do you want to finally learn to shoot in manual mode?   Yes?  Yes?  Amen! 

If you’re familiar with The Lettered Cottage then you know Kevin and Josh have launched Shoot Fly Shoot, an online tutorial site dedicated to breaking down the concepts of shooting in manual mode into digestible videos per topic (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, lenses, etc).  Together in their everyday voices, they coach you through the basics from how  to change the aperture, how  to adjust the shutter speed, and how  to set the ISO, etc.  If you spend the time to watch them do it, you can do it too, promise!

Want to take better interior shots?  Learn why you need to dial up the numerical aperture setting for greater depth of field, and why using a tripod allows you to dial down the shutter speed to better capture interiors. 

centsational girl tufted sofa

 

Here’s Kevin changing the aperture and shutter speed for you – coaching viewers on the better settings for shooting interiors.

kevin how to shoot interiors

 

Want to shoot landscape or outdoor scenes?   Learn how to quickly change the shutter speed to capture outdoor settings in filtered sunlight. 

grapes in bin outdoors cg

 

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Tips for Magazine Quality Photography

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Hello all, thanks for the kind comments on this morning’s post on better home photography!  I have a great guest today, one I’ve had the pleasure to work with and observe create magic in front of and behind the lens.

Please welcome back Matthew Mead, the incredible stylist, writer, author, and photographer behind Holiday Magazine.  I invited him to share a few of his best tips for improving your photography, especially those detailed close ups he’s so brilliant at, and that desirable bokeh backdrop created with twinkle lights that we all love so much during the holidays. 

* * *

”When it comes to taking beautiful images with your camera it truly is a “practice makes perfect” proposition.  But there certainly are some tricks of the trade that I have found repeatedly useful in photographing food and still life imagery.

tips for magazine quality photography

I own a Canon Rebel XTI camera which is truly my right arm when it comes to my work.  I have several different lens which I use for things like room shots and up close imagery like miniature items or tight details but the magic for me resides in the 50 mm 1.4 lens.  This lens allows me to select a sharp focal point with everything else in the frame falling off softly in a very palatable “out of focus” style.  I use multiple F-stops between 1.4 and 3.0 in order to achieve the desired degree of focus depending on the subject.

To begin, set your camera to manual. This will give you the most control over the image and allow you to manipulate the light to the best possible outcome.  I am a huge fan of auto focus and find it most helpful when shooting food to allow me to work quickly and select multiple focal points in just a few minutes.  The benefit of a manual shot also allows you to shoot RAW files which are the largest format file that you can create and will allow you the ability to manipulate your image in many different types of photo programs.

I shoot all daylight imagery so make sure you set yourself up in a situation that allows for plenty of light.  A shear curtain or “scrim” is useful in cutting the light if it’s too bright or harsh.  Remember that subjects that are light or white are best on the opposite side of the light source as they will become over lit or “blow out” in too much light.

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