Monday, January 12, 2009

Makeover Monday: Photography 101

One of my goals for my blog is to improve my photographs. Sometimes, like with my Spiritual Sundays post yesterday, that means borrowing from other sites. However, I enjoy photography and I would love to be able to take my own photos that are visually pleasing as well. So over the weekend I spent some time playing with my digital camera, which is a Canon PowerShot. I also read up on aperture and shutter speed, and while I still have a lot of experimenting to do, I think I'm getting better. I used my dog Buck as a subject, mostly because he actually stays put (unlike my children!), not to mention he's kind of cute when he sleeps. :-)

This is a photo of Buck using the Auto setting on my camera (the camera sets the focus, flash, etc.):

And this is a photo of Buck using the manual settings on the camera:

My main goal is to achieve the look where my subject is in focus and my background is blurred. I haven't quite gotten the level of "blurriness" (is that a word?) that I want, but I'm getting closer. I also discovered that another way to achieve that effect is by using the Portrait setting on the camera. 

Here is another close-up shot of my CTR (Choose The Right) ring that I did for practice:

Like I said, still a long way to go, but hopefully over time I will get more adept with my camera and be able to take more beautiful shots. 

How are you with your photography? Have any pointers for me? Leave a comment! I need all the help I can get!


  1. The blur you refer to is called brokeh. When you have a wide aperature you will have a lot more brokeh. When you have a wide aperature you'll need more light than if you had a smaller one. I don't know if you have an aperature mode on your camera, but portait setting will do it for you. You could probably get the same effect by using your built in zoom. Aperature setting is usually written f/2.5 or referred to as f stop.

    As for other tips, I love to use natural light as my light source. Generally if you shoot into light it will make your subject dark, but having the light to the side often results in very interesting shadows. Just don't shoot in direct light, diffused light is best.

    Also get creative with angles and perspective when you shoot. Don't be afraid to lay on the floor to get that shot of Buck. Don't feel you have to have the shot straight either. Sometimes shooting at a strange angle makes the shot fun or exciting. Its a lot of experimenting. Good Luck!

  2. Randi, thanks so much for the pointers! Yeah, I played with the f-stop quite a bit, and I was a little frustrated that in manual mode my camera wouldn't let me go any lower than 2.5- any idea why that is?

    I appreciate the tips on the lighting- that's something that I always forget to pay attention to. Maybe I'll play around with that some more... :-)

  3. f/2.5 is probably the lowest that your camera's lens will allow. I have a DSLR (has removable lenses) and my primary all purpose lens will not go any wider than f/2.5 either.

    You might also try a macro setting on your camera. On mine it looks like a flower.

    Another rule that I forgot to add is the rule of thirds. If you draw a grid dividing a photo into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, where the lines intersect is usually the best place for your subject. I'm sure I'm not explaining that very well.

    Flickr is also a great resource. There are several groups for beginner photoraphers that are interesting in going beyond regular snapshots.

    Hope this helps. :)


Comments make me happy. Nice to know I'm not just sitting here talking to myself. So, thank you!

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