Digital Photography Tips I (Eliminating Blur)

blurryphoto1 I’ve been teaching photography for several years, and have found that many people have similar issues with their photography when they’re first starting out. Did you know that when a professional photographer has a photo session, there are usually many more bad shots than good ones to a roll of film or memory card? That’s why they take so many! These hints will help you take more good shots for any occasion.

One problem most people deal with is blurring in their pictures, which can ruin a perfectly good shot. How do you know if you’re moving or if the subject was moving? Easy… what’s blurred? If the entire shot is blurred, your hands were moving when you hit the shutter button. You may want to steady your hands against something; for instance, a chair or table. A tripod is always a good idea, and you can pick one up very inexpensively in the camera department of most stores. Just remember, the heavier the tripod, the more steady it will be.

If you find that only one object in your picture is blurred, that means it was moving when you shot the picture. If you just can’t get your subject to stand still (a common trait of pets and children), you may want to adjust your camera to a faster shutter speed. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to adjust your aperature accordingly if you’re on the manual setting, although you can set your camera to adjust itself to your shutter speed by going to the Tv setting. You may also want to use a countdown for your subject to let them know when they’ll need to hold still. For instance, you may want to tell a child to wave their arms now, but you’re going to count to three and they’ll need to hold still. In case this makes the child suddenly look stiff and unnatural, engaging him or her in conversation can lead to more natural poses and expressions.

If your view screen shows that something’s in motion, using these simple tricks can help you avoid blur in your pictures.

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Brooke Pierce is a professional photographer and guest author of Bumblejax

How To Get Those Natural Smiling Photos

Make ‘Em Smile!

smiling photo You’ve seen them… screaming, unhappy children being forced to sit on Santa Claus’ or the Easter Bunny’s lap, the parents convinced that even the look of unrelenting horror on their kids’ faces will make for a fun holiday memory. Luckily, kids don’t often react like that when we’re taking pictures of them elsewhere, when there’s not a big, scary creature in a fuzzy suit looming over them. That’s why getting kids, and adults, to smile in pictures is easier than you may think!

Many people automatically freeze into a “smile” pose when they see a camera come out, making the picture look artificial and uncomfortable. Kids may get that wide, gum-showing grimace that looks like someone just may be poking them in the back with a stick. Believe it or not, the best pictures don’t happen when you say, “Smile!”

The easiest way to get a loose, natural smile on your subject is to make them comfortable. This can include telling them a joke you know they’ll appreciate or even having them do something goofy before you take the shot. Some photographers like to have the entire crowd say something silly or take an “angry” picture first. When they drop the pose, they’re more likely to start laughing. Give them a few seconds to simmer down a tiny bit, and shoot the picture while they still have those signs of happiness in their face, cheeks, and eyes.

The toughest nut to crack can be an angry child who doesn’t want to have his or her picture taken. I have danced. That’s right, I have shaken my booty in front of kids to make them laugh, and it’s worked every time. Sometimes, photographers have no shame if it means they’re going to get a great shot.

When all else fails, engage your subject in a conversation that will bring them to their happy place. If your subject is a teenager, ask them if they saw the latest viral video. If it’s an adult, talk to them about where they’re going on vacation last year. For older subjects, ask about grandchildren and what they’re doing during retirement. Remember, people are always more comfortable having a conversation than being told to yell, “Cheese!”

Once you get a really great shot, everyone is smiling, their eyes are open, there are no bunny ears being given in the background, consider doing something really unique with the picture. Whether it’s your own family or friends, or a client you’re shooting for, consider getting it BumbleJaxed! These little touches will make your pictures stand out from the rest.

Everyone say, “Fromage!”

A Few Tips For A Great Photo Shoot

camerasilhouette As a professional photographer, I know that thinking ahead can lead to better shots. It’s no accident that my lighting is good, the background is beautiful, and my subjects are smiling. With a little bit of pre-planning, more of your pictures can be “wall worthy!”

First, let’s talk about lighting. If you’re shooting outside, keep in mind the time of day. If you shoot in the morning, your shots will have a cooler, bluish tint to them. In the afternoon, the sun will give a warmer, golden tint until evening. While you can adjust color by adjusting your camera settings or even using Photoshop, knowing the conditions before you start can make your pictures better with minimal tweaking.

Pictures that are shot inside must be carefully planned, as well. Remember to stay between your subject and the window, as your flash may have a hard time competing with bright sunlight. You don’t want to end up with just a black outline of a person in front of a big white square! Make sure there is enough light that you can clearly see your subject without the camera, and use the flash if necessary. Most indoor lighting will give your picture a warmer glow, although fluorescent lights will give a greenish tint. Again, you may want to adjust your camera’s settings to compensate for the light’s color. Today’s digital cameras make it easier than ever, because you can always shoot a few shots to see what you’re dealing with before getting down to serious picture taking!

Planning ahead of time where you want to shoot is also a good idea. Have a few ideas about where you want to go and the best way to get there. Kids tend to get cranky if you drag them from park to park without letting them play on the swings! Bring along some candy if necessary, because kids are not above bribery when necessary to get that great smile. With adults, talking about subjects they find interesting can also help make them more comfortable. If you don’t know them very well, have some questions ready to ask once you pull out the camera. You’ll find that a relaxed subject is a happier subject!

Above all, make sure you and your subjects are having a good time. With a little forethought, your shoot will be a success!

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Brooke Pierce is a professional photographer and guest author for BumbleJax.