My client Tonya operates a really cool vintage furniture refinishing business, Happily Ever After Hand Painted Furniture. This week, I was over at her place taking photos of her new in house showroom, which is a currently stocked with vintage French Provincial and Colonial style furniture done in black and white Shabby Chic style.
Tonya markets a lot of her work on Craigslist, and usually takes photos of stuff by herself, but right now was a perfect time to get some shots of her showroom, and some new photographs to update the main visual features of her website.
Now, this is the first time in a long time I’ve shot in jpeg format, rather than in RAW. Tonya wanted the photos immediately on her computer for marketing use, rather than me take them home, edit and bring her a disk. These photos are all shot with bounce flash from a 430 EX Speedlight, and then edited in iPhoto on location (actually, on my client’s computer!). The walls were green- and the resulting photos were tinged but I was able to correct the White Balance in iPhoto pretty well. iPhoto really is a neat program, and so user friendly that when I got home, I just had to take these photos a little further and play around with the fun and fast ways you can alter images in the program.
PS. I really love iPhoto’s “Fade” feature, but I do find the sepia tone to be a little yellow. But- photography is always in the eye of the beholder!
I’m finding myself referring people all the time to Photoexpress for their $25 intro to digital photography classes… but they are known to have a wait list. So, how about a quick guide to getting out of automatic mode, and into Manual?
There is so much more you can do when you stop letting your camera make all the decisions for you.
First things first, you’ve got to turn that dial to M. Don’t worry about all the other dials for now, your first step is just to get aqainted with controlling the exposure on your own in manual mode.
The next thing I advise you to do is to make sure your Auto Focus (AF) is set to one shot, and then read your camera manual and figure out how to set your AF point (the point where your camera will find focus) to the center. This means that whatever you point at, the camera will find focus in the center of the image (center of your viewfinder). If the center is not where you want your focus to be, you simply move your camera position to where your subject is in the center, press the shutter release half -way until the focus is set , and hold it while you recompose the shot to take your photo. So, if your trying to take a portrait , make sure the eyes are in the center of the image, focus and hold that focus until you’ve recomposed your shot to where you want it to be (because good portraits have the eyes in focus) . This alone will be so freeing!
Now, back to exposure. Your photo is not going to work if you don’t get the exposure correct. You know your exposure is correct when the meter you see in the view finder of your camera is position in the center. This is how we get there.
Exposure is controlled by 3 main things:
Shutter Speed: That’s the fraction number 1/250 etc… shutter speed should always be twice the length of focus or your hands will create camera shake. And most people cannot hand hold at less than 1/60. If your shooting with a 18-55 ish Kit Lens, your shutter speed needs to be between 1/60- 1/100 at MINIMUM. Choosing your shutter speed will be based weather or not your subject is moving, and what your other settings will be. Fast moving objects require fast shutter speeds if you want them to be clear.
Aperture: That’s the F Number. Aperture controls light and depth of field. But let’s keep this simple. The higher the number, the less light and the more overall focus your photo will have. The lower the number, the more light and the less areas of focus your camera will have. If you want to create those lovely softly focused pictures, you want a lower number. If you want to take a photo of a landscape where everything needs to be in focus, you want a higher number.
ISO: That’s what used to be known as film speed. It ranges from 100- 1600, or higher. In your consumer or prosumer camera, 1600 is about the highest you can go before your images get noisy and grainy.
despite a bright, sunny day, shooting action like this requires higher ISO’s to allow for higher shutter speed in order to freeze the action.
Ok, so how to put all this together? It’s matter of deciding what the conditions are. If it’s a bright, sunny day, your probably going to want to set your ISO to 100, adjust your aperature to the look your trying to acheive (and maybe even blog more light with a higher number if it’s really bright outside), and then play with your shutterspeed until you get your meter centered.
Meter Centered? Yep, that’s right. When you look through your camera viewfinder, you’ll see a “meter” and if you play with rolling dial in Manual mode you will be controlling shutter speed and moving a meter back and forth. For proper exposure, you want that meter to be centered.
Ok, so what if it’s not a bright sunny day? What if your shooting action shots and need a high shutter speed? Simple, turn your ISO up, set your aperature, and then meter. What about if your indoors? Crank up your ISO, lower your aperature and try metering. If you can’t get your meter in the middle then your going to need to think about flash… and that’s a whole other blog topic.
As part of ongoing photography skills practice, I spent a couple of hours at this past weekend’s Mission Horse Club horse show.
Photographing horses at horse shows seems like an easy task, but in order to produce quality pictures for exhibitors MANY things need to be taken into consideration. It’s shockingly similar to the same type of multitasking that is required when you are actually riding a horse!
To get those great shots, you have to keep in mind the background of your shot, the passing of other horses through your viewfinder and the actually moment you want to capture in your frame. That doesn’t include the many possibilities of expression that may or may not be on the rider’s face!
Each gait has that magic moment that photographs so well and shows the best qualities of horse and rider, and each gait has another moment in time time that, is well- not so magic. Capturing that sharp, perfect moment is the ultimate goal.
Let’s have a look through those gaits I’m talking about.
When the judge calls for the walk, things are quieter in the arena and for the photographer. The goal here is to make walk photos more interesting. This shot was taken out of the corner, and the shape of the horse is pleasing despite the lack of action. I’m happy with this shot, the horse’s coloring is dramatic and I used lens vignetting in Photoshop to pull focus from the not so great background.
Here is that moment in time I was talking about at the trot. The horse is fully extended, the rider has her but firmly planted in the saddle.
For me, this is the ultimate moment at the canter. The horse is rocked back on it’s hindquarters, ready to strike down with the one front foot. This photo could have been framed better, I’ve accidentally cut off the bottoms of the horse’s feet. But overall, I’m happy with this shot, both rider and horse look good.
Now, not every shot I took this weekend was great, but a little help from Photoshop and some image combining, I’ve created this little piece of digital artwork on a whim. It was created by blending in a retro sky background, adjusting some of the color curves and using a painting filter to create a painted look to the horse and rider’s boot.
Today I started work on my projects for Maple Ridge Country Fest. They’ve got a great art, photography and scrapbooking component to their show- and lucky for me, I still qualify.
Searching through my photograph files on my computer, I came across this one, shot in Maple Ridge just off 256th, north of Dewdney Trunk Rd.
It’s not the most fabulous of photos, but since I absolutely love old barns, I wanted to take this plain jane photo and turn it into something special. The first and most obvious problem is the boring backdrop behind this barn, which I decided to replace with the trees in this photo taken in Allco Park.
I’ve been hard at work on a baby shower gift- for the lucky owners of a brand new four legged baby.
Rigamarole Ranch of Mission, B.C welcomed their first ever warmblood foal, and I’ve been busy putting together memories and marketing materials for them.
The footage for this short video was shot 10 hrs after the foal was born, on my Canon T2i. The lighting was very low, but the camera performed and I was able to produce this keepsake video for the new “parents”
I returned just over a week later to photograph mom and baby outside.
Lastly, I created a marketing image for this little equine
Rigamarole Ranch is now set up to market this foal online, and in print- however, I think they are absolutely in love with her and plan to keep her!