Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun With Photography: Tips and Tutorials

Now that I've discussed my camera and equipment, I thought it was time to give you guys a few tips (that you may or may not know) and some links to some great sites for photography tutorials.

Tip Number 1:
Ask lots of questions. Find a photographer who's work you love, either in real life, on a blog or on Flickr. Ask them questions about what equipment they use, what tips they have for photography in general and how they produce some of their shots. I know there are some people out there that don't like to share all their secrets, but I've found most photographers like to talk about their work and how they acheived their shots.

Tip Number 2:
Don't shoot in auto mode. Seriously, put your camera on another mode, like Program mode (P on Canon), Aperture Priority mode (Av on Canon), Shutter Priorty mode (Tv on Canon). More on these modes later.

Tip Number 3:
Don't use your flash. Just don't. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've used flash in the last year. Mostly those happen to be inside candid shots that I'm not trying to really get a fantastic picture. I hate looking at pictures that someone has used flash in. It really takes away from the picture, especially if the picture is of people. If I'm taking pictures inside I try to use my 50mm, just because it lets lots of light in and I don't need to use a flash.

Tip Number 4:
Practice. A lot. I recommend doing something like a 365 or 52 project to help you practice. That means you're either taking a picture a day or a picture a week and if you try different things with your camera, then you're going to get better. Get out there and shoot. Sometimes I take pictures of my dog, what I'm eating for dinner or myself. It's just fun and it makes for better photography.

Tip Number 5:
Educate yourself. If I had the chance, I'd take a photography class, but I haven't had that option to date. If you can't get to a photography class like myself, there are tons of online workshops from some great photographers and usually there are all different price ranges and it can help your skills. Also check out photography blogs and digital photography forums. I'm going to list some of my favorite websites below.

Digital Photography School ForumsThis site has tons of great tutorials for all kinds of photography (portrait, landscape, etc) and the forums are invaluable. I often use the forums for questions I have or to get critiques on my photography. Sometimes the feedback I get really helps.

Adventures of an American MumSeveral years ago Rachel did a series of tutorials called "Get Your Click On". She covers things like aperture, shutter speed, ect and explains it way better than I ever could. I have several of her posts bookmarked and refer often to them. She's super talented and I believe is a contributor at I Heart Faces.

The Pioneer WomanI'm sure many of you are familiar with the Pioneer Woman, but aside from cooking she also has some great tutorials on her blog. Check out the Photography Section of her blog!

MCP ActionsI used this blog for my newborn shoot because there were some great, in-depth tutorials on that subject. There are also other tutorials about other sorts of landscape and portrait subjects, as well as Photoshop and Photoshop Elements Tutorials.

The CoffeeShop Blog
Rita is a very-talented and very generous maker of actions for all Adobe editing programs. She also has great tutorials and links to other great blogs. All of her actions are FREE and I use them a ton when I edit my pictures.

These are just a handful of the photography blogs that I frequent, there are many, many others out there and they all are helpful in their own way. If you have any suggestions of other photography blogs that we should check out, feel free to leave it in the comments. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me!


Mowenackie said...

I hate flash pictures, too! I have never, EVER been able to take a good flash picture, so my camera is always on forced flash OFF. I think I took a photography class for the sole purpose of learning how to take low light pictures without flash. Now I just need to practice. Thanks for the tips!

d.a.r. said...

Oh man, the flash just kills kills kills a picture! I am trying to find a photog class that works with my schedule.

Dana said...

Great list of tips, Melissa. I would just add the need to learn to embrace natural lighting. Know the light source. Use it.

localchika2 said...

Wonderful! Italy must be so awesome!! We hope to be able to go there some day too. I'm so happy to meet you!

A Soldier Girl said...

This is so true and we tell the girls that over here in our PHotographer group we created on FB. There are so many people that are buying cameras because they think they take "nice pictures" instead of realizing umm you need to learn how to work that mug girl. LOL.

Love this post and your blog ..