Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tech Talk Tuesday

First of all, I'm about the least technologically savvy person I know, so it's pretty funny to title this post 'Tech Talk'. Second, this blog is purely my, 'downtime, relax and don't think about winter for a few minutes' diversion, so, when spring comes and I can escape to the great outdoors you will probably never hear from me again....(just kidding... I think!) Third, my photography is a wonderful, artistic hobby for me and my goal is to relax and have fun, because I'll never win any awards with my stuff!

With the above disclaimers out of the way, I'll move on. I get a lot of questions from friends and family about my pictures, i.e. what camera equipment do I use, what settings for a particular shot, (exposure, lens, aperture, etc.), how did I get that effect and so forth. The age of digital cameras has made photographers out of all of us, so I thought it would be fun to have a little photography chat once in a while, but don't worry, nothing toooo technical because I'm not capable of that.

So, ask me questions, either general photography stuff, or about a specific photo, and we'll see where this goes. Either use the comments section of this blog or e-mail me at:

I'll also give my suggestions about how, with a little info, anyone can take much better pictures. (Another disclaimer here: if you are well past Photography 101, or you are happy just snapping a few candids with your iphone, or you just like to look at someone else's pretty pictures, scroll past this post.) Sooooo, here we go with my thoughts for today:

Hummm, I think I'll start by telling you the most important thing you should know if you want to take memorable pictures....... and it may not be what you think. Here is what that thing is not:
It's not perfect exposure
It's not perfect lighting
It's not perfect composition
It's not knowing all the general photography 'rules'
And it's certainly not how much fancy equipment you have!

Here's the thing: .......... Oh, look at the time, I'll have to continue this tomorrow!

(Just kidding!)

To take memorable pictures you have to emotionally 'move' the viewer, (and or you the photographer), in some way. When he or she looks at your image, it must evoke a feeling, a mood, a memory. It must make him or her sad, happy, want to cry, laugh, rage, do something, tell someone, etc. You have to tell a story that will be meaningful to your viewers - of course not all of them, only some of them. (World famous photographers, I think, have learned what types of images and stories will move the greatest number of diverse people.) Do you get the idea? Now, that doesn't mean that all useful and important photography must do this. But for me, the type of pictures I'm talking about are the ones we remember most, (the soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima, the firefighter carrying the dying child after the Oklahoma City bombing). Those two examples create emotion for most all Americans and we all remember them. Our pictures, yours and mine, will probably only create emotions, memories, stories for a smaller circle, but will be relived again and again by those who come after us. And it doesn't have to be like those dramatic examples. If you capture your child with a particular look or behavior that is uniquely theirs and reminds your family of the special times when they use 'that' look, then you have succeeded. So much better than a 'look at the camera and smile' picture. (Although, once again, classic portraits are important, too, and will always be part of one's photograph collection.)

So the bottom line is......if technologically speaking, you do everything wrong when taking a picture, yet still manage to capture the thing, you will have a wonderful photo. But, if you learn some of the camera basics I mentioned above that the thing is not, you will take a wonderful photo and turn it into a memorable one!
Goal: Create story telling photos that family and friends want to look at over and over again because of the memories and feelings they evoke. (In my humble opinion, your photos should be more interesting and creative than the scrapbooking page they are stuck on. Ouch!)

Scroll down to see two simple examples of the thing in the next post, AND REMEMBER TO ASK ME SOME QUESTIONS SO I KNOW WHERE TO GO WITH THIS.


I took lots of classic pix like this one, many they liked and ordered.

But this is the one they really liked, and I think they ordered a 16 x20. It was an accident! I was changing the card in my camera and they were 'taking a break' from the photo shoot. I looked up to see this tender moment and shot......into the sun, sky blown out, not really a silhouette, all orange, lens flare, bad lighting, bad exposure, etc. But for them I must have caught the thing because this was their favorite. Funny, when I was going thru all the shots before giving them the 'proofs' I had taken this out as a total mistake, then for some reason I must have had a glimpse of the thing because I put it back in at the last minute. I even apologized and said it was a bad shot, but they might like it anyway. Like I said, this was their favorite, and it taught me a good lesson.

Scroll down to see another example.

Another Baby!!!!

This was a quick candid at a family party and I just happened to be in the right place with my camera pointing the right direction. Her daddy had just made an announcement to everyone that they were going to have a new baby join the family. I just love, love, love this sweet expression. When I look at this photo I will always remember what happened to create this sweet look of anticipation at hearing such exciting news. Much more of a memory than just a 'smile for the camera' moment.

Comments or questions please....or both!