Friday, June 12, 2009

Photography Phriday


Catchy, huh? Even though I love really good portraits with fun clothing and neat surroundings, my favorite photography would have to be shots of everyday life. The desire to take good snapshots was what fueled my original endeavor to learn more about the ins and outs of photography. The photos in this post are merely frozen moments in our life this week.

(100mm lens, shutter speed: 1/1000, aperture: f/2.8, ISO: 200...he thinks he's big stuff)
What mode should I use when shooting? I get this question a lot, and I always give the same answer. First off, the modes of shooting will usually be on the little turn dial on your camera...you know, the letters kind of resembling AV, P, M, auto, perhaps a little object sort of resembling a beautiful tulip, and a crazy little figurine running. My answer to this question: if you are really serious about learning about photography...lighting and what looks best when, where and how and how to get your pictures to look more crisp and yadda yadda yadda, you really really really need to learn how to shoot manually...meaning in the manual mode.

(1oomm lens, 1/1250, f/2.8, iso 200...complete ragamuffins)
When you shoot manually, you are in control of the ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and aperture. You can change these settings with each picture if need be to create the look you are trying to achieve. It is extremely overwhelming at first to start learning to shoot in this setting, but it is very worth it...I assure you. When I syked myself to finally taking the plunge, I vowed that I would leave my camera on manual for 2 weeks and not change to any easier setting, and after the 2 weeks, I could change it back to the easier settings if I needed. I never went back. It was worth it.

I have to mention also that I never use the flash on the camera. Well, I say never, but it does crop up on every Christmas morning and the spare moments like during Nathan's sleep study. But for the most part, I use available light, and mostly natural light because I like the look of it best. It's a personal preference.

(100mm lens, 1/160, f/2.8, iso 250...that lip, it gets me every time)
ISO: When you buy film for film cameras, you can buy them at different speeds (100, 200, 400...1600, etc). This is the ISO...the speed of how fast the film responds to light. Even though digital cameras don't have "film", the ISO setting resembles the film speeds. The lower ISOs are good for sunny conditions or for shots that have plenty of light. The higher ISOs are for low-lit conditions, but they also introduce increased digital noise to the shot the higher the ISO is set.

(100mm lens, 1/160, f/2.8, iso 500...inside with less light, so I had to increase the iso quite a bit in order to keep the shutter speed fast enough. Bear-Bear is the focus of this shot and Emma is slightly out of focus due to the low f-stop number.)
Shutter Speed...shutter speed is merely the speed at which the shutter opens and closes. Essentially, how long it takes to actually take the shot. Some incredibly artistic shots use longer shutter speeds to get their desired effect of movement. With kids, it is imperative to use a very fast shutter speed in order to stop a shot and not get a blurry mess.

(100mm lens, 1/1600, f/2.8, iso 200...a really fast shutter speed was able to catch Emma jumping without anything ending up blurred)
When shooting, my shutter speed normally has precedence to the ISO and aperture. If the s.speed is too slow, the shot can be blurry as a result of camera shake (the shake you make as you take the shot). If this is the case, I usually raise my ISO speed to accomodate a faster shutter speed. Confused yet?

And another little rule of thumb regarding shutter speeds...try not to let you the second number on your shutter speed be less than the mm length of the lens you are currently using. For instance, if you are using a 50mm lens, make sure the shutter speed is faster than 1/50. If you are shooting with a 100mm, the s.speed needs to be faster than 1/100. The reasoning behind this is that the longer the lens, the heavier it is...the heavier it is, the more it is prone to camera shake when shooting. Obviously, this rule of thumb is meaningless if you are using a tripod that keeps the camera steady for you.

(100mm lens, 1/320, f/2.8, iso 320...Emma sniffing the pepper, she's looney fo' shiz, Had to bump up the iso because we were in the kitchen where the lighting is a bit lower.)
Aperture...my favorite! How do you get that blurry background in your shots? Well, my dear Watson, you can thank Mr. Aperture for that fun little technique. Aperture settings can also be referred to as f-stops and usually are listed on lenses as 5.6f, f/2.8f, 1.8f, etc. Aperture is the opening in a lens in which light passes through. The smaller the number, the larger the opening is in the lens...the smaller the number, the more "blurry" the background becomes.

For a majority of my pictures, I shoot at 2.8f...though I will sometimes go as low as 1.8f with some lenses. When shooting a family or group, it is sometimes good to shoot in the higher numbered f-stops...this will reduce the blurry background but also help keep all of the subjects in focus. When you shoot in the lower numbered f-stops, you are able to shoot in higher shutter speeds and lower ISOs...another good thing about using lenses that have the ability to have large maximum apertures.

(100mm lens, 1/1000, f/2.8, iso 200...blurred background due to the aperture setting.)
In upcoming posts in the next few weeks, I hope to talk about focus, composition, and all the editing questions that have been asked. As for these shots, its pretty obvious that the 100mm lens has been stuck to my camera all week, and that I shoot with f/2.8 most all of the time. When you find something that works for you, it is hard to get out of the box sometimes.

(100mm lens, 1/400, f/2.8, iso 320...seriously cute kiddo...seriously!)

13 comments:

Laura on June 13, 2009 at 6:48 AM said...

Amber, I'm so excited about these posts! I'm learning so much. I feel like I'm in class, and I have no doubt I'll be working with my camera this week. Thanks!

Kim on June 13, 2009 at 8:23 AM said...

This is all great stuff, I love this posts! Thanks for sharing Amber!

Anonymous said...

thanks for these posts. Love the pictures.

Love Ya,
Beth

Kayla on June 13, 2009 at 2:36 PM said...

Wow, that last picture of Nathan really looks like you. So cute. Thanks for the info.

Kelle on June 13, 2009 at 11:04 PM said...

Thank-you so much for sharing your photography knowledge. I'm sure I'll be coming back to these posts when I do get a chance to learn on my own SLR.

Blondie on June 14, 2009 at 1:45 PM said...

Aside from the important stuff (which I soooo need to read), that pouty face picture is to die for!!! How sweet is that child!

Bekah on June 14, 2009 at 5:14 PM said...

Thanks so much for these posts! I've been thinking about getting a camera other than just my point-and-shoot digital, but have always been too intimidated by all the settings and numbers. This helps a ton to have your experience laid out and everything written in a language for the "camera impaired".

The Whitsitt Family on June 14, 2009 at 9:47 PM said...

Thanks for this great post. I am eager for your future editing posts. Your BW photos are beautiful. I rented a canon 100mm lens for the week, and I have really enjoyed it. The pictures came out so crisp, something I can't seem to do with my 50mm. The distance allowed me to get some good candid shots of my son. I'm not sure if it will be my next lens, but I enjoyed it for the week!

Amy

Lok on June 14, 2009 at 10:19 PM said...

thank you thank you for the time you're taking to do these posts! You are doing a good explaining some things that I couldn't make sense out of before now. I appreciate this!!!

Heidi on June 14, 2009 at 11:28 PM said...

Thanks Amber for revealing some of your secrets! I hope you continue this thread :)

Lok on June 15, 2009 at 1:56 PM said...

Okay - another question. Why did you use such a fast shutter speed on the picture of the girls where Emma has her arms around Abby, and Abby has her hand on Emma's face..... they look to be mostly standing still and posing for you. Or.... maybe they weren't and that's why you caught that serendipitous shot? Because you used a fast shutter speed?

Owl of the Desert on June 15, 2009 at 6:03 PM said...

Great post! Thank you so much for sharing. I've had a Nikon D50 for 3 years now, and learned more in this one post than any other classes I've taken. I haven't been brave enough to make the switch to soley manual, but I may try it very soon!

Ginger on June 18, 2009 at 11:48 PM said...

Great little lession there! Oh I remember when you tried Manual for the first time!! Now look at you go! You are awesome Amber!!

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