5 Tricks to Help you Better your Photography Skills
Practice Makes…perfect…or if you see the images below…creepy dolls better?
Be Sure to Follow Sixth Bloom
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I think the advice I’ve received most over the past couple of years is to practice, practice, practice. And so, no matter how busy or how slow my business is in a week, I make every effort to pick up my camera every single day, no excuses. If I can, of course it’s better to aim at friends or family (or best yet, my clients!), but in the off-season or slower weeks, there’s always the tried-and-true pet cat or kids’ toy.
2. Find a skill you want to become better at and practice that idea.
Sometimes, I find something while editing a session that bothers me – maybe the focus on a detail shot or a frustrating shadow or white balance. So, I tuck those things away in the back of my mind and play and play and play on my practice days at home.
3. Step outside of your comfort zone.
For me, it’s just as much about stepping outside of my comfort zone as it is perfecting my tried-and-true methods. Even while shooting these Creepy Baby Doll photos, I realized how long it’s been since I shot in Shutter Mode. (I got comfy in Aperture Mode over the winter.)
Some of the things I’ll play with when I have a few minutes and a willing (or inanimate) subject are the basics like ISO and aperture (To Bokeh or Not to Bokeh?), my white balance and exposure compensation.
4. Take a series of shots while practicing.
My sessions are typically a lifestyle-type outdoor session with natural light. I usually stick with the Aperture setting, and ISO that changes depending on a number of factors and my white balance on Shade. I like having the control of my background blur and I like the golden tones I get with those settings – but that’s just my style, you have to know what you want your final cohesive gallery to look like, so what works for me won’t work for you all the time. When you take a series of photos of objects like the Creepy Baby Doll, look them all over and without peeking at your settings, pick your favorite and then look at the info. You might be surprised! (I liked the Shutter Mode, ISO200 and white balance on Shade).
The settings for the series of images below is as follows:
Aperture f/1.8 and my ISO 200
The first image I am FACING the LIGHT.
The second image I am further back and cropped in.
The third image I am shooting from ABOVE.
Fourth image settings are: Aperture f/1.8 and my shutter speed is 1/350. Allowing my exposure to be a bit more over- exposed as well as the aperture allowing the depth and out of focus back ground.
5. Learn your surroundings.
And just as important as it is to know and practice your camera settings, moments like this help you to learn your surroundings, too. We moved to our home just a few months ago and I am still learning the light in all of our rooms and the problems I face photographing my family in our walls. The Creepy Baby Doll photos were taken on our enclosed front porch, with windows behind me and to my right (Baby Doll’s left) at about 4 p.m. I used an 85mm 1.8 on my Nikon D700. To take it a step further, you can also take the same images at different times of the day, or, like I did, rearrange your position a couple of times (looking down at the subject or going to another side). Take your object inside, outside, under a tree, far away, close up, etc, etc.
It’s the same reason why I always view a location before a session, typically at the same time of day as when my shoot is scheduled to begin. Be prepared and practice, practice, practice!
This fifth image I have an aperture f/11 and shaky hands…can you tell? It’s not as sharp and crisp!
Sixth Image settings: S (Shutter priority mode) setting – ISO 200 – f/3.3 – 1/180 – ExpComp +1.0
Seventh Image Settings: S (Shutter Priority Mode) setting – ISO 200 – ExpComp -2.0
Eighth Image Settings: S (Shutter Priority Mode) setting – ISO 200 – f/3.3 – 1/250 – Sunny White Balance
Ninth Image Settings: A (aperture priority mode) setting – ISO 1600 – f/3.3 – 1/3000
Tenth Image Settings: S (shutter priority mode) setting – ISO 200 – f/3.3 – 1/250
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Wendy is a Jersey Girl at heart creating adventures with her hubby and two kids (Zack-4 and Addie-2) in Northeast PA. When she’s not capturing love stories with her Nikon, she’s reading, sipping coffee and attempting new things!