Photo Tips – Photograph your Pets


Our pets are important members of our family and photos of them are always treasured.  It can be fun taking photos of our pets, but also frustrating!  Just like children they don’t always do what we want them to, when we want them to.  I have come up with a few tips that you may find helpful.


Just relax and have fun with your pet and try not to get stressed when you want that perfect photo.  If you are feeling stressed they will feel it.  Patience is the best  quality to have and treats too!

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Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

My Mom is the centre of our family and we all love to spend time with her, whether it be a special dinner, shopping, cottage time, travel, out to dinner, a walk and or just having a cup of coffee together.  She treasures each and every one of her grandchildren as they treasure her.  Mother’s Day is a day to make her feel as special as she does with all of us.

I try to take as many photos of my children and my brother’s children with her as these will always be treasured memories.  Not just on Mother’s Day is it important to snap those photos, but all through the year.

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Photo Tips – Shutter Speed/Time

How fast do I want to snap this photo?  That is the question you should ask yourself when you are setting your shutter speed in manual mode.  How much natural light is available when you are taking the photo has a direct relationship to how fast you want to snap the photo.  So if you are in low light you will need to hold your shutter open longer and if it is a bright situation you will need it to open and close quickly.


Shutter Speed = Time

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Photo Tips – Aperture/F-stop

Ready to learn about aperture/F-stop? I am going to share a few tips with you about how to get started setting your aperture.

The first step is to decide what you are trying to achieve from the photo you want to take, blurred background, everything in focus, stop action, blurred action. If you are trying to blur your background or keep everything in focus it is your aperture you are going to set first. When beginning it is a good idea to go 50 percent manual and you do this by using the A(Nikon) or AV(Canon) mode found on the dial on the top of your camera. In this mode you set the f-stop and the camera chooses the correct shutter speed to balance the light meter in your camera.

untitled-5438I shoot with Nikon so my dial has M, A, S, P.

So a refresher on f-stop or aperture…

Aperture is the size of the opening of your shutter and the f-stop is the actual number related to the size. These numbers make no sense and we just have to accept them them as they are and memorize them.

  • smaller the number – larger the opening
  • larger the number – smaller the opening
  • each f-stop is twice as big or twice as small as the f-stop next to it.
  • And just to confuse you a little more there are smaller stops or clicks in between the full stops. These are often referred to as half stops. ex. 2.8, 4, 5.6 are the full stops and there are two numbers between the larger ones 2.8, 3.2, 3.4, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.6.  

Some of you may know which button or dial changes your f-stop, but if you don’t please refer to your trusty manual which came with your camera or can sometimes be found online.


The dial located just above the red line is my f-stop control.

The size of the opening of the shutter controls how much will be in focus on your photo. Small number(large opening), only the subject will be in focus and large number(small opening), everything near and far will be in focus.

In this example the f-stop was a small number(large opening) and the DOF is shallow meaning that only the 1st car is in focus.

untitled-1338.jpgThe f-stop is a high number in this example which means a small opening and the DOF is deep meaning many of the cars are in focus.

Depth of Field

Depth of field (DOF) is another term that you will here when determining your f-stop. DOF is the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that give an image judged to be in focus in a camera. So if you are taking photos of multiple objects in the same frame and they are different distances in the camera you will need to adjust your f-stop to achieve the look you want. If you want all in focus you will need to have a small opening on your shutter which means a large number.


Another example of DOF – The candy that is close is in focus and further away is blurry and you achieve this by using a small  f-stop  (large opening).

The candy in this case is all equal distance from the camera therefore everything is in focus.  The f-stop could be small or large, the placement of the subject is what determines the DOF.


In this photo I had a low f-stop(large opening) so only my parents were in focus and put the rest of the family out of focus.

Not only does the f-stop control the depth of field (DOF), but it also controls the brightness of the photo. Small number lets in lots of light and large number lets in less light. This of course is all dependant on the shutter speed and ISO as the three of them work together to create beautiful light in your photos.

Practice, Practice, Practice!!!


Photo Tips- Get to Know Your Camera


Would you like to get your camera off the automatic settings and take control of your camera?  I am going to teach you about the different features that are available on most DSLR cameras (digital single-lens reflex) in this post and then I will do a more detailed post on some of the most important components of manual photography.  The first step is to go to the dial on the top of your camera and turn the dial to “M” and away from the “Auto” or the green box option. 

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Photo Tips Using Your Cell Phone

I have to say I love my “big” cameras and I have bought camera bags that look like purses so that I can have my big camera with me when I am out and about, but I LOVE the convenience of always having a camera with me on my iphone when it is not convenient to bring my big cameras.


Manufacturers are making them better and better with each new model.  For the majority of the population, phone cameras work perfectly for their photo needs on a day to day basis.  You can take some pretty awesome photos with your phone!


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Photography Tip – Birthday Photos

What do you photograph at birthdays?  I wanted to share a few of the things that I like to photograph on that special day in our home.


Do you buy a cake or make a cake for the birthday person?  Is there a family favourite that you always make or buy?  Is there a theme cake?  I always try to take a photo of the cake so we can look back each year to see what creation I have come up with.


Grant’s Car Crash Cake was perfect for his 11th birthday!  He loves anything to do with cars and racing so he loved his cake!

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Photo Tips -Winter

Keep Warm

Dress in layers when heading out to do winter photos and don’t forget your gloves instead of mittens!  Also, protect your camera from the winter elements by climatizing it to the cold slowly.  Put your camera in your camera bag and put near the front door or in a porch that is colder than the rest of your house, then move your camera bag to the car so it is isn’t directly exposed to the cold, but it is definitely getting colder.  This prevents your camera from fogging up when you take it out to start shooting.  It is now time to take your camera out into the cold.  If it is snowing cover up your camera with a clear plastic bag to protect it from the wet and cut a hole for the lens to fit through.  Once your camera is cold you want to avoid getting it warm and then cold again because your lens will fog up similar to your eyeglasses.  Also, the condensation is not good for your camera.

Having an extra battery is a good idea.  Your camera battery won’t last as long in the cold so have a back up one in your pocket where it is warm.

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Photo Tips – Night Photography

Snapping photos at night can be challenging and rewarding!  There are so many fun things hiding in the dark to capture – the moon, stars, shadows, lights, reflections ….  I find working in manual mode has made the biggest difference in success for me with my photos in the dark!  This post may get a little techie, but I will try to keep it simple and easy to understand.  There is a lot of trial and error that goes on with night time photography and digital is so fantastic for learning and experimenting.

Christmas Lights

I like to capture the lights on our home at Christmas time, especially after a fresh snow.


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Photo Tips – Sports Photography

Do you have an athlete in your house?  Do you struggle with sports photography?  I have hockey players, baseball players, golfers and hockey referees in my house so I have a few different sports to capture memories of in different seasons.   Each sport is a little different to photograph.  Let me share what I have learned through the years and seasons.

Get In Close

One thing I have learned is to get in close to capture the athlete.   Sometimes it is difficult to zoom in on your camera when the action is occurring because you can’t always anticipate where the action will be.  I take a wide angle photo and then zoom in on my computer.  This sometimes creates a lower quality photo, but I think it is okay for sports photos to be a bit edgy or grainy.

Kept my lens on wide angle to capture any action that may occur on the infield.
Cropped in on the pitcher once I got it to my computer.


It is always a bonus when you can capture facial expressions as well by zooming in on your subject.

Action Shots

It is always important to get the athlete in action!  Athletes LOVE to see themselves in photos competing in the sport they are passionate about.  untitled-4946untitled-4925untitled-2183untitled-2098untitled-3474untitled-1712untitled-4712untitled-3447

When shooting action shots it is nice when you can get the ball or puck in the photo as well.  This gives your photos action or movement when the blur of the ball is in the photo.


Athletes are most proud of themselves in their uniform when they are representing a team or school.  A posed photo is sometimes the way to go for this type of photo.



Golfers don’t really have a uniform, but golf does have a very specific dress code.
Ben loves to get dressed for golf and having everything match is very important to him.  He is also very proud of being a Junior member at Ashburn.  Grabbing a shot of him sporting one of his favourite golf shirts is a must!


The posed photo is always nice to have to display or give as gifts.

I love the photos taken from behind as well to show their jersey numbers and their name that they wear so proudly.

Fencing, Netting and Glass

These obstacles can all be a challenge when photographing sports.  I love when I get to a ball field and there is a low spot on the fence where I can get my camera above the chain link fencing.  Our home hockey rink has a spot where there is no glass by the penalty box so I usually park myself there for a bit to grab some clear photos.  Then there is the danger of me or my camera getting hit so I really have to be paying attention to the play and what is happening behind the play.  Recently I was photographing a ball tournament and I went inside the fence for a little bit and I got some great photos!

This is one of the photos I got inside the fence and then once a foul ball came my way I was outta there!
This photo was taken on the outside of the fencing and the links are visible because I backed away from the fence a bit and I wasn’t zoomed in.  Taken at 35mm.
Not zoomed in either but I got closer to the fence and placed my lens in the one of the diamonds of the fencing.  Taken at 42mm.
In this example I zoomed in to 130mm and I got close to the fence and placed my lens within one of the diamond openings of the fence.
Then there are the times that you have no choice to grab the photo when you can. Better to capture the celebration even if it is through the netting.
This one was taken through glass and the secret to not getting a bounce back reflection is to place your camera directly on the glass.  I usually have a scarf on when I visit the rink so I will polish the glass off with it where I am going to be shooting.
I love when I get a nice clear shot, not through the glass or netting!


Getting those exciting celebration photos are so important to the athlete.  My word of advice is to  have your camera set on a fast speed (multiple frames per second) and hold the shutter button down.  All of those happy moments need to be captured!


And you want to make sure you capture those classy and memorable moments when the winning team invites the 2nd place team into the photo.


The medal photo is an important one to capture too!

Getting a photo of the trophy and it is a bonus when you get the coach in the photo as well!

Friends and Family Moments

Capturing those moments spent with friends, coaches, family, family as coaches are so important in sports.  I only want my children to do their very best, make good and lasting relationships and play fair.  It is fun to win but learning to lose is important as well and doing both graciously is most important.


Memorable Moments

Sometimes quality has to be sacrificed to capture a special, once in a lifetime moment.


My husband is a hockey referee and this was a special game for him as he was refereeing his 500th game in the major junior hockey league.   It took him 20 years to get there so this needed to be documented with some photos.  I was quite high up in the stands, so everything was going against me for great photos.  Hockey rinks are one of the  most difficult places to get clear photos.  You need to turn your ISO up high to let enough light in, keep your shutter speed quite fast – 400 is a good place – to freeze the action and put it on the lowest f-stop your camera will allow.  You most often are going to get grainy or noisy photos, but don’t let this stop you, capture the memories!

Black and White

Black and white edgy sports photos are also so fun to capture.  I always take my photos in colour  and then play around in my editing program until I get something I like.  Here are few of my favourites.

The last thing I am going to share is SHARE YOUR PHOTOS!  I love to share my photos with my children’s friends and their parents.  If you have captured a special moment for another athlete share that photo with them.  It will make you feel good and they will treasure that memory!

Game on!