Photo Tips – Photograph your Pets

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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.

GO WITH THE FLOW

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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To Smile, or not to Smile.

My life has been documented relentlessly since I was born.  Sitting on a bookshelf, the blue scrapbooks have multiplied through the years as I have experienced more and more in life. From the big moments: the first day of kindergarten, starting high school, college acceptance letter, my grandma’s last Christmas, and moving to Philadelphia; to the trifling: vacations, school dances, sporting events, family reunions, and day trips; my life is neatly remembered in those growing blue books.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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).
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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.

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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!!!

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Photo Tips- Get to Know Your Camera

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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.

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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.

Cake

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.

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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 – Top Things to Photograph at Christmas

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and it is most often surrounded by traditions and family.  I try every year to come up with a new photo idea, the topics usually remain the same, I just try to find a new perspective when snapping the photos.  Looking at the same things in a new way and capturing that moment to remember for a lifetime.

Favourite Family Tradition

Every year our family visits the Christmas tree lot where we cut our own tree and I take the same photo of the tree falling.  It is nice to look back and see the difference in the size of the children and who is cutting the tree.  It used to be my husband when the children were small and now that Ben is 16 he is doing lots of the work.  I took that same photo this year, but I think my favourite photo from the day was Lauren and Grant grabbing a selfie while Todd and Ben cut the tree.

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Photo Tips – Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas tree lights are one of my favourite things to photograph at Christmastime!  The tree makes a perfect backdrop for holiday photos.  I thought I would share some fun ideas I have tried with my camera settings to get different looks for my photos.

One of the best tricks up my sleeve is a 50mm prime lens.  It gives that beautiful blurred background and the soft bokehs.  Bokehs are the out-of-focus light spots that you can create with your lens by fixating on your main subject.  You can achieve the look with other lens’ and you can work with what you have.  The 50mm just makes you look like an expert photographer!  They are a small investment and wonderful for portrait photos.

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