Top 10 Tips for Good Family Photos

Want to be a better photographer? You came to the right place. This article is intended for the amateur photographer who is the owner of a new camera and simply wants to improve taking photos of their family without necessarily wanting to become a professional. It is easy to take good photos whether you are using the camera from your phone, a point & shoot camera, or a camera with an interchangeable lens. The tips below will help you become a better family photographer and give you a better understanding of what the professionals look for and do when taking photos. Continue reading Top 10 Tips for Good Family Photos

12 Best Photos of 2012

2012 started with my purchase of a Fuji X100 camera to elevate my skill in photography. I chose the Fuji X100 because it has a 1.5x crop sensor in the body of a mid-sized point & shoot camera. I didn’t think that this camera would take over the full-time duty of my Nikon Digital SLR (DSLR), but it did.

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Third-Party Upstart NP-95 Battery Review from eBay for Fuji X100

The NP-95 battery for the Fuji X100 is good for about 200-300 photos depending on whether you use the LCD or chimp your photos frequently by previewing the LCD. Those who utilize all the power-saving options and stay away from the LCD might be able to push 500 photos under ideal conditions. Therefore, a spare battery for the Fuji X100 is a must-have, but paying almost 10% of the price of the camera ($90) for an FujiFilm OEM NP-95 battery is not reasonable for me.

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Portrait Posing and Lighting with Bambi Cantrell

This past weekend, Bambi Cantrell joined CreativeLIVE to host a Posing Masterclass to teach us aspiring photographers how the professionals are able to capture great photos through the art of posing. The key to Bambi’s success is the fact that she understands that photography is more than having strong technical skills behind the camera. If you caught Bambi’s workshop, you would have learned that her ability to lead and direct her subjects can change a good picture into a great picture.

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Tutorial: 2-Minute Photoshop Tools for Better Portraits

While I have been using Adobe Photoshop for over 15 years doing mostly non-portrait editing work, I have become lazy in portrait photography due to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom allowing me to achieve 95% of what I need for amazing photos. My typical portrait workflow ends in Lightroom once the exposure and color tones are to my liking. I have not bothered to go in and cleanup facial features using Photoshop for many years now.

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Tutorial: How to photograph t-shirts.

After my successful Bathroom Products Photography attempt, I was thinking of the next series of photos I could take using items found around the house. I needed a subject that would be colorful and bring lots of contrast to the photo. I decided that photographing my colorful t-shirts would give me exactly what I needed. So I went ahead and started planning how to do this to achieve a seamless white background. Coincidentally, a local business contacted me at the same time about wanting this type of commercial product photography. So I took the job to deliver 52 photos of t-shirts (front/back, male/female, six colors, four designs). Yeah, that is A LOT of shirts. Total time for the job including setup and post-production was 6 hours.

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Bathroom Photography. No More Excuses.

I hear hobby / amateur / wannabe-pro photographers make excuses all the time that they need to go out and shoot more to improve their skills. You do not have to leave your warm (or cool house depending on where you live) to take great photos.

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Forget Your Subject. Photograph Backgrounds.

What the heck? Yes, you heard me. Forget your subject, it is not the silver bullet that makes your photos amazing. A good subject paired with a great background is what really establishes the scene and mood of your photos. Heck, the background could even be considered the key part of your story, the plot if you will.

When I am out on a photography meetup, I notice most of my meetup friends looking for a great subject to photograph. I don’t blame them and there’s nothing wrong with that approach. But when you are outside with a group of 20 photographers, you can bet that many will shoot the same interesting subject. If one photographer points at something, 5 others will point at it at some point.

However, when I am out shooting, I look for the background first. Why? Because the background fills 100% of your frame and has a greater presence in your photo. Once you found the background that is truly stunning, you can easily find something in the foreground to add a subject.

There are many times when I am out on a mission to take a great photo, I find that there is nothing interesting to photograph. That is because I am looking for a subject, not a background. And what if there is nothing in the foreground to incorporate into your photo? Well, just improvise. Use your hands or a twig on the ground. I make it a habit of bringing with me 3-inch tall action figures which I can incorporate into the scene. They are cheap, inexpensive and can be found anywhere. Sometimes, they even add a comical relief to your photos (as shown above).

So the next time you are out shooting, look for a background and add a subject later. You can even make a subject into the background by playing with a shallow depth of field (DOF) as shown above.

Question: Where is your camera?

Is it beside you, easily accessible? Is the battery charged? Is your memory card empty?

I am a photographer that loves to be ready as you never know when the moment will strike where you need your camera. It doesn’t matter what camera you pick up, as long as the moment is special, capturing it with any type of camera is better than none at all. In a related post, I talked about reaching for the nearest camera, which is the best tool you could have at the moment.

A special moment hits in split seconds. When you recognize something worth capturing, it takes only split seconds for that moment to erode. When you reach for the closest camera, turn it on and take the shot. Don’t worry about settings or exposure or even focus. It takes merely 2 seconds for the camera to boot up and fire the first shot. After that, you can look at your settings and adjust it for the situation as needed. Too many times, people worry about their settings and by the time they are done fiddling with their camera, the moment is lost. You never know when a photographic opportunity awaits you.

My favorite go-to camera is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD – In WHITE of course!. Most of my photos are taken with it because it takes no time to boot up and the photos taken by its “Intelligent Auto (iA)” mode is spot on, sharp, dynamically bright, and amazing overall.