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Everyone's a photographer. I think my daughter has a bigger portfolio than mine. Of course hers is mostly filled with selfies of the outfit of the day, our three dogs and her Saturday night escapades, but it could still be considered "event" photography.
Regardless of what your camera of choice is or what kind of photographer you are, here are 7 tips on how to take better pictures.
1. Photograph what you love. Whether it's people, flowers or your dog, your more apt to devote more time to learning and practicing if you are passionate about your subject. Ok, you don't have to be passionate, but you should really, really like it.
2. Use the Rule of Thirds for a more balanced composition. If you subscribe to my newsletter, I've written about this before. Visually breakdown your shot into a grid of nine equal rectangles and place you main subject on at least one of the intersections. It will create a more natural composition.
3. Forget you have a built in flash. Don't use it. It creates harsh, unflattering shadows.
4. Fill the frame. In other words, close in on your subject. Don't leave a lot of empty space around it. This helps emphasize the subject.
5. Change your perspective. If you always shoot at eye level, it starts to get boring. Try crouching down and shoot from below or laying down and shooting straight up. Stand up on something and get higher than your subject and shoot on a downward angle or straight down. Experiment.
6. Match shutter speed to your lens focal length. This will help reduce the likelihood of blurry pictures. If you are using a 50 mm lens, then you should use a shutter speed of 1/50 sec or faster. Longer lenses use a faster shutter speed. This will help compensate for camera shake.
7. Use leading lines. You can save a weaker composition by using leading lines. Natural lines in scene help direct where the viewer's eyes move. Straight lines can create depth and curved lines will lead the viewer around the image.
Now, go out and start shooting and let me know how you did!
I'm still trying to see if this blogging thing is going to stick.
Always thinking and researching for an interesting topic, I thought I would continue on this path of sharing a little sneak peak of my world (note, I tried this last year as well).
I try to go out with my camera at least once a week. I like to shoot outside. I have a thing for natural light, a) it's free, b) it's really hard to duplicate inside and c) it's free. This of course limits my creativity to when the weather is nice.
I shoot a lot.
I figure it's the law of averages.
Something will certainly be worthy.
I dump all my photos into Lightroom and start processing from there.
I go through the photos I like, decide what I want to work on, and save the rest for later. My next step is to open up Adobe Photoshop and start working on the images I like.
I usually start at the image for awhile and decide where I want to go from here. What is the feeling I want to convey? What was it about this shot that I liked? Where do I see the finish? Actually that is way deeper than I ever get. I loved the contrast of the yellow on the red. I liked the point of view I chose and I thought I could really do some cool techniques to enhance this.
The first thing I did was remove the background and crop it in. I just want to focus on the flower.
I like to work in layers. I usually create multiple layers and import each layer in to different Topaz programs to create textures.
I have a "favorites" panel of all the techniques I like the most and try different ones until I get the look I want.
After putting everything back together in Photoshop, I play with the transparency levels of each layer. I make a few more adjustments, and...
decide where I'm going with it.
I think it's kind of fun on a clock. What about you?
Do you love it? Clocks are available in my online boutique at Society6. https://society6.com/jessicamanelis
If you have been following my blog, by now you have realized that I get a lot of my inspiration from walking around outdoors. On a stunningly gorgeous day, it's the shit. However, I live in the Northeast, where we experience all 4 seasons, so somewhere around mid-November up until usually about April, outdoors is not fun.
I have to look for inspiration else where.
The following is list of some artists and creative people I find inspiring...
Linda Szabo is a photographer whose work I love. Her botanicals are gorgeous. I recently took one of her online workshops and it was worth every minute. You will probably start to see her inspiration in my work. Her website is www.lindaszabophotography.virb.com.
Mike Moats is another photographer I follow, admire and have learned from. He is an amazing macro photographer. I've taken one of his macro workshops as well. Visit his website at www.tinylandscapes.com.
I follow Andrew Scrivani on Instagram (@andrewscrivani). He is an amazing food photographer. Really creative.
I follow Cherie Bosela on Facebook. www.facebook.com/CherieBosela.MixedMediaArtist/ She is a fantastic mosaic artist. She combines photography and other mixed media items in her work.
Another great way to get inspiration is to follow a gallery. I recently started following a social media gallery (I'm not exactly sure what that is). Toxic Tins Gallery. There Facebook is www.facebook.com/toxictinsgallery/ They appear to be local to me and even organize photography meet-ups. I haven't been to one yet, but hopefully over the summer.
Pinterest is a great place for inspiration. I have several boards dedicated to art inspiration. If you want to follow my Pinterest Boards, try one of these..Crafty Things I Want To Try https://www.pinterest.com/jessicakman/crafty-things-i-want-to-try/ Art I Love https://www.pinterest.com/jessicakman/art-i-love/ Things From My Very Creative Friends https://www.pinterest.com/jessicakman/things-from-my-very-creative-friends/ and Cool Art https://www.pinterest.com/jessicamanelis/cool-art/
Now you know what my work space looks like. It's a messy office, probably similar to yours. How could I possibly be creative in that environment?
Well, first I thrive in chaos. Second, I leave the chaos behind.
I love an adventure. When my kids were young, it was easy to go on adventures. A ride to the zoo, or to go apple picking at the farm. Once they got older, their friends (or quite honestly the tv) became more fun than my adventures. I got bored. Boredom is a creative killer. I had to do something. So, I started going on my own adventures, camera in hand.
Within 45 miles and no more than hour away; It's for me!
I have a list on my phone of interesting botanical gardens, public gardens and nature walks. I pay to go on photo walks and I have recently found an Instagram meet-up group called South Jersey Adventures. Meet-ups are great, because although I like going on adventures, I occasionally feel very conspicuous when I am alone. There IS power in numbers.
For instance I recently went back to a place I have brought my camera before, the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ. I have no interest in the museum, however they have an 18th century English garden, that appears to be open without actually paying admission. I went there about a year ago and took some great shots of the flowers in the garden. This time around, they were setting up a huge tent for an outdoor party and there were a lot of gardening fellows digging around, so I turned around and left. I headed to the President's Garden at Princeton University, a spot I found on a photo walk I took through the Digital Photo Academy about 2 years ago. Still felt a little conspicuous, but there weren't too many people around staring.
Once I am home again, I upload my images to Adobe Lightroom and then the fun begins. I choose which photos I like and start processing them in Lightroom. Then I move them in to Adobe Photoshop where I further work with them using a variety of filters and textures and layers. I play and add layers upon layers until I get the desired masterpiece I am after (well, hardly a masterpiece, but come on it is fun to say).
Then time to share it with the world!
Some places I like to shoot are: Chanticleer Gardens, Jenkins Arboretum, Leaming's Run Garden, Longwood Gardens, Grounds For Sculpture, and Hortulus Farm. I'm up for suggestions.
I'm mostly a private person. I don't like to put myself out there. I think it's mostly because I am a little embarrassed, lack some self confidence and feel that people are just going to think I am an idiot for thinking I have any talent.
So, this is about as out of my comfort zone as I can get. A behind the scenes look at part of what makes me, me.
I have a little room downstairs in my basement where the magic happens (just kidding, but not really). To the left is my art table. It was a really big deal when I bought this. It was a bit expensive, but I had to have it because I thought it would make me feel more like an artist. It mostly houses a variety of art supplies I also had to have, but actually never use, because I thought it would make me feel more like an artist. I do create mosaics. You can see my completed mosaic mirror/planter sitting on top. Mosaics are my therapy.
At the end of the room is my filing cabinet that contains the picture file I started in college. What's a picture file you ask? Well boys and girls, back in the olden days, PI (pre-internet), we had to actually cut pictures out of magazines to use as reference photos. For some reason I can't seem to let go of them. It must be the hoarder in me.
You can see my computer. I have an enormous screen and I love it! It is surrounded by a calendar, a note pad and a bunch a random pieces of paper with lists and ideas, that I will eventually look through to find what I was thinking about last week, but won't find because I probably threw it away.
I have two printers, a Wacom tablet a fax machine and as you can see on the right several framed photographs from previous gallery exhibitions stacked against the wall.
They are all for sale. (plug, plug, plug)
Today I am updating my website, looking for exhibitions to enter, balancing my check book, laundry and writing a press release.
What's on your plate?