I’m launching a new series for my blog and newsletter that gives back to you—The One Minute Photo Tip!
When I started to think about exactly how I wanted to deliver my photography tips, I knew I wanted them to be simple and fast—for my readers and me. I’m a mom, and most of my readers are parents, too. It’s hard to add one more thing to our plates, with little ones constantly asking for another snack or asking to play. I totally get that! Family time is important. We have work to do and lives to live!
So, my tips are designed to help you improve your photography, in one minute or less. For you, that means that you can use these tips very easily on an everyday basis. You can use the point-and-shoot camera that you already have, or even your camera phone. For all the tips in this series, I’ll be using my very old, but reliable Canon G5, so I can show you the results that you can realistically expect. You do not need to buy an expensive camera or equipment.
In the end, I think this is very empowering, because this means that you are what makes a good picture. You, the thinking, feeling, artistic human being. Your camera is just an un-thinking machine.
On my end of things, I will do minimal processing/retouching of the images. Just a little contrast and brightness adjustment and a little color correction.
This is also designed to show you what you can realistically expect, without the benefit of professional post-processing or two hours spent at your computer.
Ok, without any further ado, here it is.
One Minute Photo Tip #1
The word “photography” literally means “writing with light.” To make a photograph, you need light—and plenty of it! When you are in a dark room, your eyes naturally adjust to see everything clearly. The human body is a natural miracle at doing these types of things!
A camera is not so good at doing this. A camera sensor (or film) can capture only so much light in the time it takes for the shutter to open and close. When in a dark room, the camera wants to brighten everything up by using the flash.
This is my son, in his natural state. Not dressed up. Sitting on the couch, with his PS3 controller . Here’s what a photo looks like when your flash is ON in a dim room. The flash removes all dimension from his face and features and throws hard shadows behind everything. Everything looks flat and two-dimensional! It’s not so pretty!
How do you fix this? Look for the button that looks like a lightning bolt with an arrow at the end. It looks like this:
Turn OFF your flash. Your display or menu will look like this: Here’s what a photo looks like when your flash is OFF. Much better! My camera was able to pull in enough light from the room during this time, but when you are taking pictures in the evening indoors, it’s especially important to get up and open those shades and curtains. Open them all up as widely as you can! It only takes a second!
Flash OFF and Window Shades OPEN
Even though there was enough light in the picture above, the “Flash OFF” picture still looks a little flat and plain. So, here’s one more picture with the window blinds opened up:
Aaahhh, beautiful! My son’s face has dimension, his hair and shoulders have highlights, and his soft expression becomes the focus of the image. My son has exactly the same expression in the “flash ON” photo, but here he doesn’t have that deer-in-headlights look.
Since there was more light, my camera automatically changed the ISO to a lower number. When you have more light and shoot in a lower ISO, your pictures are less grainy. Less grain means bigger enlargements!
Before and After
Here are all three side-by-side for comparison.
That was easy, right? Now, go out and use this tip! Please leave a comment below or send feedback on whether this helps you!