June 28, 2011

taking pictures 101: with crystal of crafty ave

Hi everyone! Today we have a special guest here to chat about photography.  Why is this guest so special you wonder?  Well, maybe because she's one of my closest friends (in real life friends to boot!).  Crystal and I met many moons ago in college (we're learned yo!) and I knew we'd be friends forever when her eyes brightened at the mention of Tori Amos.  

Crystal started the blog Crafty Ave back in February and ever since she told me about it it's been one of my favourite daily reads.  There she documents the adventures of parenting two youngin's, working full time and evenings full of sewing.  Every single time I visit her blog I can't help but wonder how she does it all.

One of her most recent undertakings was her Say NO! to Auto challenge.  I adore her for being brave enough to take this on.  Me and my camera have been hanging out in Autoville for way too long and sadly it shows in my photos.  So today I've brought Crystal in to inspire change and bust us all out of our Auto rut.  Let's do this!
Some of you may be wondering about the black bars in the photos, but I think the answer is pretty obvious.  Crystal is raising two baby criminals.  Two very adorable baby criminals.

Well hello there. When Chantilly asked me to put together a photography 101 post, I was honoured and thrilled. I’m not a photographer (sigh), just another crafty momma who can’t stop taking pictures of her babies and handmade creations, though not necessarily in that order. Since starting my own tiny blog a few months ago my photo snapping has been in overdrive and here’s what I’ve learned so far...

You really don’t need fancy equipment. It’s hard not to want a fancier camera, especially when you compare your pictures to others, but you can take fantastic photo’s with any camera. Use what you have! I’m not gonna lie, I did recently spend a lot on a camera which I’m in love with but already I want different lenses, flashes, an iPhone.... Don’t let your lack of perfect equipment stop you from taking great pictures today.

Only geeks read the instruction manual? Be a geek! Figure out what ALL those little buttons do. Your camera is probably capable of a lot more than you think it is. Learn all the in’s and out’s of what your camera settings and experiment with them.

Stop using your camera in the auto setting. A couple months ago I found the terms ISO, aperture, shutter speed and white balance mysterious and overwhelming. Then I made a commitment to stop using the auto function on my camera and learned how to use the basic settings.  I bought an inexpensive eBook to help but you could look up the basic definitions and save your money. I also found a pretty good cheater method:
  1. Set your camera to auto.
  2. Take a picture and see what settings your camera automatically chooses.
  3. Switch your camera into manual mode and set it to the settings your camera chose in Step 1.
  4. Take pictures.
  5. Make minor adjustments to these settings and compare.

Soon you’ll know what settings work in which situations!

Take your camera everywhere. See everything as a photographic opportunity. Don’t take just one shot. I take about 100 pictures a day. Out of that I can usually tease out a couple awesome pictures. The more you have photography on the brain the more things you will see to shoot. Have fun!

My PSA of the day, save your work! What would happen if your camera or your computer or your house blew up? You would lose all those photos! Back them up somewhere. Save them online, on an external hard drive, or be old school and paranoid like me and burn them to discs and put them in a fire safe box at your in-laws.

Hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of your camera. Thanks again for inviting me to stop by!


Are you a more experienced photographer and have any helpful words of advice for us fraidy-cats?  Leave a comment below and fill us in!