Don’t Take Chances- Take Multiple Shots

What is continuous shooting mode, and why should you always keep your camera set there? Because taking just one shot is a recipe for disaster. Why? I was recently watching a photographer shooting an event and I noticed something that really concerned me. There were several group shots, and as each group was assembled the photographer went 'click' one time, and then the groups moved on and the next one assembled. One click... Yikes. That's leaving a lot to chance. Sure enough, when the proofs came back, the family pictures left something to be desired. Not only were they distorted by a bad choice in focal length, but there were several awkward poses. How many times have you taken a picture of a group and everyone's eyes and attention were where they were supposed to be? There's the guy flirting with someone across the room, eyes-closed kid, the idiot who thinks he's hilarious flipping off the camera or doing bunny ears behind someone else's head, the blur, or cousin Dwight with his finger up his nose, again. And then there are your mistakes. Can a photographer always catch all the details by chimping? No. The 3 inch view screen on the back of the camera can really fool you. I've thought 'got it' when I was feeling rushed and it never ever fails that when I get home and get the pictures uploaded that I have a serious heart-sinking oh-no moment when I see the details I missed, like someone just slightly out of focus. Sigh. Don't get in a hurry! Take. More. Than. One. Picture.

Always use the 'continuous shooting' mode when taking pictures.

Whether they're group shots, action shots, or still portraits. Most digital cameras have this capability now, even phones. The camera won't take multiple pictures every time you hit the shutter button if you have a light touch (you do, right?) but when you want more you can. I just leave my camera set there, because there is never enough time to switch when you're in the moment. Machine gunning exposures like paparazzi can catch the fleeting expressions of a child or pet, or just get a shot of a group with everyone's eyes open and no one's tongue out or finger up. There's also a psych factor. Once people hear the first click of the camera they tend to relax, and you get some nice natural expressions for portraits. Sometimes the second or third picture in a series will be less blurry if you tend to have shaky hands or are in low light. You may also get some unexpected expressions in shooting a series, like my son channeling his inner Grumpy Cat. The whole point is to make things easier on yourself, and to catch the memories you want. If I wouldn't have been on 'continuous shooting' I never would have caught this expression, have the fun of teasing him about it, or have my younger son tell me, "Yeah, that's how he looks when he's really going to throw it hard. I always know I'd better brace myself when I see that face." Have fun, catch the moment. Cheryl

A Beautiful Wedding

All of the work and worry came to beautiful fruition Sunday, when my son and the girl of his dreams were wed. Congratulations, Luke and Ellie! Thank you for letting your family and friends be a part of one of the most important days of your life.
First Dance as Man and Wife
Two become one.
I shot this with a nice compact 50mm 1.8 lens, no flash. I had my ISO cranked, which makes for some grainyness, but I didn't want to carry a big flash and camera in my purse. And carrying my 'jurassic bag' wasn't an option with my mother-of-the-groom formalware on. I'm still recovering from my bling shoes! LOL You can see the 'real' photographer crouched on the other side of the happy couple getting the mirror image of the same pose. She is an amazing person who we called on very short notice because the first photographer we hired got the stomach flu. The very morning of the wedding the maid of honor gave Denaje a panicked call and she flew to our rescue. She's our hero! You can find the DPB Photography page on facebook by clicking here. Thank you again, Denaje. 🙂 I also want to give a shout out to The Marysville Opera House, the gorgeous venue the bride's family found. It's a truly lovely historic building with a wonderful ambiance. What did I learn from being inside a wedding? Hmmm. Wear waterproof makeup, that's a given. Stuff will go wrong, but it's ok. Friends and famly are the most important decorations in the room, and their loving support made the beauty of that day possible. And it's over before you know it, so be sure to stop and appreciate the moment. I will cherish these memories forever. Thank you all so much. Much love, Cheryl

Shake, Rattle and Roll

With the lovely auto-immune issues I seem to be saddled with, I seem to quite often be victim to my hands shaking like aspen leaves in a high wind. It happens most often when I've worked beyond my limits, and am reaching exhaustion.  As you can figure, shaking hands and photography do not mix. So what can you do to help with the problem if you also fight a bit of palsy? There's always using tripods and remote triggers, of course. Modern cameras also have a 'vibration reduction' feature, which is some help. There are a few other things you can do, too. I have to admit, though, that the lighter the camera, the fuzzier the picture. It seems almost impossible for me to get a completely sharp shot on my cellphone, for instance. They usually turn out somewhat 'artistic'. 😉 You can try leaning on things. Keep your elbows close to your body instead holding your camera waaaay out at the end of your arms swinging in mid-air. Yeah, I know, those LCD viewfinders make that tough. Rather than inhaling and holding your breath, exhale slowly while clicking. I also use a multishot setting when I take pictures, quite often. In other words, the camera takes more than one picture while I have the shutter depressed. Sometimes the second is sharper than the first. You might just catch everyone's eyes open, too. 🙂 If you have a choice, make sure that your shutterspeed is faster than the length of your lens, at the very least, and faster than 1/125 a second or more so that the fast shutter speed can make up for your wobble and bobble. So those are a few ways that you can sharpen up your photos, rather than being doomed to fuzzy 'art' shots. Along that line, let me show off one of my newest lines at Zazzle. It's sporting a head of curly hair with fun pink highlights, and says 'I'm not gray, I'm Chrome!' in honor of all of us who are joining the Gray Hair Revolution, and owning our status as Natural Queens! So if you want to shout to the world that you earned every one of those lovely chrome strands, check out my store! 🙂 Find the Chrome Hair Travel Mug Here. It's Customizable! Have a great day, and don't forget to encourage someone along the way! Cheryl  

Turn your Photographs into Line Art

Zeus line drawing
Like it or not, most of us haven't taken the time to learn to draw. Washing dishes, scrubbing floors, chasing kids, and making a living can crowd that out. If you're anything like me, you've tried to use photographs to make portraits or other artwork in one way or another, whether it's with an opaque projector and a pencil in a darkened room up against the wall like we did in high school in the dark ages, or with a tablet and a monitor in the modern age. Frankly, most art programs just, well, look like you let the computer do it, and it's not so pretty, unless you really invest some time messing with it. Every once in awhile, though, you find a really good tutorial that has a method that really works and that someone was kind enough to share. I found one of those this morning while listening to Amy Winehouse radio on Pandora and wandering around Pinterest looking for DIY project ideas I'll probably never finish. You'll find it here at Digital Image Magazine, which is 'on hiatus' but has over 180 articles to inspire you. I have to say this technique is not one I would have ever thought of by myself because some of the settings are pretty counter-intuitive, as the author of the article also says. The author also freely admits that he didn't make it up either, he's just sharing what he found 'on the intertubes'. 🙂 So I'll add to the sharing that is the wonder of the internet. Enjoy... and if you create something really cool, come back and share it. 🙂 This is what I ended up with.Very nice method, good results! Zeus line drawing   Cheryl

Homeschooling Memories and Records

In a homeschooling group I'm in one of the Moms was excited to report that her little guy had just gotten his first library card (otherwise known as his ticket to the Universe!). She's a happy, proud, and nervous first time homeschool mom, so when I said 'Be sure to take a picture of him with it', she admitted she hadn't thought of doing that. So I'm telling the rest of you: Take Pictures! There's about 173 bajillion websites (conservative estimate) to tell you all the technical stuff of how to take a beautiful picture, how to process this and that to 'make it pop' and all that jazz. Those pictures are really awesome to hang on the wall, you'll love them for years to come, but the pictures you'll get out at holidays and reunions that will get your kids giggling and saying 'Oh Yeah! Remember when we...' are the snapshots of the silly stuff they did, or working together on projects, or with their friends on field trips. The pictures that will bring a tear to your eye as a mom, because you'll wonder how that big guy with a fiance on his arm was ever the cute little kindergartner who was sooo proud of his new backpackSooo proud of the new backpack for kindergarten that he wouldn't take it off!             But do you remember when your little one finally learned to write his own name? We do... well, outside of the practice sessions in sharpie on the backs of doors, the bedroom dresser, the garage walls... You get the picture. Especially if you're a parent.Levi learns to write his name ;^) I've got a million more. Or maybe I should say megabytes more... Every school project, every field trip, and action shots of them playing sports and getting dirty. The time they held hissing cockroaches at the science center (I know, EWWW, but they're boys), stacking books to represent the heights of different mountains, making model airplanes, playing at concerts, and various science projects, as well as Luke's senior project rebuilding an old Chevy truck. Hey, moms, you don't have to hang onto every art project your kids ever made, just take pictures with the kids holding them, and maybe some while they're at work with their cute little tongues sticking out! Besides the fun memories, the other part of this is that a significant part of homeschooling involves keeping records of what you did and that you did it in order to fulfill your legal obligations. That can turn into a hefty amount of paperwork in a few years. If you scan it or digitize it by taking pictures, there's your proof, along with your journals (you keep a journal, right??). Honestly, I never had anyone ask me for anything, but I've got it all if I need it, and can slap it onto a nice little thumbdrive for any official that may want it. Two birds, one stone. And lots of great memories. 🙂 Save your time for teaching and enjoying learning together, not spending all your precious time filling out paperwork and organizers Cheryl. Have fun