Peace and Pandemonium

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


A Synopsis

I attended Photocamp Utah this past weekend and I'm so happy I did. It's no WPPI but for a mere $10 I got to network with local photographers and discuss photography all day with others who are just as passionate about it as I am. It was a lot of fun!

There were people taking pictures everywhere. I caught this guy during a lecture and liked the lighting.

* * *

In order for me to share with you what I learned, I thought I would just transcribe the notes I took. Raw and unedited. The way I wrote them while there in the moment. Some are verbatim out of the mouth of the speaker. Others are just the ideas that came to me while other words were being spoken. These are the ideas I will try to incorporate into my own practice.

Want to Take Better Pictures?

Break the rules.
Be creative.
Listen to your instincts.
Keep it simple. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.
Have a point. Identify the message of the image.
Have a clear message and make an emotion impact.
Capture the element of magic. (Easier said than done I'm afraid.)
Bottom line, sweat and commitment are required to improve.
Learn to routinely make correct exposures. Set your camera to manual and leave it there.
Study depth of field. Learn it. Practice it.
Learn about diffraction limits. (Yeah, I totally need to do this because I have no idea what that means!)
Capture feelings, emotion, and relationships.
Take pictures that create a connection with the viewer.
Create art! Do this by putting something of ourselves into the image.
Make strong compositions - in the middle AND THE EDGES!
Check the background before taking the picture. Duh!
Look for things that you have an emotional interest in.
Become interested in your subject.
If you see something or notice something.....TAKE THE PICTURE, don't ignore it.
Follow your energy.
Get to know your equipment and then push it to the limits.
Don't settle for the first idea.
When things aren't working - move around.
Push the button. BEFORE IT'S PERFECT!
The challenge is to develop your unique identity as a photographer. Discover yours.
No element should distract from the image.
When editing pictures, watch out for "creep" and avoid it. Creep is when your pictures get more contrasty and saturated as the day goes on.
Maintain attention to detail.
Invest in a workshop.
Visit galleries. Look at lots of prints/images.
Study art appreciation.
Shoot a lot but show few.
NO SECRETS! Share information and help each other.

With that last one in mind I would love to answer any of your photography related questions. I certainly dont claim to know everything but I like the idea of opening up a question and answer session that maybe we can all gain from. Lets talk shop! Do you have a question? Ask me. Lets help each other improve. Just know that I may end up being the one asking you the questions. :)

Hi Kiera! This is a great idea and one question that I am always asking just about every photog I ever meet is "How do you meter for your photos?" I'm always trying to ascertain what will be the best way for me so I figure that getting a wide range of opinions will help! Would love to hear your take on it!
I have a question about lighting. I hate to use the flash on my baby's eyes, but the picture comes out too dark otherwise. I have put her in direct sunlight and that will either cause her to squint or it washes her out and creates weird shadows. How the heck do you get great lighting without all the problems. Apparently I'm doing something wrong.
Note: I'm working with a Sony Cyber-shot at this point.
Any help would be awesome! Thanks.
How nice of you to be willing to answer questions! Here's mine: When I recently took some photos of my daughter and son-in-law (it was about 2 p.m. on a very overcast, gray day, and they were wearing dark clothing, if that makes a difference) their faces were often blown out (over-exposed). What should I have done to correct this? I shoot in manual and tried exposing for their faces, but still struggled.
This is a really basic question, but I'm starting at zero here. I've been playing around with the aperture and shutter priority settings on my camera. I understand that in when in A mode, for example, I'm in control of aperture, while the camera will automatically adjust shutter speed. And vice-versa in S mode. So my question is basically why both of those modes exist. In other words, is it just a preference? Like some people just prefer setting exposure via aperture and some via shutter speed? Or do different situations call for one to be manipulated over the other? Like is it easier to calculate that you need a certain shutter speed if you're taking a photo of a moving object, whereas if you're in a low-light setting, aperture is easier to adjust for? I don't know if this question even makes sense.

I have another one too--how do you make sure that two faces on the same plane are in focus? And where should I lock focus when I'm taking a photo of two or more people?

Thanks, Kiera!
These are awesome questions so far! I'm really excited to share what I know (and research what I dont know in some cases). Keep the questions coming for now and I will do a separate blog post with answers in a day or two...

Thanks for joining in on the discussion. :)
OK these questions are great I am truley starting from ground zero. I have always loved taking pictures I finally have a camera that is worth spendig the time figuring out. I am extremely overwhelmed. I could use any basic tips you can give. I have played around with it a ton and have read the manual. BUT... much like some of your other questions the lighting never seems to be right, I'm not sure which mode is best for which setting, and to be honest I would love to take a photo of my kids where they are in focus and the background is not. HELP! (I may require a one on one ;))
so jealous. i so wanted to go, but they were full. sad for me.
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