April 20, 2012

How to snapshoot a portrait.

Trying something a little new at Frame One. Posts are join' visual to make it easy to understand and follow along. Friday's post will be all about the basics on something like shooting a portrait. Monday, we'll show off the settings you need to make a photo. And from time to time, we'll talk about our topic from the perspective of mobile phones.  

April 6, 2012

Five ways to snapshoot an Easter Egg hunt.

It’s rabbit season.

This weekend marks a couple of pretty big family holidays – Passover and Easter. Your family’s going to be getting together, and in between the disagreements over the upcoming election and why you-know-who shouldn’t have been kicked off of Idol, you’re going to want to get a snapshot or two of the day’s festivities.

I’m focusing on the classic “Easter Egg Hunt” here, but these tips are good for just about any springtime photos of kids.

Put some green in the picture.
Spring is colourful, so make it work for you. Take a shot in the grass or (if you’re luckier than us up here in Toronto), put a few eggs among the crocuses and tulips for a bright shot. I particularly like shooting colour blocks – a big field of green (grass), a bright blue (or orange) sky.

Get down low.
Most kids are short, so you should be short too. Get down to their level for good looking portraits. Get down even lower (belly on the ground!) for nifty distorted perspectives that make them look big.

Break down the story into smaller photos.
Snap one of just the hand reaching for an egg. Capture the look of surprise on a toddler’s face when she finds something new and exciting. Take close ups of the eggs nobody has yet found.

Think about multiples.
Flip your camera into Av mode, turn up the aperture as high as you can and get a shot of a row of eggs. The further back the photo goes, the blurrier the look – very fun, very cool. Your friends will be jealous.

Holidays are a bunch of moments strung together into a day. Put yourself somewhere you know a great moment will happen (at a table, around a corner), lock in your autofocus and wait for the moment to unfold. You’ll be ready to take some wonderful images when the time comes.

And that’s all there is to it. Post your Seder and bunny chomping photos here when you’ve got the chance. 

April 2, 2012

How to overcome the biggest lie in photography.

"Wow. Your camera sure does take great photos."

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I take photos with a giant Canon 5d Mark II, a point-and-shoot Canon G11 and an iPhone 4s. And I can take wonderful snapshots (or more formal stuff) on all three.

Yes, a bigger, better SLR gives you more options, flexibility and sharpness, but it can't magically turn a bad photographer into a good one.

I was in a meeting yesterday and someone said "oh yeah smart guy -- try taking a good photo with this Blackberry Curve." Admitedly, it's not a great camera in the traditional sense. Poor in low light, lots of graininess.

So I made that work for me. I moved the subject to a nearby window. I turned off the flash. I did all the things you're supposed to do for good composition.

And I took a pretty decent snapshot.

It's not your camera that takes great photos -- it's you that takes great photos. And here's the best part -- you only need to get good at a few different things to go from "meh" to "marvelous:"

Know your camera.
What is your camera awesome at doing? What sucks about it? You've got to know both so you can take advantage of the good and compensate for the bad. My G11? Pretty good photos in low light, but sloooooow when I press the shutter. I use of for birthdays at a restaurant and am ready before a moment happens, so I get the shot.

Indoor lighting is tricky. Like this much better than if I had used a flash.

Light is about half of a photo. Blast a snapshot with your flash and you'll get the same ugly photo every time. Instead, turn off the flash, dial up the ISO and find/wait for/pray for good light.

Lots of Five Guys Fries -- got in close enough to show there are fries in a bag.

This Is a big one for portraits. There's often too much headroom and distracting background junk in snapshots. Get in close (and if you're adventurous, blur out the background with a high aperture.

Big hand, low angle. Different perspectives can make even regular images look cool.

Get up high. Get down low. Turn the camera vertically. When you move around, you create a whole new photo.