Monday, May 9, 2011

National Photo Month!

Did'ja know -- May is National Photography Month? Yep, a whole month just for photographers! Woo hoo!  Perfect for me.  Perfect for May.  Yes it's real.  Legit.  Started by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, the American Photography Celebration was only a week long at its inception (May 7-14), but now it is a full month --31 days to promote the joy and benefits of photography.

Most of you know that I'm in my third year of "Project Life" - a photo every day x 365.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to find that special photo to memorialize my day - my ordinary life, but I do it.  It has turned into my journal.  Not a written journal, but rather a pictoral journal.  I challenge you to take photos you might otherwise pass up because you aren't sure they'll work out. Take chances and remember what it is about photography that you love.

Here are a few of my favorite photography tips, as this is the perfect time to practice angles, play with your camera's settings, and try out new ways to shoot interesting objects. However, it's fun to practice your skills on immovable objects as well.  They don't complain!
  • Read the manual that came with your camera.  Learn something new!
  • Keep a Camera in your purse or in your car.  If you're lucky enough to have a phone that takes fairly decent pictures -- that is good enough.  Otherwise, carry your point-n-shoot.
  • Get a tripod.  Nowadays these aren't expensive and are as portable as ever — keeping one in your camera bag can come in handy in lots of different situations.  I especially love my Gorillapod and the mini-gorilla pod.  Although I have been known to set my camera on lots of different objects as well:  tables, chairs, fences, poles, etc. are especially useful.  My knee comes in handy as well.
  • Use your flash for outdoor photos.  This prevents unsightly shadows from appearing on your subject's faces by using your camera's fill flash setting when taking pics outdoors.
  • Learn and practice the self-timer.  Indispensable.
  • Ground the camera.  Set you camera on the ground, on your desk, on the kitchen counter, etc.  A different perspective for sure.  And, if you know how to use your self-timer, you can get in the shot!
  • Taking some up-close pics? Don't forget to adjust your camera's settings to macro!
  • In terms of composing your shot, learn the Rule of Thirds (both horizontally and vertically).  Pretend that your view finder is composed like a 3-column table.  Most people like to break rules, but this one is mandatory for a photographer and will keep your photos looking their best.  Photos are just more interesting when your subject is not smack dab in the middle of the photo.  Boring!
Celebrate photography with me!

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