Lauras Daily Madness

Monday, January 10, 2011

You don’t need an SLR!

One of the most common responses to my pictures is for people to ask me what kind of camera I have.  They seem to think that by purchasing a high end SLR camera, their photos will suddenly turn into works of art.  I’m not here to tell you that you can’t take photos like I do because you can! I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to wait till you can afford the SLR, you can start now! 

When looking at facebook at photos of kids I immediately think of small improvements that could be made.  I can’t help it, it just happens.  Not to say that I’m picking apart pictures, I know most mommy shots are taken to capture the moment because that’s the most important and that’s fine. But it does pain me to think of how a ‘aww so cute’ picture could be turned into a ‘OH WOW How did you do that?’ picture with just a little time and attention.

The most common issues I see are shooting down on children and not paying attention to the light.  You NEED to shoot at eye level 80-90% of the time. This means crouching down and shooting so that you are looking straight at your child.   Lighting could mean opening the blinds before you start to shoot, moving her closer to the window or moving into the shade instead of direct sun. 

I set myself a challenge today to use our new point and shoot and see what types of photos I could get. This is what I have:

  This is a Kodak Easy Share camera.  Our is  actually black because its my husbands. It’s a 14 megapixel little point and shoot.  I have to make some apologies to our poor little Kodak here. First we just bought this camera for Christmas and since its not my main camera, I really haven’t taken it seriously.  I don’t know how to use all the nifty things it comes with and I’m sure I could have done a better job with a little research. Also we didn’t have a card for this camera. The thing only stores about 10 photos or so.  Non stop clicking is just going to give you better results.  So if you don’t see a dozen great photos on this page, its really my fault for not knowing my own gear very well. 




Ok so I have my easy share here. I also pulled out a polka dot sheet from the closet.  I did use my background stand to hang it on but back in the day I have been known to pin sheets to the wall.  You could do the same thing.  I also used my fake wooden floor.  Fake wooden floors are pretty popular right now. I bought mine off ebay. Its really a carpet saver for office chairs.



You can find these on ebay by searching for bamboo rugs.  I also used my fake piece of wall trim that I got from Lowe’s for about $2.  I also used my reflector. If you want to splurge on a relatively inexpensive thing that will REALLY help your photos, buy a reflector.  If you want to just experiment you can also buy one of those metallic things you put in your window during summer time and get the same time of effect.  Also just a big piece of white poster board will do semi well.

Ok so we’re all set up with our sheet, rug and wall trim.   The next step was to turn off my on camera flash.  Those on camera flashes will murder your photos!  Another apology to my little point and shoot.. I did not wait for optimum lighting for the room I used. Pay attention to when your room you’ll be using gets the most light.  Mine hits around 11 am. I took these photos around 8am before the babies went completely bonkers.

And my result:

Picture006 copy 2

My little point and shoot did that? Why yes, yes it did! A few things I SHOULD have done different to improve my photos. One is to find the option that has the little face on it for portrait shooting.  This would have blurred my background. I looked for awhile but gave up and couldn’t find it. I thought I did pretty good finding out how to turn off the dang flash.  If you can find that option, you’re going to get better results.  Also the whole lighting thing. I just needed more light which means for me to wait till later when my room has more light.   Also ironing the sheet… but that’s not in my nature so that probably won’t change.

Here is the same set up but using my SLR. One thing is my SLR cheated. I used my speed lite flash for the photo so not have to subtract some points for that.


IMG_0048 copy 2

Again, the SLR photo has the background blurred which is immediately a more professional looking shot in this case.  If I could have found the portrait option on my point and shoot we might have had a similar effect. 


Here are some photos from back in my sheet on a wall days:





So while having an SLR definitely helps you get great looking photos, don’t sit around waiting for that time to come. Take advantage of those darling dimples and silly smiles now! 


Nicole said...

Why didn't you tell me this $500 ago!!!??!