What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, July 24, 2009

Foto Friday

Thus far, I've talked to you about:

The importance of crisp focus on your subject and encouraged you to use eyes and eyelashes to really make photographs POP.
I've talked about the importance of an uncluttered background and alternately, USING the background AS the subject.
I showed you how to accomodate with fencing and cages and let you in on the "secret" Rule of Thirds.

TODAY, however, I am going to tell you what NOT to do.

I am going to talk to you about something I never ever do. Never Ever Ever.

I will not do it in a house. Or on a mouse. I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere.

I do not like it, Sam I am.

I will not use the flash on my camera-cam-cam.

I know many REAL photographers who do use the flash in certain circumstances (and then, with real-gig surrounding flashes and all that mumbo-jumbo) but since I do it poorly anyway (and am mumbo-jumboless) I avoid it altogether.

In fact, I was HARD PRESSED to find an example of why I hate using flash so much....UNTIL I remembered one instance a few months back where I went to take a picture and the camera was set on Auto and the flash popped up before I realized what was happening.

Not surprisingly, I hated the picture so much, I never posted it (despite the fact that I loved the moment that Corynn and Andrew came prancing into the kitchen at bedtime with homemade crowns taped to their foreheads.)

So here you go.

WHY do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways...

When you use flash photography, unsightly shadows outline your figures. The shadows can range from hideous gray outlines to huge monstrosities on the wall, depending on how far you are from your subject, and how far your subject is from the wall. ALL of them, are detestable. Their grayness swallows up every shred of beauty in a picture and spits it back out.

I do not like flash shadows---can you tell?!?

Not only that, flash can turn pale skin even pastier and make hair weird colors.

Not only THAT, but all depth is lost when flash is used.

My home is horribly lit when the sun goes down and so, I rarely bring out the camera after dusk. I would rather sacrifice a picture altogether than to take a crappy one.

I know that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. If something just HAS to be photographed when it is dark outside, go ahead and use the flash, I won't look. BUT. If it is daylight out, you should rarely need to use the flash.


Step one. Go shadow-seeking. Look through your photographs and see how many of them contain shadows. Admitting there is a problem is the very first step to fixing it.

Step two: Most camera's have optional flash. TURN IT OFF. Disposable cameras~don't push the flash button!

Instead, use these tips and tricks...

1) Position yourself near a window. Open a door. Open curtains. Move a chair. Do whatever it is to bring in more light to the subject. If you are photographing your kids tell 'em to look out the window. Plop 'em on the floor in front of an open door.

2) Of course, take pictures outside whenever you can...the brightness even of a bleak day is usually enough to get a nice photograph made.

3) Hold VERY still. Cameras will compensate for low light by adjusting their shutters to stay open longer, thus creating more time for camera shake to happen. Remember my tricks for holding the camera still and by all means~if your camera allows a 10-second timed delay-USE it! Put your camera on the table (or tripod) and put the 10 second delay on and you will virtually eliminate any camera shake. Remember, blurred pictures are no good unless they are MEANT to be that way.

4) Use candles, floorlamps, oil lamps, Christmas lights~anything~to create more light (knowing of course that these will result in a more orange-y light).

Try very hard not to use the flash and I bet you will find, eventually, that you don't NEED to at all.
Posted by Picasa


...they call me mommy... said...

Girl, you crack me up!!!

-The Sam I Am rhyme was S-W-E-E-T!!

-"all that mumbo-jumbo) but since I do it poorly anyway (and am mumbo-jumboless) I avoid it altogether."


"My home is horribly lit when the sun goes down and so, I rarely bring out the camera after dusk. I would rather sacrifice a picture altogether than to take a crappy one."

WOW! Really? I have a hard time doing this!!! Like for instance Sam's birthday party started at 5:30...would you just shoot them with the orangish glow & then edit them? I find that I get too lazy for that...and I switch to the flash...I totally know what you are saying about flash though! I tell my hubby ALL THE TIME that I hate the flash! I'm going to give this a whirl and really work on getting my subjects into natural light...
my favorite days for outdoor photos are cloudy ones...then the people aren't squinting so much, kwim?

Thanks for the comment on my blog...yes, I love those pictures on Ella's sweet face, although they were just a bit dark...I get too lazy to edit things...thats why I need to take better pics from the get-go and then I don't have to edit them...

Anyhoo...I'm learning a lot from your photo tips!! Thanks.

Have a great evening!

Rebecca said...

Amy~ to prove to you about not taking photos if they won't look good in the first place, I will tell you what I would do in the case of the 5:30 birthday scenario.

First-if weather permits, I would hold the party outdoors. Then, I could be snap-happy, as usual.

But say it was raining cats and dogs....

I would take birthday photos of the child during the (non-raining) part of the day (or the NEXT day) playing, holding balloons, whatever. I would also take a picture of the cake (separately) and decorations/favors.
The only picture I would have of his actual party would be of him blowing out his candles using only the light from the candles.

Seriously. I am THAT bad!

...they call me mommy... said...

Ok...I've been working on this...I had plenty of opportunity during vacation this past week! :-) Thanks for the tips!