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Old 01-18-2006, 08:15 AM   #1
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Default Taking decent pictures

I've just been through the scrapbook gallery and I'm amazed at some of the pictures that people take. They are amazing. I'm just wondering what the tricks of the trade are? I can never seem to get a good picture. We have a digital camera (so I'm not sure if it's my camera or just my lack of knowledge on how to take a good picture)

I really do need to start taking "everyday" type photos and not just at birthdays, Christmas, special event, etc. I just never think of breaking out the camera and lettin' loose, KWIM?

For instance, when it's one of my son's b-day parties, I make sure that I take a pic of him opening each gift, one of the cake, some of the people there, etc. And as I'm doing this, I'm picturing the page that I'll do with these pictures, but when I get the pictures in hand, I can't seem to make a good page out of it. Does anyone know what I mean and what I can do?

Guess I'm looking for some really good picture taking hints. Got any?
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:46 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if you're meaning that the groups of photos you take don't tell a very cohesive or compelling story, or if you're meaning that individually, your photos aren't up to your standards wrt composition, focus, etc.

It sounds possibly like you're putting too much pressure on yourself to scrap all the photos you take at an event. For example, instead of planning to scrap all of the photos of each gift being opened, why not just scrap the best one (or two) that most convey your DS's excitement, joy, age, etc., and are a good representation of the gift-opening phase of the party? If having a record of what gifts he received from whom is important to you to include in your SB, you can cover that with your journaling.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:54 AM   #3
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I have a few! Some of them require a bit of money, unfortunately, so pick and choose what your budget allows.

1. Volume, volume, volume! Take tons of pictures from different angles, zooms, lighting situations, etc. If you take 20 and change something small each time, one is bound to turn out.

2. Get yourself a good photography book or take a class. Learning how the camera physically works helps you get the most out of your picture-taking opportunities.

3. Make sure you've got a REALLY good camera. Photography is unfortunately one of those areas where a quality tool really does make for much better photos. The best scenario is to have an SLR (single lens reflex) camera. This is the type where you buy a camera body separately, then a separate lens (or two or three or...), and a separate flash that mounts on top. If your budget is limited, the film bodies are much MUCH cheaper than digital (which start around $8-900). If your budget means sticking with a point-and-shoot, read reviews first to see which models in your price range are the best. In general, larger lenses usually equal better pictures because the optics can physically be better. Also make sure the point-and-shoot will still let you control shutter speed and aperature settings to make the most of your shooting conditions, and what you learn in that book/class! For point and shoots, I've found the Canon digital line to consistently churn out the best pictures.

4. Spend some time at www.photo.net. This is a web community similar to SCS, but dedicated to photography with a good mix of professional and amateur members. There are reviews, tutorials, galleries, etc. I have a few of my photos posted there at http://www.photo.net/photos/martinelynch. All travel photos except the last two were taken with an old Canon G3 (digital point-and-shoot). Three of the four cat photos were taken with a new Canon Digital Rebel XT (digital SLR).

Good luck, and post what you figure out works for you!
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:09 AM   #4
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Quote:

Originally Posted by maironad
I have a few! Some of them require a bit of money, unfortunately, so pick and choose what your budget allows.

1. Volume, volume, volume! Take tons of pictures from different angles, zooms, lighting situations, etc. If you take 20 and change something small each time, one is bound to turn out.

2. Get yourself a good photography book or take a class. Learning how the camera physically works helps you get the most out of your picture-taking opportunities.

3. Make sure you've got a REALLY good camera. Photography is unfortunately one of those areas where a quality tool really does make for much better photos. The best scenario is to have an SLR (single lens reflex) camera. This is the type where you buy a camera body separately, then a separate lens (or two or three or...), and a separate flash that mounts on top. If your budget is limited, the film bodies are much MUCH cheaper than digital (which start around $8-900). If your budget means sticking with a point-and-shoot, read reviews first to see which models in your price range are the best. In general, larger lenses usually equal better pictures because the optics can physically be better. Also make sure the point-and-shoot will still let you control shutter speed and aperature settings to make the most of your shooting conditions, and what you learn in that book/class! For point and shoots, I've found the Canon digital line to consistently churn out the best pictures.

4. Spend some time at www.photo.net. This is a web community similar to SCS, but dedicated to photography with a good mix of professional and amateur members. There are reviews, tutorials, galleries, etc. I have a few of my photos posted there at http://www.photo.net/photos/martinelynch. All travel photos except the last two were taken with an old Canon G3 (digital point-and-shoot). Three of the four cat photos were taken with a new Canon Digital Rebel XT (digital SLR).

Good luck, and post what you figure out works for you!
i agree, i acn take 50 pictures, and only end up with one i even like..

but, i also take probably 50 pictures a day..

im crazy!! i dress my kids each morning in coordinating clothing JUST IN CASE i break out the camera later... like say they are both playing in the fort they just built, i can sneak in and take their pic, and they match.. but then again i am obsessive.
also, i crop a lot.. if i dont have time to get the pic i want.. meaning my kids are running very quickly, i will take a wide angle, and crop down to where i want it and reprint it.
also, dont take their picture standing up.. squat down to their level.. you will get better pics that way.
and they dont always have to be looking at you saying cheese, get them deep in concentration.. or when they are busy doing something else.. they make the best pictures i think!
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Old 01-18-2006, 02:30 PM   #5
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I agree with what they said too. I take TONS of photos, which is easy because my camera is digital. I just delete the ones that are bad and only use the good ones for scrapping. A SLR camera is best. I have both a point-and-shoot (PS) and an SLR camera, and both are digital. I used to have only a film SLR camera, and I spent more money using film with that one because I liked the pictures better than what I can get on my PS camera.

One thing that makes great pictures with no red eye is to take photos without the flash. This is possible much more often with SLR cameras because you can control how much light comes in by changing the opening of the lens and by changing how long the shutter stays open. You can do this with PS cameras if you have good lighting. There is an almost magical time of day twice a day when the photography light is at its best. Those times are just after and during sunrise and just before and during sunset. The light will be very golden and colors look great. You have about an hour and a half or so to play before the light is either too harsh and washes everything out more or it's too dark to take any more photos. Cloudy, overcast days are also great for photography because there are no harsh shadows on your subjects. If it is a bright, sunny day, try to get your subject completely in the shade.

Don't be afraid to zoom in on your subject. Many times, people take photos with the kid and the whole scenery around the kid. The kid is so little in the picture that you can hardly tell who he is. Zoom in. Take a variety of photos from different distances.

Go to the photography forums online. You will find articles about how to improve your pics. There are topics such as the "Rule of Thirds" which helps with composing your picture. Read up on "Catchlights" for ideas about how to make your subjects' eyes sparkle. There are many other topics too that help. I have also bought books on the subject. Memory Makers has a book called "How to Take Perfect Scrapbook Pictures". It does a great job of giving advice without getting too technical.

Janna
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:44 AM   #6
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I typically spend a lot more time concentrating on the background... because that can really make a photo pop. Then I will take 8 to 10 frames of one shot - just so it will turn out right.

I always try to adhere to the rule of thirds - read up on it as it will really help you with focal points. I find that a lot of people don't understand lighting, and once you do, the photos will come out much better.
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Old 02-14-2006, 12:13 PM   #7
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Like the others, I take LOADS of pictures - that way something is sure to turn out okay. Especially with kids - they always make a face at the wrong moment. I also pretty much write off birthdays and Christmas for photos as they never turn out well due to the excitement and lack of time to take great pix. Also, you don't have to scrapbook just the really good pictures - sometimes the ones that went wrong can tell an interesting story, too!
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Old 02-14-2006, 05:53 PM   #8
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Take 100 pics when you want 10 good shots. Use natural light, especially morning light, whenever possible. When the pics are important, take them in high res so you can crop out unwanted stuff without sacrificing picture quality.
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:00 PM   #9
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My #1 rules are:

1. Get closer. Step in, don't let the zoom do the work for you. Get nice and close to your subject.

2. Get on their level. Get down and take the pic on the level of your subject.

I took photojournalism in college and can still hear the prof in my head saying "GET CLOSER!" LOL Now I err on the TOO close side!
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:20 PM   #10
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Hi,

Some of the cutest kid pictures I've seen are the ones they DON'T pose for...my sister's neighbor snapped 3 pictures in a row of her kids sitting together on a bench, then she put them in a 3-picture frame....I love it because it does catch them doing the things they do naturally, their little quirks that make them who they are! Also, as mentioned before, get down on their level....see my avatar? That's my baby and my best picture yet! Snap away and have fun!!!
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:22 PM   #11
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Quote:

Originally Posted by scoobydoo7
Hi,

Some of the cutest kid pictures I've seen are the ones they DON'T pose for...my sister's neighbor snapped 3 pictures in a row of her kids sitting together on a bench, then she put them in a 3-picture frame....I love it because it does catch them doing the things they do naturally, their little quirks that make them who they are! Also, as mentioned before, get down on their level....see my avatar? That's my baby and my best picture yet! Snap away and have fun!!!
Oops, forgot I changed my avatar! The previous one was taken with me lying on the floor facing him! This one was taken last weekend in the "blizzard!" I think you've got the idea anyway!!!
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Old 02-15-2006, 05:15 AM   #12
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mamakimberly
My #1 rules are:

1. Get closer. Step in, don't let the zoom do the work for you. Get nice and close to your subject.

2. Get on their level. Get down and take the pic on the level of your subject.

I took photojournalism in college and can still hear the prof in my head saying "GET CLOSER!" LOL Now I err on the TOO close side!

#1 doesn't work as well for me. If my kid (age 2 1/2) notices me, he usually stops what he's doing to watch me and reach for the camera. I prefer to use my zoom from farther away and zoom in on what he's doing without distracting him from what he's doing. Maybe when he's a little older...
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Old 02-15-2006, 05:17 AM   #13
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I hear ya zzzach'smom! My 19mo likes to lick the camera if I get too close... she gets distracted and will come over and stick her eyeball on the lens or lick the lens. LOL!
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Old 02-15-2006, 05:21 AM   #14
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mamakimberly
I hear ya zzzach'smom! My 19mo likes to lick the camera if I get too close... she gets distracted and will come over and stick her eyeball on the lens or lick the lens. LOL!
Yuck! LOL! You reminded me of another good piece of advice...keep a good lens cloth handy for cleaning your camera lens. I have one in my camera bag at all times.

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Old 02-23-2006, 05:47 AM   #15
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I got the D Rebel XT for christmas and the very best thing I did was take a class on how best to use my camera. I know that it is a SLR and there is a learning curve but I learned things in my class that pertained to point and shoot cameras as well. If at all possible I recommend taking a class or surfing the web for tutorial sites about digital photography.
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:39 AM   #16
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ZZZach'smom
Yuck! LOL! You reminded me of another good piece of advice...keep a good lens cloth handy for cleaning your camera lens. I have one in my camera bag at all times.

Janna
I have the same problem. They all know that with the digital they can see a picture on the screen and come running. Get a camera with a truely good zoom if your subjects are mainly little kids! As for the "lots of birthday pictures", if you want to use all or most of them, pick a few to highlight and use as your main photos on the page. Print the others small (maybe 2" X 2") or crop them down and use them as a border. That way you don't feel you've waisted the photos but also do not end up with a cluttered page. I'm no pro but that is what works for me. I just went back and looked at the 12 X 12 gallery and BetsyJo has a nice 2 page example of just this idea. It is from a pumpkin patch and she highlights several pictures and has the rest as a top border. Check it out~ http:////www.splitcoaststampers.com/...0&ppuser=27814 !
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