The day in Austin, TX was beautiful today, so I thought I would grab the camera, gold light reflector, my daughter and her puppy Bella and take some quick photos. Of course the trickiest thing when taking photo’s is getting your daughter to choose an outfit. After about 10 minutes of helping her decide that the blue dress would look best, we proceeded to take some great photo’s.
It’s always a challenge to get both the a puppy and 5 y/o to look at the same time and get some good photos. You will see I picked the best 12 out of about 50 photo’s that I took. One downside of taking phto’s outdoors is the squinting, so you have to take a lot of photo’s to find a couple of good ones. I use the premise, take a lot of quantity to get the one or two quality photo’s. With DSLR camera’s there isn’t anything to worry about, when you take to many photo’s. They are easily deleted if they weren’t any good.
See the best 12 Photo’s below.
A gallery: Longhorn Cavern – Burnet, TX
Took the family on a Day trip in the Texas Hill Country. We went to Burnet, TX to the Longhorn Caverns. We went on a 1.5 Mile hike underground through the Cavern’s. I took these photo’s with the stand-by camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7. This camera take very nice pictures!
I took a Business Trip to Las Vegas on March 7-8th. I didn’t take my Nikon with me on this trip, as I didn’t think I would get that many opportunities to take a lot of photo’s. I am a firm believer, that the Camera doesn’t make the Photographer. Good photo’s are a combination of framing, proper lighting and artistic eye. So good pictures are taken with the best camera you have on hand. Better to take a good photo with camera you have with you, then not get the shot at all. In this case it was my iPhone 4.
You might have heard the term HDR photo. So what is High Dynamic Range (HDR)? Photographs taken in HDR are achieved by caputuring multiple photographs using a technique called exposure bracketing (I used my Nikon D90 and used exposure bracketing settings of -2, 0, +2 exposure). The photographs are then merged together using HDR Software. I use HDR Photo software called Photomatix Pro and then use Adobe Lightroom and/or PhotoShop to improve overall picture quality and modify the image to get the result I wanted. Click on HDR Photos to see examples of my HDR photo’s.
The UPS guy deliver my new Manfrotto Tripod (190XPROB) and Manfrotto Ball Head (496RC2) from B&N Photography today. I took it outside a few minutes ago to try it out. All I can say is wow!!!! It is so much better than the $49.99 SunPak 6200DX Tripod I bought at Best Buy April 2010. Don’t get me wrong the tripod I bought at Best Buy tripod was nice when I got it. The only issue I had with it was how long it took to adjust it. There were so many lever and arms and knobs to spin it, move it up or down or adjust the angle. Also the camera even after locked in, there was some minimal movement. I just never realized how much I didn’t like the Tripod until I started having to do a lot of adjustments when I began doing Portrait photography.
This tip requires the use of Adobe PhotoShop. I’m not going to tell you the exact steps to replace a background on a photo. I discovered how to replace backgrounds by googling “replace background with Adobe PhotoShop”, and I discovered many step by step instructions on how to do this, as well as Video’s on YouTube, that helped walk me through it the very first time I did it.
To anyone new to the Digital Photography world, you will learn more about the advanced features & functions of your DSLR Camera. One of the biggest challenges in making your photo’s look right is getting the White Balance and exposure set correctly. White Balance is basically the light conditions you are taking your photo’s. In your camera you set the white balance by selecting one of the presets; flash, daylight, cloudy, florescent, night, or some other option. When you set the white balance you are setting the coolness or warmth of the available light for your photo. Digital Sensor’s in the camera need to have this set correctly to recreate what naturally occurs with film camera’s.
Photoshop can do some amazing things to any photo you have taken. Using Photoshop is great, but you should always strive to take the best photo you can by properly setting the exposure, white balance, focus, aperature, and shutter speed. (I will include several tips on how to set those things in my tip’s section in the future) But as you can see in the example shown above, with photoshop you can take an ‘okay’ or ‘good’ photo and turn it into a ‘Better’ Photo.
The ‘Before’ Photo was taken at the Grand Canyon in 2005 using my old Canon S100 (2.1MP). The Canon was my first digital camera and it could fit in your pocket. I took a lot of photo’s with it and was very happy with it. Between 2000 & 2009 I pretty much just used the automatic setting on my camera when I took my pictures. In this photo at the Grand Canyon I just aimed, focused, and shot! As you can see the sky was washed out, the photo wasn’t properly exposed, there wasn’t very good detail. So this was a ‘nice’ or ‘okay photo but it wasn’t a Good or Great Photo. It was in a word ‘Plain’. So this is where PhotoShop comes in….
With the power of Photoshop, I was able to apply a couple of enhancements to the photo to arstically improve it. I had taken another photo of the sky the day when I was at the Grand Canyon. There had been some storm clouds that day and it was later in the day. In the ‘After’ photo the sky was removed and replaed with my cloudy sky. Since the sky was darker and there was darker clouds, the landscape needed to darkened or shaded, that would naturally occur if those clouds had been there. I used a seperate PhotoShop Layer and started painting a darker Exposure on just the portion of the mountain’s that I wanted to darken. This is where you take artistic license and determine where you think the shadow’s would be, if those clouds had really been there. So in this case I subtracted two exposures (-2) to the paint brush when I changed I applied the shadows. In this photo I also removed a portion of the tree on the left of the picture, because I didn’t like it in my photo. I also applied some additional effects to the final photo such as applying sharpening and more detail to the photo.
I don’t normally use PhotoShop to make a lot of changes any longer unless I want to create new photo’s using two or more sources to create something new, such as this photo demonstrates. Since my skills as a photographer have improved, I try to get my shot right first, then fix minor issues using PhotoShop, such as removing Power Lines, random tree’s or other artifact’s that couldn’t be done at the source.
Scott Kelby TV has a lot of good Video Pod Cast’s that will show you how to use PhotoShop as well as Lightroom to fix, minor problems with your photo’s