Today I was determined to stretch my photographic muscles so I went out to our yard equipped only with my kit lens…
The truth of the matter is this: I almost NEVER want to use my kit lens now that I have my 50mm 1.8.
Your kit lens is an old friend
My kit lens is the lens I first had. I couldn’t afford to buy another. It was the lens I chose to use even over the zoom lens that came along in the pack. One thing I was always frustrated with my kit lens over…was it’s adamant refusal to go above f/4.0 almost all the time. The smallest # I was gonna’ get—was f/3.5. And that only showed up on manual mode in rare conditions. So the blurring of my backgrounds in portraits was mediocre at best. But with some practice you tend to learn a few things. I was determined to use those tricks in today’s nature walk and really get my creative juices going with my kit lens.
I made new discoveries with my kit lens.
2. I learned to accept limitations and overcome them, even in portraits.
But the point is limiting yourself can be one of the greatest ways to overcome obstacles and get better.
Limiting myself with my old lens
So out I went with just my kit lens for two reasons:
I want to get better.
Limiting myself teaches me patience and creativity.
If you’re still stuck with your kit lens…appreciate it! It’s tough when you see friends of yours or other people with nicer lenses (who get that lovely bokeh so easily, while you have to work hard to get it!) and cameras. I remember always looking enviously at close friends who had nice cameras and wondering if my turn to get one would ever come. Sometimes God opens doors when we least expect then. So don’t worry. Save up to buy that lens (or camera)– but in the meantime work hard to get that bokeh, work your hardest to get a shallow depth of field in your portraits. It’s possible. Just difficult. But when you practice it can become much easier. (I’m still practicing–haven’t hit ‘perfection’ yet 😉 )
I was very surprised and pleased at the pictures I ended up getting. :blush:
Old limitations…what’s next?
I have something of a history with limitations. First, the fact that I had no camera. Then the fact I used my sister’s (not-so-great) point-and-shoot. Then the fact I (finally!) got my Canon Eos Rebel t6. Then I only had my kit lens. And then last year sometime a dear friend gave me my 50mm. THAT was a wonderful day. Everything has just been going to new levels since then.
One super neat thing–because I have been learning new things every day with my camera…now when I pick up my kit lens it’s not quite as hard to get pleasing images. As the photographer, it’s up to you to make your images great. Don’t just rely on your camera to automatically know how to be a good photographer. Your camera (lens, etc) isn’t the photographer. You are!
So, now what?
I have a plan for the next four years of my photography. It’s not a complete plan—but it is a purchasing plan.
I have decided on the next two lenses that I will buy.
Left: The canon 85mm f/1.8 prime lens! Right: The ef-s canon 35mmf/2.8 macro IS-STM (prime)
Aren’t they gorgeous? They both run in the somewhere below $400 range which isn’t the $1,000 range…so I’m happy. But this will still take 2-3 years of saving I’m guessing. I’ve wanted a macro lens for a while and this one looks like the perfect fit for me. It even has an lcd light to help me see close up. It has a clear focusing rate of 5.16 inches (means I can get that close to the subject!!) which sounds amazing to me. The 85mm looks like an amazing addition to the portrait side of things and a great idea to expand for my future business (next 2-4 years, DV.). I want to possibly get into more newborn photography and I’v always wanted to take close-up macro shots of things like baby toes, fingers, engagement rings, etc. I can’t wait. But basically I’m going to set up a budget and hopefully get a job to go toward investing in my photography business.
Who knows what the future will bring? But this girl’s looking forward to seeing what it brings for sure! *thumbs up
In what ways are you limited as a photographer?
Do you have any tips/experiences you’d like to share?
What are your goals for the future on the photography side of things?
Crushing on any lenses? (drooling, dreaming, etc. 😀 )
P.S USING AN OLD LENS OR LIMITING YOURSELF BY TAKING ONLY HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL SHOTS FOR A DAY IS A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY EXERCISE. LOOK FOR CREATIVE WAYS TO LIMIT YOURSELF.
In my mind…timing is everything. It pertains to the lighting, the expression of the models face, and the mood. If you time something incorrectly, you might miss a special moment.
What Time is Nicest?
This is honestly a matter of personal preference. I would say golden hour (there are two!), and for me the last one. I have been awake (for the first golden hour) approximately one first golden hour and it was before I got my camera 😥 . But find what works best for you. I know of people who’s favorite time based on lighting to photograph is twilight.
But now some photos I recently took during golden hour…including the white dress 😀 .
Check Before You Snap!
I am awful, terrible, dreadful- when it comes to following this. I am always forgetting to check and see if something distracting is in my frame. I forget to take another look at the expressions on my models’ faces. And I also forget to check my settings. One shift can change your exposure. And especially during the golden hour! For instance…I think that where I live I have less time in the golden hour. This is not because my golden hour isn’t an hour. It’s because our property only gets the lovely light as long as I can follow it.
This means I’m constantly getting my subjects to move for me.
“Oh, the light’s moved again! Can we move this way a little? Maybe stand right there…uh…not there. There! Much better!”
So if you’re in a rush…the goal is to make sure your pictures don’t look rushed. Stay calm and check the settings before you press the shutter.
check to make sure the model’s hands aren’t placed stiffly.
check your exposure on the meter.
check to make sure the model is standing straight, but not stiffly (if they’re standing).
check the background.
access the negative space in your image.
Once again, the timing is everything!
Here’re a few more pictures before I close out this post.
So…this post is making me blush (😊) just a little. Because what I was doing wrong…should have been pretty obvious. Confused? You should be. In Texas this week I learned two lovely things that will stick with me always.
1. I WAS FOCUSING WRONG.
I literally have been having the hardest time getting my camera to focus where I want it to. I see other people who have similar trouble. But their trouble is generally just getting pin-sharp focus.
My problem was I could not get my focus points to adjust on MY VIEWFINDER. Isn’t that sad?😂 It cracks me up now to think of it. But when Sarah (a lovely photographer friend… go follow her new blog here.) told me that her camera does indeed select points while looking in the viewfinder–I knew it was time to look it up. This picture sums up what I figured out…
Pretty much you just press the magnifier button while looking in your viewfinder and the focus point will light up. Then you use the dial to find the focus point you want. It’s so fast…and it makes me happy. My life is changed 🙂 . But here is the article I got this tip from for Canon users. Notice when you click it how it’s a dummies article 😀 . That always makes me feel pretty stupid! lol.
And now an experiment showing you the difference between my old (LOOOOONNNGGGG) way of focusing on the live view screen vs. the new way.
These are unedited. The first photo is the new method. I was able to quickly and easily focus on the last screw (which is what I wanted to do). In the second photo the focus is all over the place and it’s a little hard to tell WHAT I was focusing on. Was it a screw in the middle? Or the bigger tool? Or maybe the little screw off to the right?….see what I mean? Both these photos were taken on the same manual settings which you can view if you click on the collage.
2. I WAS EDITING LAMELY.
With the editor I am now privileged to have I could do the basic edits much better than I was doing. My friend from Texas (Sarah again!) has Lightroom as her editor. I have an editor less pristine…but it does some of the same things. My problem was mainly flat images. Here’s an example (I used my reflector for this image).
Thanks to the reflector the light was pretty even in the photo. But my friend from Texas does something which is very simple and never even crossed my mind. She increases temperature! Literally temperature increase is my new favorite thing. I’m pretty sure I did about 0 changes on the second image except temp increase. And just look at the difference. Temp difference corresponds with white balance, btw. Here’s another one of a cat…
For this image I just cropped it…and increased the temperature. I love how it came out. Here’s a tripod timie of me. All that was done here was temperature increase, cropping, and a quick exposure fix.
My thoughts on temperature increase on the whole: I love it! It seems to just really provide a pop. And it seems to make sunlight look more like…sunlight 😀 .
And that’s what I learned in Texas! It was so lovely to spend time with my bestie and rub off eachother in the photography realm. There’s so much to learn. Also Sarah took my senior photos while we were there…and I love em! Here is a sneak peek of one of them that I love.
I couldn’t decide if I liked the color or the black and white one better yet. So I just put both. Click on the collage for full size and resolution.
And a sneak peek of the shoot I did of Sarah while we were in Texas. We edited them using Lightroom.
And again…couldn’t decide which I liked better 😀 😉 .
And a sneak peek from the senior shoot I just did of my friend! Editing is coming along splendidly. I don’t know if I’ll be sharing those photos or not. We’ll see. This is a more creative shot and one she wanted to do. Nice idea, btw. ❤
What do you think of temperature increase?
Do you as a rule like color or black and white better?
Then there are just nice settings to improve white balance and softening. Like in this image:
All in all…it’s been a ride.
I do acknowledge that this sort of editor COULD make one lazy. But I refuse to be that type of person when it comes to editing. I still prefer quality from my camera…I only like basic editing for my actual photography stuff.
I have been gone from this blog for a week. This needs an explanation, right? Well maybe it doesn’t need one. But I’ll give you one anyway. The update comes in the form of three key things.
I am now using a really nice computer with a high resolution monitor. It’s so nice, and photos look amazing on it. 😀
The old photo editor was deleted off the old computer. So I am learning to use Photo Director 3 (which comes free on windows). Photo Director 3 reminds me a lot of Lightroom. It’s WAY nicer than Picasa 3, and any of the other free things I’ve used. But because it’s more complicated, it’s taking longer to get the hang of.
I am getting more and more restrictions. I now have way less time to post.
Due to these things…expect less posting. It might only end up being once a week or less.
That stuff said…I have been experimenting with Black and White photography. None of the following images received much (or for most of them, none) editing. I was going for a moody feeling in these images. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them.
So I put on some mascara and lipstick, then afterward used the retouch tool to remove an ittsy bit of poison ivy. I have had poison ivy for a little over a week now. But it’s mostly gone.
Today I am sharing some of my recentest photography from five stages of a day.
Day, Golden Hour (2nd), Twilight, Sunset, and Night.
I am excited to be finally doing a ‘stages of the day’ post. So here we go.
p.s. This isn’t the kind of post I can keep to my ‘just 5 pictures’ rule. 😀
Back to the normal digital photos!
Just a few quick golden hour photos with my sis Ellie 🙂 .
So twilight sort of gives you a blueish lighting. It’s between golden hour and sunset. You’d be surprised at how fast it comes after golden hour and then how fast sunset runs on the heels of twilight!
This is legit guys, not a white balance problem.
I have sunsets from two days. They are extremely different from one another. The first is fiery and cloudy (right after a tornado warning came for our area!), and the second is what I call “rainbow lighting”.
And that is a wrap!
Don’t go yet…
I have a surprise for you…
That cute, furry little (gulp) guy was found in one of the bedrooms. He was so HUGE. And scary. And hairy…ew. 😛
Here are some quick photos that I took while @ the conference.
I’m doing pretty good with this limit thing. These are literally very random snippets from the conference I just got back from. Hope you enjoyed them anyway.
p.s. Guess what guys? I am going to be doing a newborn session sometime this weekend! I am so excited and impatient to give newborn photography a try. I am frantically pinning ideas on a special pinterest board here. So I guess we’ll see if I actually use any of these! 😉
Being right where I am in photography, has landed me THUNK!…in the middle of the editing vs. no editing ‘debate’. Now, I think the majority of us know that ‘real’ photographers all edit to some extent. Been there- had my dreams shattered 😀
Instead of necessarily saying one or the other…I am going to do a fun little post on my cost-efficient style of editing and share some of my favorite shots before and after. I am pretty excited about this…so let’s get it done!
1. Sunbeams through the clouds.
(this is just a random nature shot…which I took through a moving car’s window. This isn’t a favorite exactly.)
2. Sweet little boy.
Maybe you are starting to get a feel for my style of editing. I prefer to go for less editing and more on-camera quality. But sometimes some things can just be popped with a well-polished edit. In case you’re wondering-I use Picasa 3. I have used many other free sites (picmonkey, fotor, gimp, etc.) and liked them alright but this one has worked so much better for me.
3. Sweet little boy’s sweet little sister. 🙂
Isn’t she so adorable? The one thing that stands out the most to me in the ‘after’ is the color. It seems like it just pops a lot more. The thing that isn’t so nice is the enhancement of the orange tone. But one must make sacrifices. 😦
4. Get him, Sheriff!
5. Wild ‘Nightlock’.
Ahhh…I never really let anyone know that I was proud of this photo. But I am. Taken on my 50mm lens during the golden hour, and producing those giant circular bokehs ! I really am very happy with this photo. I even like the original (though, I must admit- the edit pops the bokehs much better!).
6. Golden hour B&W+bokehs galore.
Taken the same time as my ‘nightlock’ photo…during the golden hour. One thing I like to say about bokehs is the more golden the light is (or the more light there is) the more bokehs. Or if you have TOO much sun, you might get sun flare too 😀 . The before photo looks like it is flooded with light. The second looks like it still had that lovely light…but is higher in contrast.
7. Rainbow cedar.
There isn’t a huge amount of difference from the two photos I don’t think. But I still like the edit.
“Aliquotiens means ‘several times’ or ‘many times’.”
Time for another adventure! This time we will roam all over the Figura property and beyond during the golden hour. Expect to see dogs, nature, a barn, and lots of golden light + some black and white (I am a poet, and you did not know it 😛 ).
It’s amazing the kinds of things you find when on an adventure. I found an old children’s keyboard in the junky section behind our property.