Shooting Outdoors

Week 7 of the Two Peas tutorial – and I’ve only been at this for just over a week myself!

This week they’d like to shoot outdoors. I really love this idea, but since I live in an apartment, usually this means making a special trip. I was able to get outdoors for a little bit this week though and get a couple shots of my son and husband playing with a hose.

The point of the assignment was to realize where the light is and how it works. I did notice some problems with exposure, for example on some images I didn’t adjust my settings for my kid’s face but rather for the overall scene, leaving him super dark. In other images, he was super light (¬†underexposed and¬†overexposed in photo terms).

I’ve done some editing to the images below. Here’s my “outdoor” set!

Shooting Indoors – Trial and Error

I hate it. I truly hate it. At least here I do. My apartment, though bright all day long, doesn’t get enough light for me to take great pictures with the kit lens that came with my camera. I just can’t get the f/stop low enough to get a quick enough shutter speed to use my camera without the tripod.

OKAY Maybe that isn’t 100% true – but I’m really just not that great at it, and I prefer the tripod help me get the stability I’d like for clear images. The rest of the work involves RAW editing.

For week 6, Two Peas in a Bucket suggested taking indoor images using as much natural light as possible. Oh and remembering to meter your camera to the subject in your photo, not the windows or lights nearby just in case!

Here’s a shot I took of my son in his “tent” playing with white Christmas lights.

I took this image using a tripod, but I couldn’t tell you if this was one of the shots where it was on the ground, or one where I was using it just as a stabilizer against my leg.

I had the window off to the right behind the Christmas lights. I also used a higher ISO to avoid the noise I get with the 1600 ISO on my camera.

I’ve also adjusted the white balance here and highlighted his eyes a bit. Goodness but I love Photoshop!

Composition at a Glance

So lesson 5 in the Two Peas in a Bucket study happens to be composition.

Composition is a very vast and detailed conversation. I’ve found countless resources telling people what the “correct” composition is, and I will tell you one thing – you can have technically perfect composition and still hate your image, or you can toss caution to the wind and find an image you love.

Still, I’m familiar with the rule of thirds. I like it a lot, and try to use it when shooting photos to avoid “boring” shots. For those of you that are unfamiliar – the rule of thirds is simple – you divide your view into three rows and three columns (thirds), giving you a grid. Then the goal is to either A) Keep the main subject of your image in one third of the image (or the bottom third, the corner etc.), or B) Purposely put your subject in the center, framing them with the remaining images.

When I was in North Carolina visiting my in-laws, one of my mother-in-laws (I have two amazing mother-in-laws) lent me her Nikon D-SLR and let me go shoot pictures while she was busy. One of the images has since become my favorite picture of my husband and son, but it is also a great example of composition.

Also, I want to note that I had the camera on automatic with flash (if needed) since it wasn’t my camera to mess around with. I also have edited the RAW file here and added a few layers in Photoshop to make it look the way I want. This is not SOOC (for those who don’t know – that stands for “Straight Out Of Camera”), but it’s a great example of composition none the less.

Note how my husband and kiddo’s heads are off to the left of the image, leaving the right side of their bodies on the center line, and the right side of the image is all background.

Anyway, I think it’s downright handsome.

White Balance

My God is this a highly complicated subject. At least that’s how it feels when you start. I’m still having trouble understanding it entirely – but basically some light has warm tones and some has cool tones.

Sometimes artificial light can create harsh tones that aren’t overly realistic. Adjusting your White Balance on the camera can create a more realistic and natural approach.

Two Peas in a Bucket suggested taking a photo using Auto WB, Tungsten, and then creating a Custom white balance (you can see all of this explained in their 12 week tutorial).

I had read recently that you can also use a neutral grey in order to balance your images properly. I even printed out my own neutral grey card.

So below you’ll see my AWB photo, my Tungsten one, a Custom White Balance using a white piece of paper and my camera, and then one that I’ve edited in Adobe Camera RAW using my grey card.

Auto White Balance using Camera Settings

Tungsten Settings via Camera

Custom White Balance in Camera

Grey Card and Auto White Balance using Adobe Camera RAW

DIY Camera Gear: Grey Card

If you look at my “Camera Bag” page, you’ll notice that I have a pretty nice professional photo printer (not something you can get for $50 at Wal-Mart). I’m telling you this because I plan to print all of my images using this printer.

I don’t want to spend a lot on my photography right now because I’m just too new at it and I don’t want to buy the wrong items and waste money. I see a lot of people mention grey cards, but they seem to be something I don’t know if I’ll use a lot.

I decided to create my own. I found a few different suggestions online, but it’s pretty basic. You need a card that is neutrally colored to calibrate your camera shots. This means your RGB levels all must be equal.

SO here’s how to create a grey card:

1. Open Photoshop and create a new fill layer

2. Set the color using the RGB settings: R: 209, G: 209, B: 209.

3. Print and Use!