Thursday, February 7, 2013

Photo Challenge Link-Up!

You all know by now that I'm no pro at taking photos, but I have definitely come a very long way in my two years of holding a DSLR.  And while I still find myself making novice editing faux-pauxs, I thought I could pass along just some basic tips to help some of you who are just starting out.  What better day to do so than while participating in a photo challenge link up?  This week's challenge is self-portraits, which can be difficult to do without ending up with a Myspace pic [you know what I'm talking about].
Before I get to the pictures and my own ways of taking a self portrait without holding the camera at arm's length, here are some other tips:
1) Take it off of auto mode.  Yes, auto is our go to setting with all cameras.  I promise you, though, that by putting it on manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority, you will see a gigantic difference in your photos.  Seriously.  They won't start off that great [lots of under/over exposed pics coming your way], but it'll force you to pay attention to your surroundings and get used to the other controls of your camera.  Eventually, your pics will look like a pro.  Don't know what your settings are?  Youtube or read your manual.
2)  Play with manual focusing.  Auto focusing is fantastic, and very very useful, especially when your subject does a lot of moving.  I usually use auto focus 24/7, unless dealing with patient and still adults or when taking landscape/nature pictures.  But manual focusing allows for more creative shots, and can be tons of fun.

Okay!  Here is my before picture:
This is taken from a distance using a timer, without a remote.  It can be tricky to get your camera to have the correct depth of field, and thus focusing where you want it to without standing in front of the camera while focusing.  This one still isn't exactly right, but I was tired of posing.  It took some trial and error, but what I ended up doing was first focusing on the window exactly to the right of where I would be standing.  It helps to have dirty windows *ahem*.  I then manually adjusted the focus, bringing it forward just a tad to compensate for the fact that I wasn't exactly on the same plane as the window, standing in front of it instead.  Basically:
1) Focus on window in general area of where I'll be standing.  Dirty windows help keep track of the spot you're focusing on.  Another trick?  Use a corner: doorway or wall to focus on, then stand even with it!
2) Adjust focus [manually] if you will be standing slightly in front of your original focus spot [window].  If not, then leave it!  Using that corner of the door or wall, just make sure your desired focal point is even with it.
3) Use a larger f-stop so your depth of field is not too shallow.  The higher aperture allows for imperfect focusing, instead including more objects both in the foreground and background in the focus.
4) Use a timer!  No awkward arm in the way trying to press the button

Final results?  Ta-da!
[I wanted the focus on the heart.  I breathed on the window and drew a heart first, then used that as a guide of where to focus my camera]
[focus is a little too close to the camera for my liking...I would've preferred it to be on the eyes]
Thanks for hosting the link up ladies!  Can't wait 'til next week :)  
Questions, comments, requests or concerns?  Or maybe you want to yell at me since I don't know how to correctly use photography lingo?  Email or comment!


  1. goddammit what's with you and all these beautiful pictures lately? Also, my camera doubles as..well..a cellphone.....


  2. This is great! It's scary leaving auto mode haha. Thanks for the tips!

  3. How did you get a picture with a window behind you to turn out?! Love both pics!!!

  4. Hello, I just wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Liebster Award. All the information on taking part are on my blog, if you choose not to participate that's cool too. Just wanted to let you know I think you're nifty.


  5. Thanks so much for linking up!
    Not only do I love your pictures but also all the tips!
    I love that heart shot, and really you're pretty face in general.

  6. What a beautiful picture of you! Crazy crazy beautiful!!



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