Photog Friday: Alluring a Wild Thing

Happy Friday!!

For today’s tip I’d like to share a technique that not only gets your Wild Thing out of hiding – but will put a smile on their face! It will require an assistant (in my case I used daddy), a little bit of temptation, and is so simple you’ll smack your forehead.

Its important to have your camera settings ready because you won’t have much time to adjust them once you start.

So here it is …

1. Instruct your assistant to get about 30 feet away from you.

2. Call your Wild Thing with a “Oooooh looook what I haaaave!” as you taunt them with a piece of candy (we use dum dums suckers). When you hear your Wild Thing squeal with delight, you’re doing it right! Wait for them to get about a foot from you and toss the candy to your assistant.

3. Have you assistant follow step #2 and toss the candy back so it lands just in front of you. Focus on the Wild Thing as they turn on their heels and head straight for you! If you’re quick about it, you’ll have time to snatch the candy just before they do and toss it back the other way to get ready for another opportunity to shoot them on the way back.

You can take an unwilling, defiant Wild Thing and turn them into a blissful, smiling face in less than 10 seconds … and have the photograph to prove it!

Photog Friday: Tagging your Wild Thing in Abode’s Lightroom

One of the worse things in the world is to wake up in the middle of the night and remember a family outing where you took tons of pictures of but never had time to look at the shots … “there were a few I was kinda excited about … is it too late to post Christmas pictures? … I wonder where those shots are saved”. It will haunt you!

Well, dig through files & folders no more! One of the reasons I started using Lightroom was its keyword tagging feature. Every time I upload a card, I can tag the shots with whatever details I will need to find that set of shots later. I typically use the Month/year, location, name of anyone in most of the shots, and any other detail that might help me find the set of shots later. So, like this: Dec 2010, Balboa Island, Reed, Christmas lights. Because let’s be honest, Christmas time is crazy – its February and I’m just now wondering what shots I got on that trip we took to see the Christmas lights … phew! I tagged them and can find them now without cussing.  It may be too late to post them (or too embarrassing – its almost March) BUT I can at least process them and save JPG memories to be flipped through next year.

Here’s a snapshot of what Lightroom’s tags look like:

I’ve seen I can tag my JPG shots in Windows as well … someday I get to that.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions! And please don’t forget to comment …

Photog Friday: Aperture

Happy Friday!!

We’ve covered the exposure triangle (click HERE for the post) so now I want to build on that a little more for you. To review, the three main areas that you can adjust are ISO, Shutter speed, and Aperture. Let’s talk about Aperture and what you can do when shooting your Wild Thing.

Aperture is basically the opening in the lens when the picture is taken. The bigger the opening, the more light is allowed in (here’s a tip: the more light you let in the fast shutter speed you can use to stop your Wild Thing in motion or in the house). In my opinion, getting a grasp on aperture will allow you to start getting creative with your camera. The best place to start to get out of the full Auto mode is to play with the Av. This will isolate the aperture for you so you can see how your changes in aperture change the way your shot looks.

Points to remember!

  • Aperture is measured in ‘f-stops’You’ve seen the f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 etc. Those numbers refer to the aperture. Moving from one f-stop to the next doubles (or cuts in half) the size of the opening of your lens which will do the same to the amount of light that’s let in. Don’t forget that changing the aperture one stop to the next also doubles or halves the shutter speed to let the same amount of light in. If you’re increasing one, you need to decrease the other to let the same amount of light in. Decreasing your aperture number means you can shoot at a faster shutter speed … because you’re letting in more light … because your opening is bigger. Bigger opening=Larger Aperture=More Light gets in.

  • Larger Apertures will have small numbers The smaller numbers (f/1.4, f/2, f/4) are wider openings or larger apertures. A wider opening means more light will get in but with the larger apertures, less of what you see in the picture is in focus. These larger apertures are used in creative or macro shots where just a small portion of the shot is in focus and the rest is a creamy background/foreground (example shots 3 & 4 below). Use these to isolate your Wild Thing in the shot with a creamy background. The larger numbers (f/11, f/13, f/22) are smaller apertures where less light is let in and more of what is in the shot is in focus. These apertures are used in landscape shots where everything from you the mountains is in focus (example shot 1 below). Use these to tell the story about where or what your Wild Thing is in the middle of with the background details in focus.

    The best way to wrap your brain around it is … wait for it … PRACTICE! I say it every time but practice, practice, practice! I mostly shoot in larger apertures. Why? It let’s in more light, I like the creamy backgrounds, it allows me to shoot faster shutter speeds, and I love the shallow DOF. Its confusing I know, but email me if you have any questions!

    Here are some example shots to help you visualize things.


    1. Small Aperture, Large number, details in background

    Small Aperture, all of the shot is in focus at f/13


    2. Small-Medium Aperture, Medium number

    More is in focus at f/5.6


    3. Larger Aperture, Small number

    Larger Aperture, f/2 makes the background creamy


    4. Larger Aperture, Small Number

    Larger Apertures, f/2 have a shallow DOF (less is in focus)


    Photog Friday: When Wild Things Roam

    Happy Friday!!

    We’ve talked a little about this before, but I thought it was about time for a refresher on – capturing images of Wild Things! (aka toddlers, preschoolers, little guys, anyone yet to have permanent teeth … you get the idea). They can be not only tough but exhausting to capture! If you know one or have one (we’ll pray for you) then you know you have to have a “Plan” ahead of time, thinking your gonna just go out and get great shots of a Wild Thing on the fly is just silly – they’re too smart for thinly disguised motives. The more you want it, the less they cooperate … they can smell desperation from a mile. So, get down wind by having a plan!

    Some tips?

    1. Let Them Roam. Give the wild thing some space. Let them think they’re far enough away that you can’t catch them and ZOOM in! If they don’t see you, they tend to forget about your camera. I’m not suggesting you hide in a bush … but I’ve done it. I’m not ashamed. You can also get shots of them walking (who’s kidding, running) away from you. This will also capture their surroundings.








    2. Ready Your Camera. Once you’re tired of shooting from far off, prepare your camera for tip #3 – action shots. Hopefully, you’re shooting in manual. If not, set your camera to Av mode and the lowest aperture you can. In manual you’ll want to be at the lowest ISO you can (100 for sun, 200 if cloudy or lots of shade). I like to shoot in the lowest f/stop available to me for a creamy background. Then set your shutter speed at least 1/250 but probably 1/400. If you want a “motion blur” to show how fast your Wild Thing is flailing, then you’ll want something slower then probably 1/80. If you’ve been practicing, you’ll have a good feel for where to start and tweak accordingly.






    3. Lure Him Back In. Most Wild Things can’t help but partake in a good game of chase. Now that you’ve given him some room, taunt him back in with a squeal and fake sprint in the opposite direction. The Wild Things instinct will be to giggle and come after you. This will give you the opportunity to flip around and get a couple of shots of him running towards you. A few “ahhhhhh don’t catch me!” and fake runs from you and your Wild Thing may chase you all day.

    Good Luck!

    For more on shooting Wild Things you can read an older post HERE. And comment if you have any questions.

    Photog Friday: Follow Up to Flashing on the Beach

    For those of you that caught the post a couple of weeks ago, I gave some tips on how I was going to attempt to take my own family’s Christmas picture – here’s the follow up! If you missed it, here’s the original post if you CLICK HERE.

    Well, there was a fog advisory that morning but I was determined to get our pictures done so we went anyway! The plan seemed to work well and sparked a flame in me to learn more. I’ve been practicing and hope in the near future to be able to point out some shots I’ve taken with my new skills.

    I think Reed did really well this year! Last year he not only wouldn’t look at the camera but kept running off!

    Here’s what we ended up with …

    Photog Friday: Shutter Speed

    Happy Friday!!

    We’ve covered the exposure triangle (click HERE for the post) so now I want to build on that a little for you. To review, the three main areas that you can adjust are ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. Let’s talk about Shutter speed and what you can/should do when shooting your Wild Thing.

    Shutter speed is basically the amount of time the shutter is open while taking your shot.

    Points to remember!

  • Shutter speed is measured in seconds – Fractions! You pretended to like them in high school, here’s a real world example of why you should have paid attention. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of seconds. The bigger the denominator the faster the speed (ie 1/1000 is faster than 1/30). As I’ve said before, Wild Things are quick so you’ll want to stay around 1/250 to freeze the action. If you get in a situation (like in the house) where you’re shooting around 1/60 or slower, you’ll get a blurry shot – remember when we talked about camera shake?!

  • Shutter speed adjustments will effect exposure. Don’t forget the 3 elements are related. So, a change your shutter speed will mean you’ll need to adjust the aperture. Wanna get technical? Here – increasing shutter speed by one stop and decreasing aperture by one stop should give you similar exposure levels.


  • Wild Things stay in motion. Decide how you want to capture that motion (yes, you have options!). If your Wild Thing is in motion in your scene you have the choice of either freezing the movement (so it looks still, 1/125 or faster) or letting the moving object intentionally blur (giving it a sense of movement, 1/60 or slower). There are times when motion is good. For example, when you’re taking a photo of a Wild Thing on a swing (see last shot below) and want to show how fast the swing is going, or when you’re taking a shot of a Wild Thing racing away (like in the 2nd to last shot) and want to give it a feeling of speed. In these cases, choosing a longer shutter speed will be the way to go. But don’t get too slow or your Wild Thing will end up blurry in the shot too!
  • Faster shutter speeds stop the water in motion.
    Freeze the action
    Create some motion with a slower shutter speed.

    This is "panning" when you follow the subject in motion.

    A good way to practice is to use Av (aperture priority) and watch how your camera adjust to different situations. Then play with that in Manual – that’s right, I’m going to say it again – PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!
    Comment with any questions or input!! I love comments :)

    Photog Friday: Rule of Thirds

    Happy Friday!!
    This week I want to talk a little about the Rule of Thirds. Its definitely something that has helped my photography. I used to use the rule in editing when I cropped my shots, but remember – when you crop down, you’re losing resolution on your shot! So, think about the Rule of Thirds while you’re shooting and save yourself some resolution in the end!

    What is the Rule of Thirds?

    Basically, the principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking up what your seeing into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you end up with 9 parts.


    You can do this in your head as your taking the shot. The intersections on the grid is where you will what to put your points of interest. These are the focus points and where our eyes are drawn to in an image. Anything you put at these points will be emphasized.

    The lines that break up the image are important too. These lines will be what you use to position the elements in your shot.

    In theory, if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo becomes more balanced and will be more pleasing to the viewer. You may be tempted to center your subject but studies have shown that since people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally instead of the center.

    Here’s how you can use the Rule of Thirds … eyes are a great place for the point of focus, here are some of examples:

    Below, I’ve put the subject along the vertical line. This makes him waaay off center and that creates a point of interest on the opposite side of the image (the bird he’s trying to sneak up on). Vertical lines are great points for people, buildings, trees. Horizontal lines work great for horizons &  landscapes.

    Here’s landscape shot, position horizons along one of the horizontal lines to help balance the shot.

    For some the Rule of Thirds is natural but for everyone else it takes a little time and practice for it to become second nature. While you’re practicing :thinking in the rule”, you’ll want to ask yourself:

    • What are the points of interest in this shot?
    • Where am I intentionally placing them?

    And you won’t always be able to take the shot according to the rule and that’s OK!! Just keep it in mind in processing. If you’ve never used that rule before, you should go back to some old shots and apply it – you’ll like your shot much better!