Do you have a good camera and don't know how to use it?
I can teach you all the buttons, dials and menus you can handle.
Start taking photographs that you like!
Hands on instruction: 1 person-$60/hour and a half; 2 persons-$100/hour and a half
Contact me: klmilstein@aol.com

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Waiting for Spring - snow - black & white - portraits

We wait for spring for a very long time here in New England. It will be cold, snowy, muddy and grey until April!

But wait, it's a good time to learn how to photograph snow, think in black and white or take your camera indoors for some natural light portrait photos or set up a mini studio with crushed black velvet draped behind your subject.

If you take your photography indoors find out about the white balance settings on your camera. Don't forget to change the settings to match the light source you are dealing with or you'll have color correction to take care of later. Another thing to keep in mind is the ISO setting. I don't advise setting the ISO to higher than 400 unless you want grain. Sunny - 100ISO, Medium light - 200ISO, Low light - 400ISO Use your tripod!
Setting up a small studio indoors is really easy with just a few basics. For a backdrop you can purchase a length of crushed velvet (no creases will be visible) or polar fleece to hang on the wall. Use available light from a window or one or two well placed lamps will provide side lighting along with ceiling lighting and get a hot shoe and a cord to connect your flash unit to your camera with a bracket or hold the flash off to the side. Use a diffuser with the flash unit. Use your tripod!

Snow reflects a lot of light to your camera and the lens shuts down to compensate. When that happens the snow looks grey and the whole scene is underexposed. You can over ride this by adjusting your exposure compensation to allow in more light. There is a scale that looks something like this: -3...-2...-1...0...+1...+2...+3 on your camera. Choose a setting on the plus side and keep changing it until you have the exposure you want. Don't forget the old saying, "Expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may."

There are many opportunities for black and white photography in the winter: play with light and shadows, fill the frame with shapes,angles and objects, architecture, machines, basements and attics to name a few.

My other favorite thing to do after the holidays is to really examine all those images that keep piling up in my computer. You might find a great image with a fresh eye and a new crop!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Photo Frame - A Basic How To

My kids (the outside two) and their friends and our dog, Chance, who is hiding because she hates cameras!
Photo Frames - What a great idea! Once you get the hang of it, a digital photo frame is a lot of fun! You can create slide shows with very cool transitions from photo to photo. Display all of your photos from your last vacation or family event. If you are in the market to buy one I recommend doing some on-line research to help you choose. This article in PC Magazine gives great advice on how to buy a photo frame. There are many sizes and a lot of extra features that you may or may not want.
My daughter gave me my little toy for my birthday. It took me a few days to collect and size 65 family photos from the last 4 years and put them together for a digital slide show. Some photo frames have software to compress your jpegs (the only format they accept) to the correct resolution size but some do not. Mine does not. If the photo was too big then the edges of the picture was lost as if I had cropped it. At this point I started reading the manual (always a good idea) and found the resolution size: 480 x 234, which is about 4" x 3" at 100 resolution. This is a good size for a photo that you want to insert into an email - very small! Photos this small lose a lot of sharpness because they just don't have a lot of pixels.
So the challenge is to resize your images to the dimensions that fit the specifications of your photo frame. How can you do this? Use a program for editing photos that allows you to resize your images. And email or call me if you have any problems!
After I resized and saved these jpeg images in a folder that I had named "pix for the photo frame", I copied the contents of the folder to one of the SD cards I use in my camera. All photo frames will take all the popular sizes of cards. The 1 GB cards are fairly inexpensive these days and you can easily overwrite with a new set of images. So you can put together several different slide shows and save them on your hard drive in separate folders.
I took the photo frame with me to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner, plugged it in, and shared the photos I had collected of all of us for the last 4 years. Everybody loved it!