Ok, I'm finally back for round 2 of my simple steps to achieving better photos. Sorry it's been 3 weeks or so but I didn't have a computer for 2 of those weeks. Plus my models have been unwilling to sit still lately for my lesson photos.
Lesson 2: Turn off that flash!
This is another easy step that makes a huge difference in photos. When I talk about flash I'm referring to that annoying burst of light that you get when you set your camera on auto...the built-in flash on point and shoots or the pop-up flash that you find on dSLRs. Now, I do understand that there will be times when a flash is necessary...like indoor snapshots at night especially if you are using a p&s camera. Flash does have it's place but I urge you to shut it off whenever you have access to natural sunlight. I have seen people, on more than one occasion, who will close their blinds during the day so that they can take a photo using their flash. Why people...why?!!! Don't do that! It takes every ounce of my strength to contain myself and keep from leaping forward and tackling those offenders! It makes me sweat just thinking about it. Now of course you don't want harsh streams of light pouring over your subject so if thats the case move your subject to a different area where the lighting is more even.
Today I took a series of photos to show you the difference between a snapshot with a flash and a photo without it.
This is what I find when I look in most people's photo albums. A cute kid in the midst of surrounding "stuff" with that harsh flash lighting. Now you might look at this photo and think "Hey, that looks like my photos...what's wrong with that?"!! Well, honestly in this photo the flash isn't too terrible with exception of the red-eye effect but those toys in the background are a bit distracting.
To give you a better idea I did a close-up. Now if you didn't know any better you'd look at this photo and would think that it looked just fine. However, it's completely un-natural looking especially with those red pupils. You can read more about "red-eye" here. You can't even tell from looking at this photo that it was taken in a sun-filled room. It looks no different than it would if it was taken at night. Once you see the no flash comparison you'll see what I mean.
Aaahhhh, soooo much better....like a breath of fresh air. This is a much better representation of what the eye actually sees. That's what a camera is for ya know...to capture an image of what the eye sees. The eye sees it perfect and true and a camera tries to replicate that. The better your camera and the more you know how to use it the better your results will be. This was taken with my Sony Cybershot 7.2mp p&s. With a p&s you may get some extra noise (the graininess you sometimes see in photos) but by positioning your subject towards the light source (like a window) your camera will focus and expose easier and you'll get less noise.
Here is the same shot taken with my Nikon d90 and 35mm lens. Because I have more control over the settings with this type of camera it is easier for me to get the right exposure than with a p&s. However in this case the resulting images are very similar.
And just for fun I added a texture and then cloned out that baseboard to get a more uniform backdrop. Pretty cool huh?
I hope you all will make an effort to turn off those flashes this week. The results can be amazing! Happy Monday all!!
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