July 14, 2007

Photography


Photography:

Please visit my official website, MakiB Photography, to view my portfolio.


Tips and Tidbits:

I'm a self-taught photographer and have a deep love for photography.

I often have people asking about camera equipment and photography. Here are my basic tips for you newbies out there:

Camera:

  • DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera)? If you are planning to step up in cameras, I'd recommend you buy a digital slr. I have an entry-level crop-sensor DSLR. It is an older model: Canon Digital Rebel xt that I bought many years ago, and I absolutely love it.
  • Crop-sensor or full-frame cameras? Most of the introductory line dslr’s are crop-sensor cameras. Generally the higher-end (more expensive) cameras are full-frame. If you are starting out in the photosnappin’ world, I recommend the less expensive crop-sensors. It is both fully-automatic and fully-manual with regard to functions, just like full-frame cameras. Most of the full-frame camera's are generally bigger, heavier and give photographers less noise at higher ISO settings, a little more wide-angle advantages and maybe bigger screens on the back.
  • Manufacturer? Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, etc? They are all reputable brands and they all have entry-level & high-end cameras into the dslr world. I can’t answer this one for you. Do your research and go with what feels more comfortable for you.
  • Lens? The kit lens that comes with most cameras are multi-purpose and would probably do you fine for what your needs are. I bought a used Canon EF 50mm F1.8 for $60 that I used for a long time for my food photography. Nothing fancy or expensive but it gave me wonderful results. I do use a more expensive multi-purpose lens now but it’s really not that necessary.
  • Flashes? I try to use natural light as much as I can, however, sometimes, you need a flash. I often tell people to forgo spending lots of money on the camera body and instead save it for a flash. The itty-bitty flash on the camera isn’t very good and trust me, a basic add-on flash will change your photography.
  • My #1 Camera Tip? I really recommend you go and hold a variety of cameras. If it feels too heavy or clunky, you are less likely to bring it along with you or even use it. Trust me on this.

Photography:

  • Let there be Light! I use natural light almost all the time. The more, the better. Get thee to a window! Too harsh? Use a white curtain or see-through material to soften the light. If you are using a flash, try bouncing the light off a wall, ceiling or other reflective material. Straight-on flash often gives harsh results.
  • Reflect that Light: Once you got a source of light streaming in from a window, reflect it back. Use a mirror, tin foil or spend $5 on white foamcore from the art store. It will light up your subject, brighten up the area so you are less likely to have blurry image and give you a different look.
  • Angles, Angles, Angles: Who says you have to take a picture of the whole plate of food. Boring. Get in closer and take a picture of half the plate. Take a picture from up top, 45 degree angle or get down lower. Experiment. Changing even the slightest angle or getting closer to your subject really makes a difference.
  • Snap a lot: Really. That’s the beauty of digital, you can take hundreds of photos and keep the best 2-3 and delete the rest.
  • Picture processing: I use Photoshop to post-process all my photos. Post-processing is something I’m not really going to expand on here since that would take up an entire 2 years worth of blogposts … and some.

Hope that gives you a starting point to head down the camera buying and picture-taking world.

For more info, my fellow blogger, Simone at Junglefrog Cooking, has also written some amazing photography tutorial posts that will help you out if you are looking for more info. You can find the tutorials here.

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