Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Appearances can be deceiving...

I absolutely LOVE taking photographs. I have about 14 gigs of photos on my computer from the past few years, (and that does not include the boxes of photographs collected from before the digital camera era started.) One of my favorite things to do is to sit back in my chair at the computer with my feet propped up and reminisce while watching random slide shows of photos from the past. (Ah, the sweet memories of when my kids were little angels.)

It was while I was watching one such slide show a few weeks ago that a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I am not a good photographer! (In fact, I am actually pretty dang horrible.) My pictures are boring. I have no creativity when it comes to subjects, angles, posing, lighting, backgrounds… I just plop the person in the middle of the frame and take the picture with no thought as to the surroundings.

It’s not that I think my pictures aren’t worth keeping… they serve the purpose; I just think I can do better. If this is what my posterity is going to be looking at, surely I could be a little more imaginative and attempt to give the pictures some additional life.

Take this picture of my mom and dad for example. They look so cute together, but what was I thinking when I took the pic? (I wasn’t! That was the problem!) I didn’t even notice that my dad was right in front of Jenna’s huge clock, subsequently making it look like he had an afro on his head.

After analyzing several folders of pictures, (and seeing how much help I needed), I decided to participate in a free online photography class offered by HP… nothing fancy… just four VERY basic units that required reading and learning, practicing and then taking a three question quiz at the end of each unit.

What a blast I have had! Now, I am not claiming to be a photography pro, (so don’t be analyzing all my future photographs…), but I have had my eyes opened up to a lot of things that I have just never thought of!

For example… most of us know there is more than just an “auto” mode on our camera, but do we know what any of the other settings are? (Or even better yet, do we dare to use them?) Check out these pics I took on “macro” mode, and see if you can guess what the last two are. (Quality of all pictures has been HUGELY compressed for web page use.)

I then started playing around with abstract photos with a sepia color setting. Here is a self portrait that I kind of liked…

After learning about lighting, I was at Jenna’s house and saw this… I just had to grab my camera. I think the way the natural light comes through the window and hits Rylie is pretty cool!

Anyway, if your pictures suffer from “I-can’t-shoot-crap” disorder like mine do, then maybe you would like to check out this class that can help unlock your mind a little:

Current "just-for-me-time" project: Fun with Picasa (free download) & then maybe Photoshop! :)


Tammy said...

I love the close up of DeAnna! that is so creative! (jk, i know it is you!) I do notice a big improvement already in your pictures!...hmm..maybe us sucky picture takers can change...I will give it a shot..(that means I actually have to rememeber my camera!!)

Denise said...

I'm definitely going to take that online course. I really want to get better. Thanks for sharing.

MaryBeth said...

Is the last one a sponge?

And I think Sir Peter looks great with a fro.

Henich Family said...

I heard that pictureline or something like that does free classes. We should get a group of us and go take a class. I know I am in the same boat as you...line up the middle and click!

I love the new ones you did...great job!

*~Petra~* said...

Good guess MaryBeth... but alas, it is not a sponge! The answers are, masking tape and the end of a pool noodle.

Thank you for playing :)

And Annie, I think that is a great idea! I would love to do something like that. There are some very inexpensive community classes that are just one night a week for eight weeks or so... we will have to check it out!