Flowers in my garden

Flowers in my garden are blooming right now. They are truly beautiful. I haven’t picked up my camera in a few weeks. It was so nice out this morning. Cool but with only a light breeze. The perfect time to take some macro shots of my flowers. So I did. I almost forgot how much fun it is to just take photos of something so simple. It’s nothing fancy. But I know in winter I will be able to look at those photos and enjoy the bloom of those flowers and remember a late summer day. Sometimes all it takes is some action.

What creative thing did you do lately?

Art and Photo Challenge!

Hi everyone!

I created an art and photo challenge for all of you!

Please click the link below for more information. It’s free and fun for all creatives!

Art & Photo Challenge

See you there!

 

Photo Challenge 10 – Self

This weeks photo challenge 10 is on the topic “self”.

Self

For me that’s rather tough. I am more critical of photos of myself than others. I don’t know how you are, but that’s how I am. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a lot of photos, instead of just one.

Try different angles and settings.

Props

Try different props, like scarfs and hats. I hardly ever wear hats. But I tried several different ones with caps, hats and scarfs and without any of that. Chances are that you’ll find one that you really like.

Lighting

Make sure you have good lighting. Sit besides a window for instance. Choose one that’s not in the sun, but rather a north facing one, than a south facing one. The direct sunlight can be really harsh. Which means that you have really deep shadows. And most likely you will be squinting, and that does not look good at all.

Post Editing

If you have Lightroom or Photoshop, go ahead and try some edits. Maybe you’ll find one that is really good and it’s good practice. I did some edits in Lightroom for this photo. I tried black and white also, but didn’t like it as much as the one you see above.

Photo Challenge

I created the 52 week photo challenge at the beginning of the year. Each week there is a different topic and a different photo to be taken for practice. You can read more about the photo challenge here: https://anikamcfarland.com/photo-challenge/

Facebook Group

For all of you who want to join in the fun and need some guidance and/or want to share your pictures, I set up a Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1701572876529588/

Phone Photography

I made a blog post about how to take better pictures just with your phone. Go check it out right here: https://anikamcfarland.com/phone-photography/

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. Show me your pictures. It doesn’t matter where in the challenge you are: Week one, or week ten. Just post some pictures or join the Facebook group.

 

 

Photo Challenge Week 9 Bokeh

watch my YouTube video on this challenge

This weeks photo challenge for week 9 is bokeh.

What is bokeh exactly? It’s that shallow depth of field, where the background is blurry. This is usually done to get the foreground image stand out. Often you see it with big, blurry light spots in the background.

How to Achieve Bokeh

This is achieved through the aperture setting. The lower the setting the shallower the depth of field. That doesn’t mean to use the lowest aperture setting available. You will still need to get the object in focus that you want to have stand out. And that is the point of the bokeh.

The Challenge

Often you get really that beautiful blurry background with small lights in the background. I did not have any lights available that fit the description, so I chose twigs with silver beads, that the light would reflect off. I took several different photos with different angles to find the best one.

My Aperture Setting

I chose to use an f-stop or aperture setting of 3.5 though I could have gone as low as 1.8 with the 50 mm lens I used.

Photo Challenge

I created the 52 week photo challenge at the beginning of the year. Each week there is a different topic and a different photo to be taken for practice. You can read more about the photo challenge here: https://anikamcfarland.com/photo-challenge/

Facebook Group

For all of you who want to join in the fun and need some guidance and/or want to share your pictures, I set up a Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1701572876529588/

Phone Photography

I made a blog post about how to take better pictures just with your phone. Go check it out right here: https://anikamcfarland.com/phone-photography/

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. Show me your pictures. It doesn’t matter where in the challenge you are: Week one, or week ten. Just post some pictures or join the Facebook group.

 

Photo Challenge Week Seven ‘Under’

Sorry for the long absence from blogging. I have been editing this website and hope you like the changes. The blog is now in a different place, and you can always access it through the Menu.

‘Under’

Here is my photo for week seven of the photo challenge for week seven with the subject ‘Under’.
For this challenge I chose two dyed eggs. I dyed both years ago and the small bottom one is a chicken egg for size comparison. I placed it under the large egg for this challenge picture. The large dyed egg has a moon, the sun and a star on it. I chose the moon side.

These dyed eggs such as the one on the bottom are also called psanka, which means to write or scribe. These eggs are Ukrainian Easter eggs. I learned how to do them from a friend, who is very talented in doing them. She taught me this years ago and I haven’t dyed one in years also, but still keep the ones I have done and the tools to do them.

Photo Challenge.

I created the 52 week photo challenge at the beginning of the year. Each week there is a different topic and a different photo to be taken for practice. You can read more about the photo challenge here: https://anikamcfarland.com/photo-challenge/

Facebook group.

For all of you who want to join in the fun and need some guidance and/or want to share your pictures, I set up a Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1701572876529588/

Phone photography.

I made a blog post about how to take better pictures just with your phone. Go check it out right here: https://anikamcfarland.com/phone-photography/

Your turn.

Now it’s your turn. Show me your pictures. It doesn’t matter where in the challenge you are: Week one, or week six. Just post some pictures or join the Facebook group.

Photo Challenge Picture 5 & 6 – Love & Family

Since I did not post last week I combined pictures 5 & 6 of the photo challenge with the topics “Love” and “Family”.

I took this picture of my dogs Ice and Raven playing with my phone and edited it with Snapseed. They are what I love and they are family. And clearly they love each other, too. Ice is a little ruffled from playing. I am glad I got at least one picture where Raven wasn’t all blurry. She’s has high puppy energy and loves to go fast. She’s now seventeen weeks old. We got both of our pooches at the local humane society.

Photo Challenge.

I created the 52 week photo challenge at the beginning of the year. Each week there is a different topic and a different photo to be taken. You can read more about the photo challenge here: https://anikamcfarland.com/photo-challenge/

Facebook group.

For all of you who want to join in the fun and need some guidance and/or want to share your pictures, I set up a Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1701572876529588/

Phone photography.

I just recently posted about how to take better pictures just with your phone. Go check it out right here: https://anikamcfarland.com/phone-photography/

Your turn.

Now it’s your turn. Show me your pictures. It doesn’t matter where in the challenge you are: Week one, or week six. Just post some pictures or join the Facebook group.

 

Light Box – What It Is and When you need One

Have you heard of a light box yet? If you want to take great product photos then this post is for you.

A light box or light tent is a box with translucent sides that diffuse the light. It produces even lighting against a simple, solid background. You can purchase one or you can built one yourself.

Why use a light box?

Without one you can get unwanted and harsh shadows, uneven lighting and overexposed fronts. Indoor lighting without it often does not offer enough light for product photography.

Standard Setup.

The standard setup is as follows:

  • Place your light box on a table.
  • Place your lamps on either side of it, opposite of each other.
  • Put your backdrop in a gentle curve so there is no harsh line.
  • Place your subject directly into the center of your light box.
  • Use a tripod for you camera.

Variations in Setup.

If you are looking for different results you can also vary your setup:

For more shadows one one side, just use one lamp instead of two. This can give you more depth and dimension if you are looking for that.

If you want to eliminate any shadow you can add a third light on top. When you are using a white background this makes it really crisp.

Backdrops

Most purchased light boxes come with several colors of backdrops and at least two lamps. I purchased mine and it came also with a small tripod in addition to three backdrops and the lamps. There are a lot of companies who produce them. If you do want to make your own, you can do that with a simple cardboard box and translucent paper.

Product photos.

With product photography I am talking about anything that you need to take great photos of for the web, catalogs and posts. A light box will simply help you do that consistently and reliably. It’s easy to use and produces great results.

Your turn.

Show me photos of yours that you took with the help of a light box.

RAW vs JPEG What is What and What to Use

You probably heard the discussion about RAW vs JPEG format when it comes to photographing with a digital SLR camera.

But do you really know what one is versus the other and when it makes sense to shoot in one format or the other?

I know before I got my digital camera I did not know anything about RAW. I’ve never heard it before. I heard and used plenty of JPEG formats before. So initially that’s what I set me camera to use by default. When I got more advanced I realized that JPEG had it’s limitations, so I switched to RAW. And I did have the programs that it takes to manipulate those files now, where I did not have that before.

RAW

So what is RAW exactly? It’s not an image file and it does require special software to manipulate. Typically the camera manufacturers have each their own file extension and format.

RAW records at least 8 bits per color, oftentimes more depending on your DSLR. It records an uncompressed file, thus the file size is fairly large. It has a high dynamic range, which means that it displays highlights and shadows.

RAW files need to be processed before they can be shared or printed. They preserve all of the data the DSLR can record.

JPEG

JPEG other than RAW is a standard file format and not proprietary. It’s readable by most programs on the market.

JPEG records exactly 8 bits per color. It’s a compressed file, thus smaller in size. It has a lower dynamic range than RAW files but is higher in contrast when recorded.

These files can be immediately shared or printed and are able to be manipulated. They loose some color and resolution as part of the process of creating a JPEG.

JPEGs use only about 1/4 of the data the camera captures.

Pros for RAW:

  • Quality.
  • Get all what your DSLR can offer.
  • Get control of the creation of the image.

Pros for JPEG:

  • Immediately shareable and printable.
  • Smaller file size.

Your Choice

You might not have to make a choice on whether to choose RAW vs JPEG. Since most DSLRs can record both simultaneously. And storage should not be an issue nowadays with cards being as inexpensive as they are. But if you do want to do one over the other consider why you bought your DSLR. Do you want to get the most out of it? Then my preference would be RAW.

Share your preference below.

 

 

 

Photo Challenge Picture Week 4 – Window

This weeks photo challenge was the subject “Window“.

This Weeks Challenge.

I had a hard time finding the right setting for a window picture. The challenge seemed to be simple, but was less easy than I thought it would be.

The right moment came eventually. I was playing with Raven, my puppy, and Ice, my grown dog, when something outside startled Ice. He ran to the window as he usually does and stuck his head through the curtains to look outside.  That’s when I took the picture. It was rather spontaneous. And taken with my phone camera.

Phone Cameras.

Phone cameras are great for taking snap shots like this. They are usually close by and don’t require any settings other than to push the release button.

Though there are plenty of ways to improve your photography even with a phone camera.

I posted some tips and tricks this past Tuesday about it. Head over there and read it if you haven’t yet: https://anikamcfarland.com/phone-photography/

I have a favorite app that I am using, called snapseed. It’s a fun and easy way to make edits to your phone photos.

The 52 Week Photo Challenge.

If you don’t know which photo challenge I am talking about, you can read more about it here: https://anikamcfarland.com/photo-challenge/

I also have a Facebook Group you can join, if you want to have support with your photos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1701572876529588/

Your Turn:

Now it’s your turn. What did your photos look like of the photo challenge? I would love to see them!

Improve your Phone Photography in 8 Simple Steps

Let’s face it. Not everyone has a digital SLR camera and if they are like me if they have one, they don’t have it with them 24/7.

But I do have a phone with a camera. And I have that with me all the time. I love to use it to capture pictures of my puppy Raven. Though I do break out my DSLR from time to time, I have my phone always there and get really cute, spontaneous pictures that way.

Phone cameras are great for capturing every day life. They are not so good with specialized photography. That’s where DSLR cameras have their place. But there are ways to improve your photography with a phone camera nevertheless.

1. Keep the composition simple.

I know I have said it before, but it really is a great and easy way to improve your photos. Keep them simple. If you’re new to photography you most likely try to over-complicate your shots. Pick one subject and stick to it.

2. Change the angle.

I know it sounds funny, but just changing the angle that you’re photographing things with can give a new perspective to everyday situations. Try a high or low angle.

3. Show depth.

You can show depth in your photos through leading lines like pathways or walkways. Or use something interesting in the foreground to frame your subject.

4. Get closer.

If you’re struggling to find things to photograph, try to get closer to everyday things and shoot close-ups or details.

5. Photograph reflections.

Try taking pictures of reflections, in puddles, lakes or windows.

6. Use both hands.

When using your phone for taking photos use both hands. Hold it with your non dominant hand and release the shutter with your dominant one. Do that gently. You will get less blur in your pictures due to shaking.

7. Don’t use the digital zoom.

Don’t use the digital zoom, because it will make every movement of your phone so much more prominent, that you get blurry pictures a lot more often that way.

8. Look for scale.

Look for people or things that will give your photos a sense of scale.

 

These are simple ways to improve your phone photography. I would love to see some of your photos taken with your phone! Comment below.