Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jodie's Gift to you: Photography 101


Wow, the Christmas holidays are over and we are about to begin a brand new year...isn't that exciting???

Since I'm not as brilliant as Santa and I cannot "gift" ALL of you with goodies this holiday season...please let me give you a tip of sorts...maybe a gift that will last a lifetime! ;)

This is something that I've been wanting to share with you for some time now and I've finally had time to sit at the computer and compose this post...just for you!!!

Many of you have asked me if I have taken a photography class or two. The answer to that is...No, I have not. I don't even know the terminology nor even half of what my Nikon D60 is capable of.

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What I DO know is that you don't have to have the best and most expensive camera on the market to capture the most wonderful photos. Many "point and shoot" cameras today are significantly comparable to the digital SLR's out there and if one were to look at comparable photos taken by each, it would be a slim chance to tell the difference.

A good shot really is in the eye of the beholder...let me explain.

There IS a difference of looking through the eye view finder and the live preview display. I prefer looking through the eye view finder (just like using the older cameras in the past). Today's cameras have the fancy LCD screen and video and all of the bells and whistles. That's all fine and dandy but I want you to take one little test for me...

Take your camera, focus on something and snap a picture looking through the eye view finder (the old fashion way).  Staying in the same spot without moving, now focus on the LCD screen  and snap a picture of the same object. Review the two and I can guarantee that they will be different and chances are, the photo taken through the eye view finder (the old fashion way) will be much better than the one taken through the LCD screen.

That was easy right? Let me share a little more with you, one of which is my PET PEEVE...the flash.

If I could just rip it off my camera, I'd be so happy! haha Seriously though, if I set my camera on "Auto", the flash would come up every time I'd snap a picture. So therefore, I have my camera set on "Auto" but I always (& I mean always) have my flash turned OFF. Most cameras have this option, you just need to set it that way. Let's look at the difference...

Flash ON...

Look at the nasty shadows and the "unnatural" coloring of the flowers and the birds. Plus, the detail of the lace is just smothered by the white flash.


Flash OFF...

Much better. The natural light is just shining through, just as if you were looking right at it. The colors are more subtle and not overcast with black shadows. You can really notice that when you look at the yellow and red roses. And the lace? Oh it looks much more realistic and lovely.


So by all means, bring your goodies to be photographed to a window that has natural light coming in. Direct light may not be too good as you may have to place your body in a way that your back is towards the window making sure you are not casting any shadows. When you have time, just play with the angles and practice.

Believe me, I may take MANY photos of one object just to get that PERFECT photo. And if anyone tells you that they can do it in one shot every time, I want to see them do it!  ;)

Now that we have the "flash issue" out of the way...let's move on to Cropping...

Scroll up and let's take another look at the photo above. Looks good right? Well yes, but can you see the details? If I were to post a photo for you on my blog, I would want you to feel as if you could just reach out and touch it. So therefore, I'm going to bring it a little closer to you...

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How's that? Aren't these paper roses just so crispy clear? That is what my eyes were focused on and the little birds in their nest were just lagniappe, but I love the little blur of them.

This is the same photo, totally set on "auto focus", looking through the eye view finder and cropped to capture the focal point of the photo. (let me remind you that these photos, nor ANY photos on my blog are NOT digitally enhance through Photo Shop or any other photo enhancing program unless I add a border or change it to black and white)

So let's take another look at Cropping. It can be done from your camera right after the photo is taken (if your camera has that option) or it should be available on the program that downloads your photos on your computer.

Original Photo:

I was focusing on the large pink bird on the left with the two baby birds in their nest. After looking at the photo, I realized that I captured a lot of "unwanted" objects in my photo such as the half of  a bird at the very bottom and the yellow bird in the top right just sticks out and draws my eye to it. Don't want that...


Cropped Photo:

Now we can see the detail in the bird's feathers and look at the detail in the!

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Let's look at a few more...

Original Photo:

Nice photo but the distraction of the placemat edges are a no-no in a nice looking photo. Pretend we are going to make greeting cards with these photos...would you buy this one if it were on the cover? NO!


Cropped Photo:

Instead of having a bunch of "stuff" to look at, we focused on a particular part of the plate. Look at the detail of the lace and the abundant color of the yellow roses and purple birds. Better?

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Oh but there is so much more to this plate of goodies to focus on. This is the bird at the top...

DSC_0051 (5) about these pink roses at the bottom right? My fav!

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Out of ONE photo, we created 3 beautiful photos just by cropping. How cool is that? Aren't these three photos more appealing than the original? Aren't these three worthy of a greeting card??? ;)

Okay, let's try one more...

Original Photo:

Pretty photo of all of the vivid colors but...I'm not fond of the sticks that are showing to hold up the bird on the right.


Cropped Photo:

It's okay...but...something is still not right. I am really not fond of the bird on the left either.

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Yes...this is the one! This is the same photo as the first photo of this post.  Now we are able to see it up close and full of detail.

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By NO means am I a professional and by NO means am I out to think I know more than anybody else. I DO know that I just love reading tips from other generous bloggers that have helped me in some shape or form and I just felt like passing on the love to you today ;)

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One more tip...if you "care" about your photos, I highly suggest that you put a watermark on them to prevent others from claiming your photo as their own. At times, I'm sure the thief can even crop your watermark out but at least you know you tried your best to prevent the theft as you have the original to show for it. It's just a suggestion, to each his own. Besides, I find a watermark adds an elegance to any photo and I feel my photos look naked without it.

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I hope I was able to make photography a little more fun and a lot less intimidating for you. I love to blog hop and sometimes I find myself lost in the photos more than "reading" the post itself! And sometimes, the photos draw me in and I enjoy reading the post so much more!!

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Thank you for following me all the way through, it was fun for me to do this. I hope that throughout the coming year, I will be able to post about more of my little creativity tips that may in some way help someone else out there. Blogging is truly inspirational and I feel I'm being very greedy if I don't share the love!

My Rule:

There should be NO GREEDY PEOPLE in blog land...don't you agree? ;)

Happy New Year!!!


Karen said...

HOW - please tell me - HOW do you put a watermark on?????

trash talk said...

Great lesson, but what if I don't have an eye view finder...or at least I can't find it if I do!!!
I may have to stay after school for tutoring!

My Grama's Soul said...

What a wonderful post. So helpful and informative.

I, too, would like to know how to put a watermark on my photos. I have a long way to go but someday I hope to have some fabulous photos like the ones I see out there.


Anonymous said...

I have a new Kodak digital with no view finder. At least I don't know where it is. I have one on my old camera and yes, how do you put on a watermark? You started something gal, we will probably bug you to death. Thanks for sharing.

CarLe Etc. said...

Oh thanks sweetie for the post...most informative and I can use all the help I can get...I'm going to try the things you have suggested...but I'm warning you I may come back with questions...LOL!

A Fanciful Life said...

OK Miss Jodie, I am in! Don't be sad anymore as I finally replied to the Gypsy Mermaid. I was actually out buying lace today for the swap. I just wanted to make sure I would have enough time to participate since I only have weekends to work on it. So exciting!!! Now about that iPhone, you KNOW I'm going to be bugging you about it until you pick the darn thing up! It is calling to you.. Jodie...Jodie....Jodie.... This will transform your life. Don't forget to get a case to protect it (you'll also need a film that goes over the screen but the case should come with one). Onto your post... what a terrific post! I'm so glad you are going to be sharing the love, I mean, more tips this year. This was just wonderful. You are a photo guru!
Love and hugs,
Sharon and Miss Gracie

gina g said...

Merry Christmas Miss Jodie!
Love the photos!

Cindy said...

Very good tips all! :D And if I may add to your wonderful list, a good cropping site (like Picnik) helps tremendously. I love them. It made a huge diff in my pics. I need to add the watermark too, is something I often forget to do.
Thanks for the lesson!

yapping cat

Malisa said...

Great suggestions! I SO look forward to what I will learn from you this year!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Wonderful tips...I will be sure to add them to my favorites. Hope you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!


Stamp Sew Much said...

Thx for that post! I njoyed and it was great info... I also njoyed your publishing in Artful Blogging. I was also surprised to see you are from a small town close to mine. Take Care.

Hearts Turned said...

Jodie--you're just wonderful! I definitely need some photography tips, and I'll be using these next time I take pictures--which will probably be tomorrow!

I don't like the flash either--makes everything a bit wonky, doesn't it?!

I agree--no greedy bloggers, please! Thankfully, almost everyone I've met so far has just been so lovely, giving and gracious! What a wonderful bloggy world we've found!

Hope you're having a great weekend--talk to you soon!

icandy... said...

Hello sweet Jodie and Happy holidays to you!
You have provided us with some really great tips... and photos! I've gotten used to not using my flash all of the time and can REALLY see a difference in the quality of my pictures when they are loaded on my pc. I have a Sony digital~ nothing fancy, and normally, I only take my "pretties" pictures for blogland in the daytime hours, so I don't really need that flash anyway. I like the natural, soft look of the colors, if it's in good light.
Thank you so much for showing some of your techniques!
Love and hugs,

Tara said...

These are wonderful tips! Pictures are my favorite part of blogging, I'm a very visual person. I recently got a new camera and am just learning to use it. I also hate the flash, but sometimes can't help using it indoors or the camera can't focus and gets blurry. I've yet to learn how to use it unless it's set in auto! Thanks for the hints and I hope you have a terrific week!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Hi Jodie! Good to see you back. I've been so mesmerized by so many wonderful photos out there and have actually stopped using the flash on most pictures as I found it too glaring! I still need to figure out all your other tips -- something I know about, just haven't taken the time to play with. Your pictures are always so beautiful and really do pull one into the moment. Wishing you all the best for today and every day. Blessings, Tammy

Pink Princess said...

Thanks for the tips! I often do that too and they DO look better when you put a little (read a LOT) of time in taking pictures. Love yours :)

Hugs and a very happy new year to you from the Netherlands


Theresa said...

Hi Jodie, Thanks for stopping by and paying me a sweet visit! Thanks also for the tip on remembering the new lights:) My honey gave me a $100 gift card from Hobby Lobby and that is where I am going this morning. Top of the list (new lights for next year)! I can't wait to dig thru your blogs.... looks like a whole lot of good information that I could surely use! Have a blessed day!

miss lynn said...

hey jojo...
love all the tips..
you may not consider
yourself an expert,
but you
DO have a gift!
i don't know how
to do the watermark
thing either. maybe
that can be your next
happy day!

Tristan Robin said...

What a wonderful and generous holiday gift! Thank you for the tutorial - your photos are always so lovely; it's nice to get tips from an experienced cropper!

Mindy said...

Indeed, I have learned that cropping is just as important as taking the picture. Good stuff! ~Mindy

Lisa said...

You are so right about the flash! I just discovered week before last that I could turn the blasted thing off! Thank you so much for these awesome tips.

Pam @ Frippery said...

Jodie, you are taunting me with the fact that I have no viewfinder! Waaahhh!!!

Debra@CommonGround said...

Hi Jodie, I'm going to have to go back thru and read all this again, but I just wanted to say "Hi" first and give you a big hug for New Years! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
love Debra

Unknown said...

I agree. This was a great post:D TFS!

VS said...

Thank you sooooo EV for your photo tips, your heart & your soul!! Have an amazing New Year filled with love, laughter, good health & happiness!
Hugs Jodie,

zandra said...

Thanks so much for the lesson! But, me too, me too~I want to know HOW do you get the watermark on the photo! ;o)
Thanks for the swap connection~I haven't done alot of vintage so we'll see? ;o)
Have a magical New Year!
Bigz Hugz, Z

Sue said...

Your knowledge and talent continue to amaze me! Thanks for all the great tips :)

Have a happy new year!

Sue E.

Rita said...

Dear Jodie,
it's ben quite awhile siince my last visit to your wonderful blog and your tutorial was exactly what i needed. Thank you so much. It's been most informative and I only hope I'll be smart enough to replicate your suggestions.
I'm definitely too late even for belated christmas wishes but early enough to wish you and yours a most blessed, happy, and healthy 2010.

kana said...

thanks for the great tips...i am trying to improve. Hope you have a Happy New Yr as well!!

sew revived said...

Yeah! I have a view finder and I know how to do the watermark but my pictures will NEVER look like yours!! I won't use either! haha
YOU'RE the most "awesomest" photographer I know. Not even gonna try to keep up with you girl!

Patti's Artful Design said...

Hi Jodie! Thank you for the photography....I, sincerely, appreciate the helpful hints. But I am like, Karen (first comment), how do you apply the watermark???
Can't wait for that lesson!

Karen Valentine said...

Hi Jodie! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Thanks so much for the tips. I too find myself fascinated by the beautiful photography on everyone's blogs. I can never seem to capture exactly the look I'm going for. Maybe that would be a cool idea for a blog party!!! Everyone sharing their own personal tips!!! Any way, I got a new digital SLR for Christmas and am still learning all the things it can do. I hope one day soon I will be taking the photo's I see in my head!!! Have wonderful and safe New Year!!!

My Desert Cottage

June said...

Oh Jodie, this is THE best blog post ever!!! How wonderful of you to take the time to share this with all of us. I drool over each and every photo you post on your blog. I don't have a photo shop or any other editing program either. (wouldn't be able to figure it out you I just take a (@#%$) load of pictures and choose the one I like best.
Would you be able to tell me how to put a watermark on my photos. Would I need Picassa or something for that? I really want to mark mine.
I love your rule girl!!!
hugs, hugs, and more hugs!!!

June said...

BTW, this is the best gift you could've given!!!

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

Hey there! I found you from another blog, and am glad I stopped by. I love your page and this post - I love it when people share what they know to help others - it really shows a generosity of spirit. I'll definitely be by here again soon... best for 2010

GwendolynKay said...

You realy have been having fun with your camera. Some excelent tips and pointers in there. I will give a few a try. Thanks for the lessons. Blessings!

Debra@CommonGround said...

Hey Sweetie, come check out my new post. It's dedicated to you! LOL!
love ya,

summersundays-jw said...

Loved reading your post & will be watching for instructions on placing a water mark on your picture. Thanks for the good advice. Jan

Jane said...

Hi Jodie,
This is a fabulous post. So many great tips. I know I should be using natural light for my pics but unfortunately I always seem to be snapping pictures and posting after dark...I need to be better prepared and get my pictures taken in the daylight hours.
Your photos are always wonderful. Thanks again for sharing your secrets.
Happy New Year....I'll be in Louisiana in a couple of weeks. I have a week long meeting in New Orleans. Hope you have warm weather waiting for me :-)

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Jodie,

Thank you for the Photography lesson, yours are always so lovely.
I will have to remember these tips.

I hope that the holidays are going well for you.
Wishing you all the very best for the New Year!


Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

Jodie, thank you so much for this post! You KNOW I need it! Your photos are always gorgeous! Eye Candy!

One question ~ how do you put a watermark on your photos?

Have a great day!! And Thanks!!

Lou Cinda :)


Oh Jodie, where have you been girl! I so needed this lesson! Thank you thank you! I am actually going back to re-read it. Great tips...keep them comin'! AND Happy New Year!!
My Best

The Victorian Parlor said...


THANK YOU for this post! I needed it:). I got my new camera for Christmas and I have been playing with it for days. I am still in the beginner stages with it as I am technologically impaired-lol! I also do not like using a flash for the same reasons that you listed. Of course, I had to discover this on my own so I think it is great that you may have saved some bloggers some time by telling them about it:). I have always loved the photos on your blog and now I have some info to guide me toward your success. Thank you so much!!!

Kramer and I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!!!



zandra said...

So glad we met this year! Glad to call you my sister (hey, does that mean I get to get in on the birthday month, too?) ;o)
So, many wonderful people in blogland and you are the BEST! May 2010 bring you and yours all that you wish for!

Anonymous said...

I read your feature article in "Artful Blogging" and am intrigued by your blog. New to the blogging community (but an eager learner), I am in search of my blogging identity. I will try your photography tips today. Thank you for posting such artistic talent!
-JoDee Luna

Stephanie O. said...

Loving this post...You certainly helped improve my picture taking with your mini lesson you gave me @ Silver Bella...Happy New Year!!

Mollye said...

Hey Jodie, Thanks for sharing the photo tips and the one I most needed a was the one about using the Flash. Yep I'm guilty of setting my camera on Auto and I am going to change that right away! Happy New Year Girl. I'm geelin it this week are you? (who dat) Mollye

Teacup Mosaics said...

Happy New 2010 Jodie,
My pink and green partner! I couldn't agree more about greedy bloggers..NOT ALLowed! Thanks for sharing, I love how we all can get tips from each other. Hey I can't wait for our Valentine book swap, how fun it will be to create while snowed in. Celebrate the New Year and ENJOY!

Sandy said...

I just found your blog and I am so happy I did! One of my New Years resolutions is to learn how tot ake good photos! This tutorial is wonderful!!!! It makes so much sense! I have a little Cannon PowerShot A540 and I am going to try this on some you think you could have another tutorial on putting the watermark on your photos....have no clue! Thanks again! ANd please feel fre to stop by any time and say hello!

Diana Meade said...

Hi Jodie,
Thanks so much for sharing the photo tips. I have a viewfinder and I am going to start testing out your tip. I love your photos. I came to your blog because of the article in the magazine, Artful Blogging and I am so glad to get to know you. Have a fun cruise. How wonderful for a new years trip.

The Elegant Thrifter said...


Great tips. I tell people all the time to play with their cameras and their editing software. You are absolutely right in encouraging people to practice with what they have and then show them the difference a cropped photo can make. I don't use a lot of flash but a very inexpensive reflector that helps you manipulate the light can make a huge difference as well! Happy 2010! Stan

Lee said...

Hello Jodie,
This was very good...I struggle with cropping because I can't remember from one time to the next how to do it...I must work on this...also, when I turn off my flash all my pictures are blurry because I don't have a tripod...or so my Cannon manual camera is a dinosaur...

Thank you for your comment on my wood sculpture post ... my dad is enjoying the are the sweetest!!!
I thank you for your is a wonderful gift.


virginiasvignettes said...

Thank you Thank you Jodie! I'm a 'newbie'and found your advice and tutorials extremely helpfu!
I felt like you were holding my hand through the steps....

Thanks Again...virginia...:)


Thanks for the photo advice! Can't wait to change some of my photos!
~ Julie