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Two Minutes To Better Photos

Two Minutes To Better Photos

 

Every photographer I’ve ever talked to wants to take better photos. We read blogs and books, attend seminars and trade shows, and seek constructive criticism of our work in the search for better photos. These are valuable pursuits to becoming better at our craft, but they tend to distract us from a simple way to get better at what we do: a little extra time with our cameras and subjects.

Try this: after every photo session, when you think you’ve gotten “the one,” take an extra two minutes to see if you can make it even better. Get a little closer or little farther away. Try a different angle or lens. Get below or above the subject. Put the light/sun behind the subject. Change exposure. Experiment!

Two minutes. One hundred and twenty seconds. With this little chunk of extra time as a regular habit in your photography, I’m pretty sure you’ll discover that your photos are getting better. 

Below is a two to three minute progression of photos I took at the 2015 Washington State Fair that I hope illustrates the benefits of investing an extra two minutes of time and leading to a better photo.

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This is nice, but not a great photo. There’s lots of distractions (the pattern on the blanket, the second dog) and the golden isn’t looking at the camera.

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Getting better – isolating more on the golden and getting a little lower to remove the fence from the photo. Still too many distractions here, though.

 

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To isolate the golden even more, I thought to use the fence as a framing device and positioned the golden’s head in an opening between two posts. Getting there…

 

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I got just a little lower to place the golden’s head and ears in the larger part of the opening between the two posts. I then cropped to make the posts the frame edge, and converted to black and white to complete the process. The extra two minutes behind the camera made for a much better photo, I think.

Aany & Rumzi Wedding Reception

Aany & Rumzi Wedding Reception

I had the amazing opportunity to shoot photos at Aany and Rumzi’s reception, and it was such a colorful and life-filled event. Aany’s heritage is Pakistani and Rumzi’s is Palestinian, and there were many traditional moments from both cultures. I wish them the best of their new adventures together!

Neighborhood Discovery – Wetland Park

Neighborhood Discovery – Wetland Park

One of my favorite parts of living in the Northwest is how nature can often be found right alongside neighborhoods. I’ve driven by this wetland park countless times on my way to somewhere else, and finally decided to stop near sunset and take a walk around it. Having my camera with helps me look for and see details and elements of the park I would normally walk by. And then sunset happens at the same time as the full moon rises above the trees, and the photos pretty much take themselves.

Here’s a map to this location in suburban Sammamish:

Stained Glass Wonder

Stained Glass Wonder

I attended Trinity Lutheran College (it was Lutheran Bible Institute, Seattle in my time) from 1988-1991. One of my favorite places on campus was the chapel. The 14 stained glass windows made even our gloomy northwest winter days shine with light. In 2008, I returned to campus to take photos of those windows with my real camera (Nikon D300). The light was wonderful, as always. 

 

TLC/LBI Stained Glass Windows Issaquah WA

 

I recently read that the campus will be torn down soon for a new development. No one is sure, yet, what will happen to the chapel windows (they are not only beautiful, but structural at over 4 inches thick and joined by concrete.) I am so glad I have these photos. I am so glad I can share these with other members of the TLC/LBI family who also have a special connection to this place. 

 

TLC/LBI Stained Glass Windows Issaquah WA

 

Photography has the ability to connect us to the past. It can allow us to remember the past in the best possible light, from a perspective we don’t normally see, and feel the emotions of those moments once again. I am so glad I took these pictures…

Worldwide Photowalk 2015!

Worldwide Photowalk 2015!

I’ll be participating again in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk again this year and will be leading a walk in downtown Bellevue on Saturday, October 3, 2015. 

The walk will start at the Bellevue Farmers Market at 11:00am and then make its way to the downtown core and transit center. The walk will conclude around 1:00pm, and be followed by lunch together. The walk is free. The lunch is not.

Register for the walk here – http://kelbyone.com/photowalk/walk/bellevue-wa-united-states-next-to-barnes-noble/

If you have any questions, please send me an email.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on October 3!