Friday, August 22, 2014

Program Mode -What is it?

Program Vs. Auto - IN THREE PARTS

When I teach this is the most asked question. What is the difference between all of the modes on my camera. Well every camera is different, but they all have different modes. And most have an Auto mode and a P or Program mode. Often the auto mode is a green rectangle or a green camera on the dial where Program is simply a capital "P".

Where/What is the P mode and the Auto mode on my camera?  Okay so see below - on the newer cameras you can see these modes and all your other pertinent info on the back of the screen (if you dont see it press the Q or display button on your Canon or Nikon) Or this info is on the dial. See below the auto mode is displayed differently but in all cases below is the green area - little camera, or rectangle with an A in it? That's your auto mode - and the P - right next to it or almost next to it is program.

Now what is the difference in these two? Not a whole lot, but sooo much! Okay loaded question, loaded answer. Auto, or as I call it when I teach "idiot mode" (which is not meant to be offensive, it is merely meant to indicate that you don't have to make any decisions and really are not allowed to make any choices in that mode) Is the green rectangle or camera or word Auto. It does everything for you - you literally point and shoot. Everything is automatic. Now in P or Program, you have some control. Not the kind of control you have in the other modes - (M, A, and S) but some. You are able to control 3 things-

Exposure compensation.

Okay terrific now do you know what those three things are?

Lets discuss.

ISO is short for International Standards Organization – the main governing body that standardizes sensitivity ratings for camera sensors. It’s a a term that was carried over from film. When you change your ISO setting, you’re adjusting your camera’s sensitivity to light. ISO settings can be anywhere from 24 to 6,400 (or higher), and these numbers have a direct relationship with the device’s sensitivity, so a lower setting makes it less sensitive and a high setting makes it more so.  ISO is one of the three factors that determine your picture’s exposure. Finding the right balance between these three settings is key to getting the perfect shot.

Finding the right ISO setting

First of all, you should know that a higher ISO typically translates to a noisy or “grainy” image, so as a general rule you want to use the lowest setting possible for your photos. Check out the picture below to see the difference it can make. 
A lower ISO will usually produce more color-accurate, aesthetically pleasing images, but there are situations where a higher ISO is desirable. The proper ISO setting really depends on the level of lighting you’re shooting in and the visual effect you’re going for, so rather than relying on one over-arching rule, consult this list of tips:
  • If your subject is moving and you’re trying freeze the motion for a still, you’ll likely need a higher ISO setting to compensate for the high shutter speed and ensure your image gets enough light
  • If you’re going for more of a vintage aesthetic and want to add a little bit of grain to your photos, don’t be afraid to bump up the ISO a few notches
  • If you’re using a tripod to stabilize your camera you can usually get away with a slower shutter speed, which in turn allows you to use a lower ISO 
  • If you’re shooting an image that doesn’t require a large depth-of-field, you can increase the camera’s aperture (thus allowing more light into the lens) and use a lower ISO
  • If you’re shooting with artificial light (i.e., using a flash) you can typically get away with a lower ISO setting
You’ll probably need to experiment a bit until you hit the sweet spot, but while you tinker with settings, keep the following in mind: 
  • Never trust your camera’s display. Don’t assume that your picture will turn out just because the tiny 2-inch preview looks adequate. Your shots almost always look different on your computer, and you probably won’t be able to spot noise on your camera’s small, low-resolution display. For this reason, we highly recommend that you zoom in a bit to check your images for grain. There’s nothing worse than taking a bunch of seemingly great shots only to discover they’re noisy and speckled when you upload them to your PC.
Speaking of display - where do we find the iso settings? Below we have both Nikon and Canon screens pictured.  In most situations, you can change the ISO in three places - on the screen on the back of the camera - the shooting screen if you have one, the menu in the interior of the camera, and the ISO shortcut key (found on the back of your canon camera) 

In part two we will talk about Flash!

Let me know if you want to inquire about private lessons or the like. Sometimes this stuff is easier to learn one on one and hands on.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why Abundant Moments PART 2!

How do you decide which photographer is the right choice?

1. Experience

2. Price
3. Talent

Debra here - owner of Abundant Moments - your blogger today! 

First of all if you are looking for the cheapest 8x10 out there, let me stop you right away.  If you want inexpensive grab your camera and go for it.  OR, there are college students or even high school students who do a great job for you - its just a bit of a crap shoot.  And, generally, it takes them a LONGGGG time.  So if you have nothing but time, and dont mind the possibility of shooting for a few hours to get one or two good shots, go for it.  Honestly you might get lucky!  But if you have a moving target (toddler for instance), impatient subject (teen, husband, toddler, newborn), or a LIFE (need to get things done LOL)  Then you might consider someone who can get it done for a little more $$$ and alot less time.  I cant tell you how many clients I have who come and we are done in 20-40 minutes and are constantly suprised at how many pictures we end up with that are just fantastic! 

So back to price.  Its not even about the price of the prints.  All people want is digital these days.  Doesn't anyone print images anymore? Well they do, but they get a groupon for a canvas print (that seriously never does the image justice) and want me to give them a high rez image so they can print them themselves.  Well here is the thing.  Ill sell you the cd with the images big enough you can print up to an 11x14.  But you have to buy $200 worth of prints first, and if you want a big canvas, you have to get it from me.  Why? Simple.  A. I want your money. But more importantly B. I took the picture, I own it, and when a photographer creates art they want it to be displayed in the best way it can be to show it off and do it justice.  I DON'T want a crappy print of my work on your wall. Period.  That makes me look bad!  And why do I have you buy $200 of prints? Well you aren't going to buy any from me if I just give you the cd are you? Then I make nothing but what you pay me for the cd.  So I came up with a number that allows me to make a living.  In order for me to make a reasonable amount of money I have a $350 minimum per client.  Okay lets break that down.  Why do I need to bring in $350?  Here is what goes into that-
Cost of my equipment - lights, backdrops, props, landscaping, camera, lenses, and upkeep of all of that. Then batteries, chargers, office supplies - computer, paper, printer, website fees, staff, display pictures, brochures, business cards..... good grief the list goes on.  

So why would you pay a professional when you are paying for so much more than the actual print? For the experience - from start to finish and an exemplary product.  So price - its a loaded question.    

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Abundant Moments Photography?

How do you decide which photographer is the right choice?

1. Experience

2. Price
3. Talent

Debra here - owner of Abundant Moments - your blogger today! 

1. Experience
Abundant Moments Photography was built from the ground up in 2000.  Initially, I worked at portrait studios to supplement my income while getting my masters degree.  I shot friends and families pictures as "favors" and loved it.  Eventually, after enough people suggested "you should do this for a living" I began work at a professional studio.  I ended up managing a staff and a number of different franchise studios.  A decent job, but honestly not photography.  It was management.  I loved it though!  I did, however, want to get back to what I loved - shooting.  When I started having kids in 1996, I quit managing studios and did some home based things to make ends meet.  From telemarketing to day care I tried it all.  Finally I was in a car accident.  It was a bad one and I was laid up for a while not able to do much. After I recovered I used the $2500 of settlement money (really not much) to buy a trailer and equipment and set up a traveling studio.  I charged $50 and drove to their house, set up a full studio with props, shot a full session, then developed the film and brought back 4x6 proofs a week later.  No one bought pictures.  I discovered quickly that they weren't motivated to purchase pictures when I gave them all the 4x6s.  From there it grew.  So In 2000 I registered my name, and set up the business.  14 years later, we are doing terrific!! And actually the prices I charged then are within 15% of what I charge now - but now you get more for your buck! 

Understand though that experience is about MORE than years.  I know photographers that have been shooting for years but don't keep their stuff fresh.  This is critical.  I'm on intstagram and pinterest on on others websites constantly seeing what is "in" and new.  I want to know what is out there and what others like.  The experience makes my pictures a good quality and makes me quick and efficient, but it doesn't make me GOOD. See "Talent " for more on that.  

Here is one of the first shots I ever took in 2000 - 

Here's the thing.  I love that picture.  Still do.  And its a good quality. Nothing wrong with it.  Do I take better pictures now? Sure, for the most part, but honestly the difference is in knowing when to shoot, how to pose, how to get the expressions, how to treat the client, what to provide for the customer, what would I WANT?  I am of course focused on getting "THE" shot, but I also want to create an environment that makes people say - "This was a great experience - I want to come back." This is tough.  I live here - my studio is in my home - I have 5 kids. And for 14 years I have worked 40 plus (no kidding - every week) building this business.  WORTH IT!!!  But tough.  I guess what I am saying is that experience is important, but more than that its a feeling - a fit.  Are we right for you?  Lets talk and spend some time together  and we will find out!!

Come back tomorrow for part two!!! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spoonful of Bokeh & A Cup of Creativity

Dear Reader,

{Hi there! My name is Kaela. I am a guest blogger & a contract artist for Abundant Moments 
Photography. Nice to meet you & happy blogging!}

P.S. Apologies for the template glitches. This will be fixed soon! Thanks for reading!


Bokeh. Spoonful of Bokeh & A Cup of Creativity.  

Let's talk bokeh. What is bokeh? Where is bokeh? Why is bokeh?!

Photo Credits:
Abundant Moments Photography

  1. the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.

Bokeh is everywhere. (Especially if you forget to put on your glasses or squint your eyes just right.) Just add 'bokeh' in front of anything & it can happen. Bokeh trees, bokeh hair, bokeh lights, bokeh chicken.  

Photo Credits:
Abundant Moments Photography

The cliche 'light' bokeh.      
This was taken of a chandelier          
a wedding we shot.   

Photo Credits:

Abundant Moments Photography 

The 'not-so-cliche' eye bokeh.

Taken with a macro lens of my eye.            
Bokeh really can by everywhere.

So I am sure you get it by now. But anything can be turned into bokeh. ANYTHING. Photography is an art. 

To bokeh or not to bokeh? When should we use bokeh? When should we not use bokeh? There are plenty of styles when it comes to photography. Bokeh is one of them!

Photo Credits:
Abundant Moments Photography

This is a great example to NOT use the bokeh effect. That way you are able to take in ALL of the beautiful beach & the subject in one picture! 

Photo Credits:
Abundant Moments Photography

This is a great example of when to use bokeh! Sure, this picture would be great without the blurred background. But it just adds a touch of magic! Doesn't it? 

So in conclusion, bokeh is a great tool to use when taking photos. It is fun capturing those special moments & making them even more beautiful than it looked in real life. And with the talent & experience, you can create your own art through photography! Or you could just pay Abundant Moments Photography to do it *wink wink*. But really- the next time you get your pictures done, ask for some bokeh! Try something new!