Teaching My Husband Photography

July 13, 2010

In an interesting turn of events my husband has suddenly taken an interest in photography, much to my delight! And, on Sunday last, we went to the baptism of our latest grandchild, and he took the camera and snapped a number of photos, including some of our older children.

Earlier in the week he asked me to travel with him to Kalamazoo, MI to go to “The Air Zoo.” Not a difficult thing to do, because I am also a pilot and am always interested in airplanes. He wanted to learn how to take interesting photos of aircraft at the zoo to use on his website All Tings Aviation.

As we were working together he pointed out that I was not much of an instructor, having this deep seated desire to make all of the camera adjustments myself while explaining what I was doing. Oh – this is important – I met my husband when he taught me to fly airplanes!

Canon EOS 10D Digital SLR Camera

Canon EOS 10D Digital SLR Camera


So all at once he gets real quiet. After some coaxing he tells me that I’m not much of an instructor, because I keep making the camera adjustments myself while telling him what I am doing. He told me that he would really prefer to make the adjustments himself when I explained what I thought needed to be done.

So, I backed off, and soon we were talking about aperture priority, exposure compensation, white balance and shutter priority. The trip home was fun, and much to my surprise on Sunday he took pictures of me with our beautiful granddaughter.

The moral of the story? If you can encourage your husband to photograph something he is interested in perhaps he will return the favor by photographing something you are interested in.

I gave him my Canon EOS-10 to learn on; sure hope he doesn’t drop it!

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!
BettySignature

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

ps: Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter “Real Kids Photography” here!

File Formats & Your Camera

July 7, 2010

Let’s start with your camera. No, doubt you have figured out by now that you camera saves images in one of the formats we discussed yesterday as soon as we take the picture, but which format?

Actually, this is easy to figure out – most digital cameras save their images in the JPG file format. The JPG file format is pretty good as a compromise between image quality and file size for most people, and in most photographic conditions.

But what you may not realize is that you have a fair amount of control over how aggressively your camera compresses the JPG images. Take a look at your camera – probably on the menu system – and you will find a setting for image quality.

Canon SD1200 Compact Digital Camera>

Canon SD1200 Compact Digital Camera


Its well worth pointing out that many digital cameras have a second file format available: TIF file format. Remember, the TIF file format, unlike the JPEG file format, can be used to ensure that the image is absolutely pristine, without any data loss at all. Many digital cameras have a special setting that you can use to store your images in this lossless TIF format.


If your camera does allow you to shoot in the TIF file format, remember that you will need a larger memory card for your camera.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!
BettySignature

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

ps: Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter “Real Kids Photography” here!

For example, on the Canon PowerShot SD1200IS Digital Camera there are 2 choices: Normal and Fine. And the file format – JPEG.

Please understand that image quality is quite different from resolution: resolution is a measure of how many pixels are in the image, while image quality determines how much the image will be compressed and, as a result, how much image quality will be sacrificed in the process.

Needless to say, the more the image is compressed the more image quality is sacrificed. My recommendation? Stick with the highest quality setting for your camera. Be sure and check your camera manual and the menu on your camera and choose the highest quality setting for your images. Every camera is a little different, so you may need to do some research to find the best choice for your particular camera.

What Are File Formats and Why Do You Care?

July 6, 2010

When you take a picture with your digital camera, the camera’s CCD interprets the scene and records a representation of it on the camera’s memory card. This recorded scene is basically a grid, or matrix, of colored pixels. Just how many pixels depends upon the resolution of the camera.

The problem comes in when you want to save all this data to the memory card. Essentially, you want to save this data in a format so that the information will be understandable by software and devices other than the camera itself. In the early days computers stored files in a single file format that was understandable by any computer, but today files are stored in unique file formats that may not be understood by all computers and other devices.

Common File Formats

What are pixels?

What are pixels?


There are many types of file formats, but for the child photographer you only need to be concerned with these:

Now that you know a little about file formats, we need to discuss which one you should use on your own camera. As in all things, it depends upon how you plan to use your image, so starting tomorrow we will look at your choices.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!
BettySignature

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

ps: Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter “Real Kids Photography” here!

Take A Time Lapse Photo Of Your Kids

July 2, 2010

What? You say take a time lapse photo of your kids? Am I nuts?

No, not really. Remember, our goal here is to get creative – its just like cooking. When you make a meal stick a little something in as a surprise and get creative, and photography is no different.

After all, you spent a few bucks on a nice compact digital camera – like the Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS I suggested earlier, and its time to learn how to use it. And, we do that by getting creative.

Now, if you have ever been fascinated by a time-lapse movie of a flower opening, you might want to try the same thing with one of your children. It’s not difficult to do, though it would be a lot easier if the camera supported time-lapse operations to begin with. For example, the Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS camera has a fireworks setting, which keeps the shutter open longer and could be used for a short time-lapse photograph.

If your camera doesn’t have a time-lapse function, no problem, you can still accomplish the goal. It will be a bit more work, but you can do it with a series of photographs. Specifically, you will have to turn the camera on, take the shot, and then turn the camera off. Then wait an appropriate time period, turn the camera back on, take the shot, turn the camera off.

Canon SD1200IS Selection

Canon SD1200IS Selection


Now, it may be that the time interval is short, and in that case you won’t need to turn the camera on and off so much. You may need to experiment to find the right time interval, but with a digital camera that’s not difficult to do because it doesn’t cost anything, and you can see the results right away.


What would you photograph in time-lapse, you ask? How about you take a time lapse photo of your kids getting up in the morning on a weekend? You know the drill, they don’t want to get up, they get up in stages, and you can get some really great shots.

Put the series on your computer and make a movie accompanied with some music, and you can create a really interesting event to share with family and friends. PCs and Macs alike have some movie making programs that come with the computer, so it won’t cost a dime.

Then, upload your movie to the internet, and share, share, share!

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!
BettySignature

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

ps: Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter “Real Kids Photography” here!

Make A Panoramic Photo With Your Kids

July 1, 2010

Panaromic photographs have been around for a long time, way before digital cameras came along. In the early days there were 2 different ways to make a panaromic photograph. One way was with special cameras loaded with extra wide film, and which could take photos that were much wider than they were tall.

The other, more traditional way, is to take a series of photographs and connect them in a manner similar to a collage. Using this technique you could make a panaromic photo with your kids! Unfortunately, you can often see seams between each picture because they are layered, one on top of the other.

Fortunately, digital photography makes it possible for us to make a panaromic photo with your kids. Creating the panaroma on your personal computer is actually pretty similar to making a collage of prints. The software on your computer simply takes the series of photographs and stiches them together digitally in such a way that the seams are invisible.

Make A Panoramic Photo Of Your Kids

Make A Panoramic Photo Of Your Kids

First, you need to take a series of photographs of your kids and the scene behind them, some of which won’t even have your kids in them. For the best results be as careful as you can as you take the original images. The better your images the better you will be able to make a panaromic photo with your kids.


To get the best set of photographs it is best to make sure they are taken at the same level. With the camera on a tripod you can simply swing it from left to right as you take a series of photographs that you will later stitch together on your computer.

Perhaps the single most important step is getting the correct overlap. The software on your computer will need to know how to combine each image in order to make the finished panorama. To accomplish this, try to get a 25 to 50% overlap between your images. If you make sure some of the scene you photographed in the first image also appears in the second image, then the stitching software on your computer will be able to match them and combine them into one wide photograph.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!
BettySignature

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

ps: Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter “Real Kids Photography” here!

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