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!

Get Creative With Photographs Of Your Children

June 30, 2010

Today, cameras are no longer just cameras. Looking at the most common cameras in the local electronics store and you will find many models that not only take photographs, but record movies, sound, and do a lot of other things as well. For you, the parent, this is a great opportunity to get creative with photographs of your children.

It seems that camera manufacturers today believe a camera should do everything except wash the dishes and should play music better than your stereo system! In my opinion a lot of the extra features you find on your camera are just gimmicks, in my opinion. However, from time to time you may find some of them useful, and it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about your camera, and then push your camera to the limit.

For example, one of the compact digital cameras I really like to use to get creative with photographs of your children is the Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS
.

Sepia Photograph of Children Playing on the beach

Sepia Photograph of Children Playing on the beach

Here are some of the features on the Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS camera I like with respect to color:

The bottom line is that you can create some very interesting photographs of your children if you study your camera manual, experiment with your camera and get creative with photographs of your children.

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!

Photographing Your Children Through A Glass Window

June 29, 2010

Now, you might ask why would you want to photograph your child(ren) through a glass window, but the truth is some of the best photographs we can get are when the children have no idea that we are photographing them. If you happen to be in the house and glance out a window, you may see your children doing something very special that you just know they will stop doing if you go outside with your camera.

It is in these special instances that you need to learn about photographing your children through a glass window. The first thing you need to be aware of is the light in the room. Is it reflecting off of the window? Can you turn off your flash unit? How clear is your image through the viewfinder?

If you have a camera that you can use filters with, then a polarizing filter is in order for this kind of shot. A polarizer does a few nifty things for your photograph, but the most important one is that it will eliminate reflections caused by glass by blocking the polarizing light.

If you can use a polarizing filter, the one you want is a circular polarizing filter. A linear polarizer won’t work well for this kind of photography because it can confuse the camera’s light sensors.

If you use a polarizer correctly you can reduce or eliminate any glare significantly.

Photographing Children Through A Window

Photographing Children Through A Window

If you don’t have a camera that accepts a polarizing lens, then consider taking the photograph at an angle through the glass. Turn off any lights in the room, and if the window has ceiling to floor curtains get between the curtains and the window. This will effectively block any light from the room.


While not the best solution, it can get you some very intimate and interesting photographs of your children. They will not be aware of you, and without using a flash they may not even notice you, or know that you have taken their photograph.

The important thing here is to make sure and take a lot of photographs of your children as they grow up. They change so quickly that the only way to be sure you have an accurate record is to take lots and lots of photographs of them; and given how cheap it is with digital photography, why not?

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!

What You Should Have Inside Your Camera Bag

June 28, 2010

Ok, you are going to take a day trip, and you want to take some photos of your kids as they experience the trip. You grab your camera, head for the car and are on your way. The question is: what you should have inside your camera bag on this trip?

In fact, what should you always have in your camera bag?

If you think this is a stupid question, just take a moment and give it a little thought. Women always know that their handbags are not just for them: they are for husbands and kids as well. Husbands are always handing you things they don’t want to carry to you to put in your purse (like the car keys), your kids expect you to carry gum, aspirin and a first aid kit, right?

Well, if you want to be prepared for photographing your kids, then you need to use your camera bag for more than just your camera.

Sling Style Camera Bag from Real Kids Photography

Sling Style Camera Bag from Real Kids Photography


Here is a little list of what I suggest:

So, be prepared the next time you and the kids head out the door for a day trip and you want to get some great pictures.

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!

10mp Pink Digital Camera

June 25, 2010

You may have noticed that summer arrived a few days ago with summer solstice, and this means a lot more outdoor activities. One of my grand daughters, aged 11, got a 10mp pink digital camera as a gift from her father, and — to my delight — she loves it!

Of course, pink is her favorite color. Almost every item of clothing in her wardrobe is pink — socks, tops, shorts, pants, snow suit, bathing suit — you get the idea!

What I really like is that she is taking an interest in my favorite thing to do — photography! Her aunt was here yesterday with my grand daughters little cousin and out came her 10mp pink digital camera to snap away. Her new cousin is a chubby little girl just 3 months old, and cute as a button.

Once she took dozens of photographs she had to share them with me, and I must admit, she has the eye for photography. While she knows nothing of the “rule of thirds”, “white balance” or any of the other technical stuff (she is only 11, after all!), but wants to learn.

10mp Pink Digital Camera

10mp Pink Digital Camera


Her 10mp pink digital camera is a Canon 1200IS which works really well, and takes wonderful photographs. Frankly, I was surprised at that quality of the pictures. They were very rich with outstanding color.

I can’t wait until we download some of them and I can look at them on PhotoShop. I’m willing to bet there are some keepers in there.

If you have a youngster who has an interest in photography, encourage them. My experience is that young girls are more interested in photography than boys, and if you give them a really cool pink camera they really take to it — just like a duck to water.

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!

Taking Care of Camera Batteries

June 24, 2010

In case you weren’t aware of it, all digital cameras are battery hogs, so it is important to learn the best way of taking care of camera batteries. You shouldn’t expect the batteries in your digital camera to last too long because they are used for running a number of key camera functions.

Some of these functions are:

That’s a whole lot to expect from a couple of AA batteries, and in fact they really don’t last long at all, especially if you follow my advice and take a lot of pictures. Just to be clear, when I say take a lot of pictures I am talking about hundreds, not just a dozen or so!

We tried out a few different cameras to see how many photos of our kids we could take with the following results:

While 260 shots may seem impressive, realize too that this was a best case scenario. In real life you may not get that many shots of your kids!

Rechargeable-aa

Rechargeable-aa

Rechargeable Batteries vs Alkaline Batteries

If you are going to use your digital camera a lot, I highly recommend that you get rechargeable batteries instead of alkaline batteries. While 1-2 sets of NiMH rechargeable batteries may be more expensive to start with, along with the charger, in the long run you will be better off.

The more you use your camera the more obvious the cost savings will be. Once you purchase the first set of rechargeable batteries and charger, the next set will be less expensive.

Get The Most Out Of Your Batteries

Here are several things you can do to get the most out of your batteries:

If your batteries die in the middle of a shoot and you don’t have any spares, you can turn the camera off and then back on and may be able to get a few more shots in.

Using Batteries In The Cold

You can prevent most problems by just keeping your batteries warm. If the batteries get too cold the chemical reactions that generate power are inhibited and will simply stop working. Carry a spare set of batteries in your pocket which will stay warm from your body heat. Exchange for the cold ones, put them in your pocket, and then change again once the original batteries have warmed up.

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