Friday, January 20, 2012

Tips for Photography: a Guest Post

Hi there!  My name is Natalia, and I'm a photographer.  This does not mean I have nice equipment, fancy props or a large portfolio of perfect images.  It simply means I take pictures and I enjoy it.

When I first started using my dad's dSLR I had no clue what I was doing.  But I found some great tips from amazing photographers, took the advice of my wonderful blog friends, and learned a lot from just using it.  I'm certainly no professional, but I thought I'd share some tips and illustrate with photos from a recent photo shoot with my sister.

First off, get to know the camera you're using.  If there's a manual, read through it.  If there are buttons, push them.  Trial and error, my friends. Just keep at it.

There are actually settings that can really help, so if you can figure those out, tweak them until your picture looks right. Depending on the type of camera, there may be different settings.  A point and shoot might be able to have an adjusted ISO.  DSLRs will probably have settings like the aperture, ISO, shutter speed and white balance.  For me, there are three things I try to work with to make my pictures look good:  ISO, aperture, shutter speed.


ISO = Pronounced Eye-so, this setting will determine how much light is let in.  The ISO on your camera might have numbers that range anywhere from 100 to 6400.  Start with the lowest ISO possible for clear, sharp images.  If it's really dark, go up from there. Try 200, then 400, then 800, 1600... but the higher you go, the grainier the image becomes.  Unless you want tons of grain, try not to go over 800.

Aperture:  This is tough to explain, so I'm not really going to try to.  If you would like some links to the technical stuff, I'd be happy to give them to you.  But I'm going to cheat and basically tell you the basics.
So, here's the deal.  Aperture determines how wide the hole in your camera is to let in light.  So the lower the aperture (technically it's a higher aperture... I think of it as lower, to help me, though) the wider the hole is and the more light is let in.  So, an aperture of 1.8 would let in more light than 5.0  .
I usually keep it between 1.8 and 4.0 but any will work -- just higher you go, the darker it gets.
Also, the lower the number, the shallower the depth of field is.  So with an aperture of 1.8, the background will be pretty blurred, but can look really nice if the subject is in focus.

Shutter speed = how fast the camera takes the picture.  So, if it's a shutter speed of 1/80 it will take a second, collect light, take picture.  If you have lots of light, bump it up to around 1/300.  If you're taking pictures of someone, tell them to jump.  Now, snap away.  Since a shutter speed of 1/300 will make it go off really fast, it will freeze the subject and make the image sharper.  I usually try to shoot with a high shutter speed for nice images -- the downside is you need lots of light.  If you're inside, I try to keep it around 1/125.  The photo above was taken with a shutter speed around 1/250 :)

PHEW.  Now that we've gotten that out of the way, have fun! Once you've uploaded your images, edit them!  There are lots of downloadable photo editing softwares out there, and there are also online ones, like  Play around with edits, see what fits you.

Most of all, have fun.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! :)

Hey! :)
I'm Natalia, and no... I don't really have a mustache.  ;)
Big sister to four little siblings, homeschool student, amateur blogger and aspiring photographer.
Chatterbox, daughter of Jesus Christ, chai drinker, vera bradley lover, girly girl.  I'm not photogenic and I love to stay up late reading Newbery books.
I blog over at The Journal of Natalia Rose.  I write run on sentences, talk about fantabulous events in my life, host giveaways, post pictures.  You're welcome anytime.



  1. These shots are all lovely! Great post!


  2. I love the photos from the shoot you did with Maddie! The tips you gave were great and so professional! Thank you so much for guest posting for me, Natalia!

  3. Hey Holly!!!! I tagged you on my blog ;)

    -Faith <3

  4. Natalia, they are very pretty photos and your younger sister is so sweet as a subject for taking photos. I normally pose for my older sister to take photos. Love, Annie-Jo xo


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