5 Common Photography Mistakes You May Be Making

A lot of folks want to try photography and get discouraged easily. They think they have “the eye” for it and forget the first photography rule – practice makes perfect.

OK, we realize that’s the rule for just about everything.

Here are just 5 common mistakes new photographers make – if this is you, put down the camera, read this then go and practice!

The lens for portraits

You want to zoom into your subject of the portrait!

1                     Using a Wide-Angle Lens for Portraits: The default setting for your point and shoot lens is “wide”. The lens for a DSLR is usually widest when it is pushed all the way in to fit in your bag. You do not want to take portraits using this default setting. Zoom in to flatten perspective. If your camera has a digital zoom, turn it off in order to sustain image quality.

What's the Subject of the Photo?

What is your subject? Highlight it!

2                     The Subject of the Photo: We touched on this in our Thanksgiving blog. You need to choose a clear subject for the photo. If it’s not obvious, it won’t leave the impression you were hoping. The best way to focus on the subject you want everyone to notice is to get closer to it. You know what you want everyone to see…so show them!

Action shot

The fast shutter speed is what you are looking for.

3                     Taking Action Shots:  All the action is blurry! This is easy to fix – take your camera off auto mode. Your menu may have a sports mode or burst mode or multiple shots. Try using all of those to get the best shot of movement in your photo without the blurriness. The fast shutter speed is what you are looking for.

Annoying Red Eye

Even the pros get it in their shots, so don’t worry.

4                     Red-Eye: Even the pros get it in their shots, so don’t worry.  Easiest way to eliminate it is to turn off your flash. If you don’t have lights set-up and are in need of the flash, make sure the subject of the photo is facing the camera, but not looking right at the lens.

photo not available

Not available because the photographer gave up.

5                     Giving Up Too Early: This is probably the biggest mistake we can all make in all that we do, not just photography. It isn’t easy to be a photographer. It’s not just pointing and clicking when you want to express more than just a simple memorable moment. Take the time to capture your ideas…and try it all the time! Even the greatest photographers are still learning new things about their art!

Now…grab your camera and start snapping!

Are You Ready For a Great Christmas?

For many, Thanksgiving Week is a chance to reconnect with family and friends as folks head back to their homes to give thanks for all they have. Some are in new places and are welcomed in by strangers to celebrate a truly American Holiday. And others…well, they are just waiting for the hours after Thanksgiving…Black Friday, for some stores, starts Thursday night.

Black Friday is another truly American…well, not really a holiday, but it is American. Who doesn’t like a good deal? Especially in these times when money is short, but we don’t want to short our loved ones in one month on Christmas morning!

We have plenty of deals for Christmas presents…or maybe for a present to make sure you get those great Christmas photos you’ve always wanted. Most of our sales are starting Sunday November 18th! Why wait till Friday, right?

One of the best deals we have is for the Samsung WB150F. Everyone loves the convenience of the camera phone…we sure do! But, some photos truly do need to be taken with a regular camera…one with 14.2 effective megapixels, 9 different image sizes, and 18X optical zoom with optical image stabilization.

One of the best deals we have is for the Samsung WB150F

One of the best deals we have is for the Samsung WB150F

We know it’s convenient to use your phone to instantly send to friends, post on social sites, etc. But, this camera can do that for you!

It is Wi-Fi capable!

So, snap a photo and instantly email it, post it to Facebook or send it to the Skydrive! No need to plug the camera in, download to your computer and wait.

Want to grab some video of the kids opening up their presents and send to Grandma and Grandpa right away Christmas morning via email or post to YouTube before Christmas morning is over? The Samsung WB150F will do that too.

The suggested retail price for this phenomenal digital camera is $229.99 but we are selling it for $129.99 – an instant rebate of $100! It’s a steal. There’s no other way to say it!

We are also offering the Nikon P510 with a case and 2-Year Nikon warranty for $299.95. That’s $180 instant rebate.

We are also offering the Nikon P150 with a case and 2-Year Nikon warranty for $299.95. That’s $180 instant rebate.

We are also offering the Nikon P150 with a case and 2-Year Nikon warranty for $299.95. That’s $180 instant rebate.

If you are interested in the Nikon D5100 series, we are offering the entire outfit (18-55mm VR Nikkor Lens, camera case and DVD) for $549.95. $250 taken off instantly!

If you are interested in the Nikon D5100 series, we are offering the entire outfit (18-55mm VR Nikkor Lens, camera case and DVD) for $549.95. $250 taken off instantly!

If you are interested in the Nikon D5100 series, we are offering the entire outfit (18-55mm VR Nikkor Lens, camera case and DVD) for $549.95. $250 taken off instantly!

Do you need a camcorder? We have the Samsung F80 with a $50 instant rebate and the Samsung W300 with a $60 instant rebate.

We have the Samsung F80 with a $50 instant rebate

We have the Samsung F80 with a $50 instant rebate

the Samsung W300 with a $60 instant rebate

The Samsung W300 with a $60 instant rebate

We also have the Sony W690 on sale for $119.99…but only on Black Friday and Saturday)

And, we are also gearing up for Christmas right after Thanksgiving! Santa will be visiting our store every Saturday of December!  Swing by and do a little shopping and grab a photo with the Jolly Old Elf…or, let your kids sit on his lap! J

Make Sure You Are Thankful For Your Thanksgiving Photos!

Capturing Thanksgiving at the Table

The family, together to give thanks!

The family is together, cousins, 2nd cousins, grand-kids and great grand-kids. The smell from the kitchen is pure nostalgia, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Football is on the TV and some of the kids are playing outside…so are some of the adults! Thanksgiving is next week and memories will be made, as they are every year.

But, it never fails when it comes to the holiday photos, most just don’t turn out how you want them! So, here are a few tips that might help. As always, practice!

First, as with all photos, pick your subject. If it’s grandma in the kitchen, focus on her. Don’t focus on what she is doing in the kitchen focus directly on her. Her actions will draw the viewer to everything about her as well as her actions.

Second, the spirit of Thanksgiving is family and everyone being together, even Uncle Rico and Aunt Gladys who don’t get along. For this day, at least they will. So, when everyone is gathered eating, snap photos of folks with the food. Consider making the food central and the people in the background out of focus. We will all know who they are, but if the subject is the food, it will make for a smarter shot. Also, don’t be sitting and taking photos. Try to stand whenever you are shooting.

Third, what is the lighting like? Remember that the window behind Dad or Grandpa with the light streaming in will cause problems. Move to another angle. Also, use your flash for some photos and take the same without. If you aren’t using a flash, consider using a fast ISO, 400 or 800.

Fourth, the dreaded family photo. Who goes in front, who wants to hide…all the kids together or with their respective family?  When lining up your subjects, don’t line them up! Stagger them or use steps. Consider the stairs in the house with grandma and grandpa on the bottom and going up the steps from oldest to youngest siblings and families. Normally, we take the photos after dinner.  If you are outside and the sun is going down, make sure there is enough lighting. We suggest taking the photo earlier in the afternoon if possible.

And, lastly…the afterthought and yet most important part of the family picture and many of the others you will take on Thanksgiving. Use a tripod! Strong and steady! And, what about you in the photo? With the tripod and a timer, you will get your shot set, time to run in and smile big!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and your family and friends!

A Few Good Apps for Mobile Photographers

Apps for your smart phone camera

Better pictures, get noticed!

Every few weeks, it seems, a new smart phone is hitting the market…and every smart phone has a camera. Some of the cameras on the phones rival some of the older model DSLR’s on the market. While they won’t take the place of a DSLR, these cameras on your phone help in everyday use…when you see something that just needs to be photographed.

Here are a few applications (most for iPhone) that have come out that can help make those camera-phone photos standout and get seen by others!

  1. If you already have Instagram, get Instatag. You may be taking some great photos but don’t have a lot of followers. Don’t worry, it’s not you…it’s “tagging”. Using the right hashtag or # followed by a keyword will get your photo seen. The best way to attract new followers is to use the hashtag function. But what searchable keyword should you be using? Instatag shows you which tags are trending, which tags are the top 40 most used and which tags will get noticed most. Cost – $.99
  2. Do you like panorama photos? Your phone may offer that option already but there’s an app called Photosynth that may make it a bit easier. It will also let you share the panorama straight to Facebook and Twitter. Cost – FREE
  3. Want to make your picture look like a collage? You may have seen some of these creations already. One of the apps out there that does this is called Diptic. Diptic has 14 filters and 52 layouts. Use your artistic mind to create!  These collages can then be shared on the major social sites and via email to friends and family. Cost – $.99
  4. Camera+ will help you improve the quality of your photos. This app will let you edit any photo you have taken; cropping, lighting, border creation, photo effects. Be aware, that some of the extras will cost more even after paying for the app. Cost – $.99
  5. Impression is an app for those of you worried about posting your awesome photos for all to see and then seeing that photo stolen and used. Impression is a very simple tool that watermarks your photos allowing you to upload from the phone without needing to transfer to your computer first. Cost – $1.99

And, just a reminder about your photos that are living on your phone. You may want some of those unbelievable shots as prints!  Check out what our Photo Lab offers or, upload from home and pick them up at our store!