See Like a Photographer

Photograph - Tree as a Crevice

Tree Crevice

It’s a common misconception that you have to be in a stunning place to take a stunningly good picture—the ocean at sunset, a

The Eyes of a Photographer

©Milkwood Photography (

trailer park after a tornado, war, a wedding, the Serengeti. You get the idea. The reality is that you can take an incredible picture almost anywhere. It’s about slowing down and paying attention to your surroundings. It’s about trying to see those surroundings from different perspectives, looking at patterns, shadows, colors, lighting, details, and the total uniqueness of each moment.

In the 1995 independent film Smoke, Harvey Keitel plays the part of Auggie Wren, an amateur photographer and the owner of a tiny smoke shop in Brooklyn. For 14 years, Auggie has taken one picture a day, every day, from the street corner outside his store.

“People say you have to travel to see the world,” Auggie says.

“Sometimes I think that if you just stay in one place and keep your eyes open, you’re going to see just about all that you can handle.”’

When someone tells Auggie that all of his photographs look-alike, Auggie points out the infinite changes in the light, the season, and the expressions on people’s faces. Ultimately he provides a lesson about photography that also happens to be a lesson for life itself: Slow down, be present, and pay attention to what’s special about what’s right there in front of you.

What are some of the best pictures you’ve taken of “nothing special” kinds of places?

What a Photographer Sees

What is the photographer seeing?


Time for a Camera Tune-Up

Just like you need an annual tune-up for your car, or you should be getting one, your camera needs some basic maintenance as well. Now is the perfect time to get your camera ready for those great spring and summer photographs you’ve been dreaming about.

Check Memory Cards

Camera Memory Cards for Photographs How many photos are living on the card and not your computer…or even worse, not printed. Before you head out on that summer trip, make sure your card is clean. Get those photos off of there. Or, buy a new card. The cost for larger memory cards seems to drop once every 6 months. Just remember, the more cards you have, the more confused you will be with what’s on them unless you have a great filing system. And, if you lose a card, you’ve lost all those memories.

Battery Check

Digital Camera Batteries RechargeableHow long have you owned your camera with that rechargeable battery? They do lose their ability to hold a charge and do need to be replaced every few years. Buying a second battery is a good idea and keep it handy if you are going on a long trip and your current battery is more than 5 years old.

A Clean Camera is a Happy Camera

Camera Cleaning SuppliesFirst of all, try keeping your camera away from items that might make it dirty in the first place: dirt, sand, saltwater, dust, etc. Obviously, that means keeping it in a plastic bag with a whole for just the lens. Just be careful around water.  When cleaning the lens, get your micro fiber cleaning cloth and keep it with your gear. Not only is it great for oil on the lens, it’s also great for the camera body. Use your breath, wipe. Simple.

For the interior of the camera when changing lenses, a sensor cleaning brush or blower is a good buy.  Just don’t touch the sensor. Ever. If you are worried about dust on the actual sensor because you are printing large photos and are seeing issues, bring it to us. We can clean it for you professionally and ensure no damage.

Avoid canned air for cleaning and make sure to never touch the shutter on your automatic. For lenses and filters, use a blower first then micro fiber.

And one simple tip to help keep all your gear clean – get a camera bag!

Turn That Digital Image Into Something Real!

We had a blog a few weeks ago about photos not really being photos until they are printed. We are taking that to heart and have lowered the prices for all matte or glossy 4×6 and 3.5×5 prints. 4×6 are now just 19 cents per print and 3.5×5 are 18 cents per print. So, take a few minutes to upload your prints online or bring your digital card to the store and walk out with actual photographs.

You should also start considering custom prints for some of your digital photos that you feel are works of art! How about mounting your photo on foam core or taking your digital photo and using a metal print? We have options when it comes to printing your photo on aluminum. Most people will be in awe of just how clear the print looks and just how different it is from a print on canvas.

Turn your digital image into a metal print!

Turn your digital image into a metal print!

We are proud of our In Store Printing Services and the folks who are there to help customers when they come in with their USB drives, digital camera cards or smart phones.  You can visit our Pix Lounge and upload your photos and we will help you make a decision on how to best get that photo printed. To truly appreciate some of the photos you have taken, you must print them and see them in a larger format.

iPhone App Turns Phone Into Light Meter

Rather than complain about how smart phones are “ruining” photography (they aren’t), or pan them as “not-capable cameras” (they are), we are finding ways the iPhone and other smart phones can help you become a better photographer. And we’ve found another app, a camera accessory, which allows you to use your phone to help with your “old fashioned” camera!


Cine Meter is a professional film/video/photo application for your iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch®, using the built-in camera to provide a shutter-priority reflected light meter, an RGB waveform monitor, and a false-color picture mode. Cine Meter works on any iDevice with a camera running iOS 5.0 or higher.

It’s called “Cine Meter”. Working on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch it functions as a light meter, waveform monitor and has a false-color picture mode. It checks white balance and color temperature. It will also show you hot spots and shadows on the green screen. You can calibrate Cine Meter to match your other meters to a tenth of a stop. The waveform monitor shows how light levels vary within a scene. The false-color picture lets you see which shadows will be underexposed and which highlights will be gone forever.

Think about that for a second – before you even turn your camera on, this app will help you light your set and solve problems.

Interested? Learn more about it here.

Now, get out there with your camera and have a good time!