Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

Friday, November 30, 2018

How Getting a New Camera Changed Our Picture Game

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something on here, at no extra cost you, I may earn a small commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 



One of the things that I have always loved doing with my family has been getting my kids' pictures
 taken each year.

When my first child was born, I took him to our local Walmart picture studio for every month of his first year... except for that one month because I was mad about how that previous month went.

I never really went overboard with the price, because at the time, I could get a picture package for a single picture from anywhere between $5.99- $9.99. (Did I mention this began almost 9 years ago?) Here and there, we'd purchase a bigger package for special occasions, but mostly, we stuck around with the cheaper one because my husband and I were freshly out of college and our jobs, at the time, didn't pay well.
He's cute, but why did they tilt him like this?

When my second born came into the world, we tried to get her pictures done, but somewhere along the line, Walmart's studio left the building. But not to worry though, because grandma two and a half hours away had a picture studio that offered a similar package and their pictures were done very well and the experience was 100x better than Walmart's was.

Unfortunately, that meant that there were pictures that we just couldn't let go of because we needed singles photos of each child and we also wanted family pictures with them. This meant that we could only purchase a package once or twice a year because a $200-$300 portrait package just isn't in our "amount we want to spend on anything" budget.


When my last child blessed us with his presence, I did a terrible job of keeping up with pictures. I know how my youngest sister must feel now, being the hidden child. The child that there was no record of... ok... My youngest isn't really a hidden child because we took many pictures from our phones, but the chances of getting those printed and handed out has dropped to like a mere 10-15% chance of doing it.

So, about once a year, we began getting pictures taken of the kids to pass out a Christmas gifts- Surprise! You're getting a coffee mug with my kid's faces on it every year until the day you die... Well, we do make picture books and notepads, too.

Unfortunately, for us, the picture place closed so we tried to do another portrait place over in . Shaumburg. The pictures were cute, but the we didn't get much for our buck.



So this year, I decided I would try to take our own pictures. My daughter had a fall tea party and one of the things that I thought would be fun to do was to set up a picture station. I bought a plain white table cloth and taped it to one of our walls and then taped some fall decorations on to it as a photo drop. The idea was cute and if you squeezed everyone together, you might be able to get a good photo without the kitchen or the tan wall being in the picture, but the picture quality wasn't professional with my camera phone and my camera was slow in making some shots.


As you can see, the picture isn't focused well and it appears to be a little grainy. It's still alright because when I look back at older photos with older phones, those pictures are almost always blurry or just awful.


I also noticed that the camera on my phone doesn't focus on what I want it to. So when I went to Starved Rock and Matthiessen to hike, I told my husband that I would like a new camera. A good one. A professional one.



At first, he told me that it wasn't something that we could really do, especially since we have our phones to take good pictures with, but I think that after taking pictures of the outdoor scenery and seeing how the photos didn't do the colors and details of the outdoors justice, he began to mull the idea over.




I would leave little hints about how my blog could use some more professional looking photos and how we didn't really have any pictures to hand out at Christmas, this year, and then one day, I got an email from him while he was on his break at work.

He sent me several pictures of cameras with all of the details about what they came with and all the specs and wrote, "Would you like this as an early Christmas present?" After much debate and talking about the expense and telling him that I would be ok with something smaller, he said, "If we're going to get a camera, we're going to do it right."

Who can argue with that logic?


So now, we have a camera.  The camera above and it came with ALL of that fancy stuff. It's one where I have to turn the lens to zoom it in and our and focus with it. One that gives me a manual option- options that I should remember from my photography class I took 12 years ago... hahahahahaha- it also gives options for outdoors, sports, different lens and their attachments. I can take photos, good photos. I need to practice.



She really is that pale. This is a few days after she got over the flu.





I'm still getting the hang of it, but I think that this is going to be one of the best purchases we make, this year. So be prepared for more pictures, because I'm going to be taking them!

Closing Questions for you!

  1. Is anything stopping you from taking awesome photos?
  2. What tips, if you have any, would you give for someone who is a newbie at taking pictures?
  3. What are your must have photography items?
  4. If you edit your photos, what are the best free or low cost programs to use?
  5. What kind of pictures do you like to take? (Please keep them clean as this is a family friendly site. 


Friday, October 5, 2018

A Lesson in Photography and Raising Your Family

   

 When I was in college, I took a photography class. Taking pictures was something that I liked to do, but it wasn't a passion of mine and it became a chore, so I didn't continue with it.

      I think another reason why I didn't want to continue was because the teacher wanted us to take pictures by entering all of the inputs manually and I didn't have a clue what I was really needing to do for shutter speed and light and all that jazz. To be honest, I would get so bored in the class I fell asleep. If I was able to stay awake, I might have done better in the class, but oh well.

      I'm off topic. My apologies. Every time we went to class, we were supposed to turn in photos from that week's assignment the day before class was to resume. From that assignment, the teacher would pick out pictures that he thought met the expectations and those that didn't to show the class the do's and don'ts and printed out the ones that exceeded those expectations as an award for fantastic work. I only had one picture printed out, but had several that showed up on the projector screen.



      This is the picture that he printed. I don't remember what the assignment was for, but it wasn't printed because of that assignment, but because he liked it and it segued into the next assignment which was about working with shadows. I was so excited that he printed it out and embarrassed at the same time because we got to go over what made it great and that was a lot of attention focused on me and my work.


     This was the night time work that he liked. It wasn't liked well enough to print out because parts of it were fuzzy when it was enlarged, but I was so proud of this night time picture. It was so dark out that I didn't even know what color these flowers really were until the picture was taken. I had to lay down on the ground and hold the camera still and wait for a minute or more for the picture to take and I didn't have a tripod to hold the camera still. A normal person would use flash to take a picture like this, but the teacher wanted us to work with exposure or something like that so we were never allowed to use it. (Can some of my photography friends explain the process?)

What did I learn?

       So why am I writing about something that I don't even remember the terminology for? Well, these pictures showed up in my timeline on Facebook. While I was looking at them, an analogy sprang to mind.

 Practice makes perfect.
   
        In photography, unless you are an amazing photographer, the perfect picture takes time to get. Not every picture is going to come out perfect. It takes time, patience, and work to sometimes get the desired effect. If you ask a photographer how many shots they had to take in order to get the perfect one, I'm sure that they would either lie and say they got it on the first try, or they would tell you that they took hundreds and only a few were great.

        In order for that first picture to get printed, I had to turn in many others that were rejected or talked about. Nothing was quite as good as that one. It took many pictures to get the great one.

         When we raise our kids, we expect them to do everything right on the first time. We can sometimes get frustrated and lose our patience. They're kids and they aren't going to get everything right on the first time and when they do get it right, we have to know that it may be one in a few and the more they do it, the better they'll be.





Perfection takes time. Don't rush.

     This is more than just practice makes perfect. For that second picture to really work, it needed time to do it's thing. I could have rushed it by turning on the flash setting, but then the shadows and reflection would have been off and it wouldn't have been the same. Instead, by lengthening the exposure time, it allowed for the colors to show on the flowers, the leaves from the tree behind it, and it even allowed for the stars to shine through. I don't think the stars would have shown with flash because the light would have hidden them.

         When we are working with our kids, we need to be examples of patience and manners. They are going to learn from us. It takes us 18 years to help shape and mold our kids into fine human beings. We can't set them out into the world by saying our expectations of them and not help them live it. The whole do as I say and not as I do thing, that's not going to work. That's rushing it instead of taking the time to teach them.

It's ok to just stop and wait.

        The only reason why that night time picture worked was because I stopped to hold still. If I had a tripod, it would have come out even better without the blur. I had to hold perfectly still in order for it to come out correctly. If I had moved more, it would have just been a conglomerate of colors.

        When we are with our kids, we need to stop and slow down. We need to stop letting the tv babysit them. I'm very guilty of this, especially since I started blogging full time, again. What's wrong with having our kids read books or just letting them play with their toys? They're learning and also not getting overstimulated by the sound and constant streaming of electronic devices. Why don't we go for walks more? Why don't we talk to each other?

         If we're wondering why young adults these days have social issues and seem like spoiled brats, maybe it's because we let electronics and social media raise them instead of us, the parents, and so they don't have ethics and morals weaved into their being. They don't know the difference between right or wrong. As long as they can benefit from it, why not do it? We need to take the time to teach and model the golden rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Learn to love what you do.

         If I would have liked the class more or enjoyed taking pictures all of the time, I would have gone on to the other classes and learned how to Photoshop and the ins and outs to great photography.

         As parents, we love our kids, but do we love ourselves more? It's very important to get a little me time in, but are we choosing our work over our kids? I know that when I don't finish something at home, I get irritated when my kids interrupt me before I can finish. Instead of yelling at them, I need to stop what I'm doing, look at them and talk to them. "Is this something that you can remember until Mommy is finished with this?"

        If they say yes, explain to them that you will come find them when you are finished. If it can't wait, you still can. I know that I do get impatient and I say, "If I don't finish this now, I'll never get it done." Well that's not true. I can get right back to it later. Remember what it's like when someone dismisses you. I know that I don't particularly like it and I'll start an argument. Your child has feelings too and if they throw a tantrum, it could be because you hurt their feelings. Take the time to stop and listen to them. This all goes back to being patient and practicing.

       After all- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.

     Are we loving what we do as parents? Are we practicing patience and kindness? Are we always putting other things before our kids? Are we getting angry and then holding it against them?

      If we aren't loving our kids or others the way that we should, we shouldn't expect perfect results in our family life and it's something that we should work towards doing.

How do we do this?

      It's ok to be busy and work, but schedule some family time. Have a family night. If you have older kids, make it a night when they don't want to go out with their friends. Schedule something during the week. Order pizza and pop in a movies that you all enjoy. Play some board games. Go for a walk. Just do something together.

     Make a better effort to eat at the same time. When you're all sitting down to eat, ditch the cell phones and handheld game devices. Those are distracting and you can't carry a conversation if you're always checking your notifications. Talk to each other!

      Pay attention to your kids. Believe it or not, there are some parents who don't notice when their kids are off or they ignore it when they see it. Talk to your kids and ask them what you can do for them. Ask them if they have any questions. BE THERE FOR THEM!


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      Find something to do. Anything. It doesn't even have to cost something, just do it. Have fun with your kids.

      This weekend we're having a tea party. I know it's October, but since we have some great-grandparents flying in from Washington, we scheduled it for tomorrow. I'm going to make some big fat muffins and cucumber sandwiches (if I can find some of the bread I like to use in the store) and dress up with a big hat. It will be splendid. The boys will be having a Nerf gun war and eat snacks while the girls sip their tea.

What are you going to do this weekend?


The Beginner's Bible

Disclaimer- I received this Bible in exchange for an honest review. Although I was asked to review this product, all reviews are my honest...

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