Taking photos my way, Part 2

Taking photos my way, Part 2

March 1, 2009 | Local Fashion Scene | 4 Comments

I talked about things I take, when I use flash, cameras, general settings and aperture in my previous post. I’ll try to finish off the post with some additional information and my personal experience in taking photos.

You think my photos look great? this might be why – the more photos you take the better chance you will get it right this is what I hear time and time again. When I go out shooting I take hundreds of shots and I only keep about a third of them and I only upload/show much less than that. Art of culling I call it. I take a lot of rubbish photos. Not kidding. What you see in my blog and my flickr albums could well be just pure luck.

What do I use to manage my photos – I use Picasa only because it’s simple. There are lots of great programs out there. I hear iView media pro is good but I’ve never used it. That application is now owned by Microsoft so I don’t know whether it will reamain as good. Adobe Creative Suite comes with something called Adobe Bridge which does similar things but it’s not that fast. Whatever I use it’s I who still need to do all the organisation. Tagging, naming folders and deleting rubbish all take time.

Image editing and photo manipulation – I don’t do it. All I do is cropping and making collages (borders and putting several photos in one image) in Picasa. I don’t have time to do anything fancy in Photoshop or even in Picasa. The photos you see here and in Flickr are shown as they were shot basically. That’s one of the reasons why I am not wild about buying a 24 MP camera. Imagine the amount of time that will take to download, open, store and do stuff around each image. The only reason I’d buy a camera which happens to take 24 MP photos would be purely because it’s faster than what I’ve got.

Image format, shoot in RAW? – No, I don’t. I use good ol’ JPEG for the same reason I mentioned above. If I was a pro and I was doing some artwork for a huge billboard I’d shoot in film (with Nikon F90 maybe but definitely not with D50).

I have an SLR. What lens then? – I have a real basic lens from D50, 18-55mm F3.5. This gets me around most times. When I go to fashion shows and concerts I take my 28-70mm F2.8. This is an expensive zoom lens which lets me take really good photos but if money is an issue don’t get this one. If I’ve known better at the time, I would have spent one third of the money and bought 50mm F1.4 (remember low number is better for low light shooting?). It’s a fixed lens (as supposed to zoom) so I would have to move around but with F1.4 it would be much easier to shoot in low light environment. Digital Cameras are usually much lighter but what makes them heavy is the lens I use. For example, 18-55mm weigh virtually nothing compared to my 28-70mm. That’s not only because it’s much bigger but also it is made with glass/metal as supposed to plastic. I have a long list of lenses I’m planning to get and some of them are heavy as hell and some are not.

18-200mm VR Nikon Nikkor50mm F1.4 Nikon Nikkor70-200mm F2.8 VR Nikon Nikkor14mm F2.8 Nikkor

Lower mm means ultra wide and higher mm means telephoto/zoom. As I mentioned, F is for aperture and lower number means easier shooting in low light. These lenses are usually very expensive. For example, 14mm F2.8 is over AUD $2000. That said, if you have an SLR like D50 you can get away with just having one lens 18-200mm F3.5 VR. This is going to be my very first purchase before I buy a new camera. Lenses easily outlast cameras so I’m going for broke on lenses. VR here means vibration reduction (less blurry pictures at night and for moving subjects). For the same thing Canon calls it IS – image stabilisation

Taking good photos since when? – not long though you might think I know a lot. I don’t. I know enough to get around and taking shots I like. I’m learning everyday. When I bought my F90 in 1992 I didn’t know how good I had it. I had no idea what all the things I explained here meant until last year after I went to Perth Fashion Festival. That was only a few weeks after I started blogging and I though I should take some decent pictures for my blog. I had my fair share of frustration talking to so-called experts and later I found Ken Rockwell’s website. All I talked about here you can find in his website. He is loved and hated by many and I happen to be one of his fans. I learned so much from him and I even donated a very small sum of money for him so that he could continue to write. You will see a huge improvement in my pictures if you compare the photos from Perth Fashion Festival and the Elsa Couture Launch. Well most recently, I have some photos from the Perth International Arts Festival. Some photos from the Elsa show were even used for their official website.

There you have it. I wrote this in one seating on Sunday morning. My bum is hurting after sitting on a couch for hours and it’s almost lunch time. My guy and I are going to have some grub. Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll do my best to answer them. Ciao.


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4 Comments

  1. agnes

    March 2, 2009

    ‘The Art of Culling’ is definitely one of the most powerful tools :-)

  2. dapper kid

    March 2, 2009

    Ahh Ken Rockwell is fabulous! One reason I love digital is that you can be more creative with the shots you take. I take so many shots on impulse as well as looking for perspective/light/angles, that more often than not I find gems among them. Although that being said, I still love going out with my manual SLR and really thinking about each shot too. Wonderful post :)

  3. enc

    March 2, 2009

    I love that you’re a purist. You get great results from your approach, Songy!

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    March 3, 2009

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