Month: November 2018

December 5-Week Photo Challenge

Whether you’re a beginner or advanced photographer, sometimes we all need a challenge to get us out of our comfort zone and see the world a little different.

We have just a few weeks left in 2018 and what better way than to do a mini photography challenge! Sometimes photography challenges can be overwhelming, like the 365 photo challenge where you take a photo everyday for a year. I did it once and it was a lot of work, I won’t lie! But taking a photo based on a theme each week is a little more manageable. I will say I tried to do a 52-week photo challenge and I probably fell off the wagon in month 3. Boo.

But, I think I can manage a 5-week challenge and I think you can too!

If you’re new to photo challenges, the idea is to take a photo based the theme posted. There’s no wrong or right way to do this other than to take a photo based on how you interpret each week’s theme. Photo challenges will help you look at the world a little differently, get creative and get you to take photos which will help you practice. You can post your photos on social media and be sure to use the hashtag #5weekshutterbugchallenge on your posts!

I’ll be starting the challenge on Sunday, December 2nd and it will run through the week of the 30th of December. I’ll be posting my results on InstagramFacebook and Twitter if you want to tag me. I’ll recap the challenge in early January 2019 and possibly share participant photos! I’d loooooove to see your photos for this challenge.

I’ll be sending out a weekly reminder if you get my newsletter with each week’s theme so you stay on top of what you should be on the look out for throughout the month.

Get your cameras ready and have fun photographing!!

Stop chopping off feet in your photos

The holidays are just around the corner! I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the holidays a lot so I’m excited. This coming week is Thanksgiving here in the US which means delicious food, but also getting together with family and friends. I’ve already started seeing photos of Thanksgiving dinners happening on social media which is making me hungry! And with that, the holidays are a time where we take lots of photos with loved ones, am I right?

Now I wanted to share with you a super duper simple tip to improve those family and friend photos this holiday season: Watch for feet!

What did you say??

FEET! Watch for feet!

I dug these photos up from back in 2013 (5 years ago!) when my friend Kim and I would go out and do fun photo shoots. He’s super into fashion and we’d spend a whole day doing outfit and location changes. It was so much fun! Anyway, does something look weird? Look at his feet. Does it look awkward?

It totally looks awkward to me. My brain can’t deal with seeing only some of his feet. I totally wasn’t paying attention. Now, what would happen if I turned my camera vertical?

Omg, this looks so much better. Yay, he has all of his feet in the photo now! I can calm down now and move on with my life.

So, that’s my tip for you! Next time you take someone’s photo and you’re going to do a full body shot, pay attention to the bottom of the frame and look for their feet! There’s a lot more to photographing people beyond this, but I wanted to leave you with this little nugget you can start using today.

Why I don’t have a bunch of photography gear

Taken with LG V20 smartphone

With the rise of popularity around photography the past 5 years and how quickly newer, better cameras (including phones!) are coming on the market in what feels like every month, it can be tempting to want to keep buying equipment.

​When I was taking photography classes in college, my classmates and I would go to class, share our photos, talk about our work, discuss what we liked, what we could improve and do it all over again each week. We were beginner photographers and we just to learn how to take photos and improve them with the cameras we had.

Taken with LG V20 smartphone

Fast forward to today, I’ve had several point and shoot cameras but I’ve used them until they died. It’s not until then do I then look to get a new camera. I honestly can’t be bothered to look at what trends are happening, what’s the popular camera that’s out, what’s coming out, etc. I just want to make the most out of what I have right now.

Having too many cameras and equipment can be too much and overwhelming. Sure there are times I wish had a different camera, but In a way, I like being limited and pushed to take the best photos I can with what I have. Whether it’s my point and shoot, smartphone, film camera or most recently an instamatic camera, I do the best I can with what I have with me at that moment.

Taken with LG V20 smartphone

If the only camera you have is your smartphone, see what photos you can capture with that. I like taking photos with my smartphone because find the less I have to think about when it comes to features, the more i have time to think about what photo I want to capture.

If you’re looking to take better photos right now, sign up and get 10 easy photography tips!

Take lots of bad photos … to get to a good one

Taken from one of the expired rolls of film of buildings in the Sunset District in SF

I take a lot of photos, especially bad ones. Okay, maybe not bad ones but I take plenty of boring ones.

But once in a while, I’ll come across a photo that I actually like. I may not love it, but I’ll think, “Oh, this isn’t that bad.”

A few weeks back, I dropped off a number of rolls of film to be developed at the local photo lab. I had no idea what was on most of the rolls since some were old, but I was super eager to see what I took photos of.

I got the scans back and I just about died. They were so bad!

The most recent roll wasn’t as bad, but the other rolls really didn’t have any photos I remotely liked. The focus wasn’t great, the composition wasn’t great, I should have not been so close to the subject or I should have been closer, the color was off (expired film) and so on.

I was totally going to town nitpicking my photos.I got annoyed at myself.

I thought “Look at these horrible photos! Why did you waste your film on this picture?”  And to top it off, the recent roll I shot, I think the film was loose at times in the camera so some negatives were not fully exposed.

Argh!!!!

But I looked back at them again and realize it’s part of the process. Ask any creative person, especially those who you would consider talented and ask them if they like everything they create. Chances are they’ll say, “Hell NO!”

If anything, it reminded me of how far I’ve come as a photographer and not every photo I take is going to be great. As long as I keep practicing, the closer I’ll get to getting that photo I actually like.

It’s really easy to be critical of yourself about your photography but we all start somewhere. We gotta push through the negative thoughts we can have about ourselves about where we don’t “measure up” and know we just have to keep going and taking baby steps. One picture at a time.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts!