Archive of ‘Helpful Hints’ category

Using Your New DSLR: The Basics | Santa Maria Newborn Photography

By Mary Thomas

Hey all! I know that a lot of people just got a new camera for Christmas and are taking blurry photos on auto and don’t know why. I’m not here to make you read a novel, but just to give you some handy hints. You probably tried to read your manual! Ha! I hate manuals.

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Indoor Photography: Its Your Lens

Aperture (or f/stop): Okay, so here is the deal. If you are inside your dark house and trying to use your 18-55 zoom lens, you probably have a max aperture of 3.5, so that’s as big as your lens will open to let light in. That’s fine for outdoor shots, but not ideal for indoor photography. If you want to take photos of your kids indoors, you will either need a very bright light source (a flash, huge windows) or a lens that opens wider to let in more light, like say a lens with an aperture of 1.4 or 1.8.

Focal Length: When investing in a new prime lens for indoor photography, consider the length, because prime lenses DO NOT ZOOM. If you have large rooms in your house, so that you can stand further back to get your whole family in the picture, then a 50mm is probably fine. If you have dance halls, an 85mm might suit you fine. But if you have an average, small home with tight corners and halls, I would recommend a 35mm.

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Your Shutter Speed is Too Slow

The less light you have, the longer your shutter has to stay open to gather the light it needs to expose the photograph. So if your child is kicking his legs and your shutter is at 1/80, his legs will be a blur. Your automatic settings don’t know what you are trying take a picture of. They only know what ratio will produce a perfectly exposed photograph. This is why auto will often produce blurry photos. It is fixing the exposure in lower light, but it doesn’t know that you are trying to freeze your naked running toddler fresh out of the bath. That’s why learning your settings and what they do is vital to getting what you want from your camera.

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Check out this chart from http://www.thetripoddiaries.com, it has been my favorite simple cheat sheet for learning settings:

Tripod Diaries

 

I hope this gives you a place to start getting better photos of your kids with your fun new camera! Don’t be afraid of practicing in manual. You can do it!

If you are a client of mine, and you want to take a short class to get some hands on help in person, send me an email and I will put together some dates!  mary@twohappylambs.com

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