Lessons learned shooting engagement photos

Karl Barth

Last month I was asked to do an engagement shoot in Washington DC.  The bride-to-be saw my pictures on Facebook of the various monuments and buildings I shot and she wanted pictures taken around the monuments.

Photo by Karl BarthFor me this was a great honor but also a little nerve wracking.  This was my first customer and I didn’t want to mess up this opportunity.  I also had to plan the shoot.  What equipment would I need to bring with me?  Would I need my tripod?  The bride-to-be wanted to shoot around the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II memorial.  I also suggested shooting at Constitutional Gardens.  I’ve shot there numerous times and it’s a beautiful spot with views of the Washington Monument.

On the day of the shoot, Mother Nature was not cooperating.  It was cloudy and there were chances of rain throughout the day. The bride-to-be still wanted to do the shoot and I felt I might still get some good shots.

I got to the first site early, Constitutional Gardens, to scope out places to shoot along with determine what settings to use.  I always shoot in manual mode.  I decided to use go with a shutter speed of 200 and an ISO of 400.  I also kept the auto focus (AF-Area) set to the closet subject setting.

The shoot went well and I felt I got some good shots.  When I got home and starting looking at the pictures I saw several mistakes right away.  The biggest mistake I made was my focal area.  I should have set the focus area (or AF-Area) to the Single Area and not the closet subject.  There were quite a few pictures where the subject (bride-to-be) was out of focus because my camera was focusing on something else (i.e. a monument post) like the one below.

Another mistake was not bringing lens wipes with me.  We ran into some rain and despite my best efforts to protect my camera, I got a little bit of rain on the lens and I didn’t realize it until it was too late.  I also should have used a different shutter setting.  The pictures that did turn out came out darker than I liked.  While I was able to fix them in Lightroom, I would have preferred shoot it right with my camera. 

As I reflected upon the shoot, I was disappointed with how the pictures turned out but I learned from my mistakes.  The most important thing was the bride-to-be was pleased with some of the pictures.

Creating the Droste Effect

Jeff Smallwood

Have you ever pointed a video camera at the monitor where the live image is being displayed. Have you ever pointed your webcam at your computer screen and witnessed the screen in a screen in a screen ad infinitum? I know I used to do that all the time as a kid, always with a twinge of guilt that somehow the infinity point might break the screen.

Read the full article to learn an easy way you can create images with the Droste effect and to see examples of it in action.

All About Flickr - Web Meeting

Guy Stephens

If you missed last nights great web meeting the recording is now available online if you didn’t get a chance to participate and want to see it.

Flickr presentationWe covered some of the basics including photo uploading, tagging, organizing, geo-tagging, sharing, posting to groups and making/managing contacts.

We also addressed security and restricting access to your photos. This included ways you can post photos to Flickr and share with the club or your contacts w/o making them available to the public or anyone you don’t know.  Jeff also pointed out a few 3rd party tools and utilities that help make using Flickr easier.

If you aren’t already a Flickr user we encourage you to join up. You can use your existing Yahoo account or can join with your Google or Facebook account too. Our club has many active members on the site and we consistently post and share photos in the club’s Flickr Group.

Thanks Jeff for the great presentation!

Vertical Panoramas - Try Looking Up and Down

Jeff Smallwood

I took a vertical panorama while on a photo trip a couple weeks ago and it got me thinking. Most people think of panoramas as looking along the horizon, but vertical panoramas can be creative and result in stunning views as well. If you find a scene that looks great from top to bottom you don’t need an expensive wide-angle or fish-eye to capture it. Read More

Taking Long Exposures

Jeff Smallwood

We’ve all seen the classic soft waterfall shots, the smooth ocean around the rocky shore, the star trails in the night sky, or the busy city street where all the people and cars become ghosts of blur. I think those are interesting photos as they give us a way to visualize the motion of the world using something that doesn’t move. A movie of a still subject is boring, but a still photo of the world in motion can be quite the opposite.

Dive into the world of long exposures. Club member Jeff Smallwood gives some tips and pointers in an article on how to take long exposures.

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