When I first started taking pictures of my kids, I really didn’t know much about what to look for in a good photograph. I know I still have a lot to learn but I can show you a few photo don’ts from my well stocked library of photo don’ts.
(photo taken with my Optio SI about a year ago)
Blowouts : Do I really need to point out what is wrong with this one?? The whole left side of his face and hair are blown. You can tell a photo has blown spots by the complete lack of detail and they usually “glow”. This happened from some pretty strong sunlight coming in the window. Most of the time you should look for good light, but not necessarily direct light. Direct light on your subject can produce such a stark contrast from the light and dark areas in your photos, whereby your camera won’t read it right and this sort of debacle occurs. It’s all about exposing it correctly and looking at the light.
(taken with my Optio SI last spring)
Now this photo shows two boo-boos. It’s underexposed AND blurry. A double whammy.
Blurry photos: There can be two culprits for blurry photos. One is that your shutter-speed wasn’t fast enough. This rambunctious toddler is coming off the slide so he was movin’ fast. The shutter-speed couldn’t keep up with him, especially in low light. The second reason that a photo may be blurry is that the focus point wasn’t on the subject. Since he was moving fast, that is likely another reason that the photo is blurry. Oh, and in photographer terms, a blurry, out-of-focus picture is often termed “soft”.
Underexposed: When I took this photo I was facing the setting sun, so the camera exposed for the sun and not the light in the foreground. Remember this was my point and shoot, so I didn’t have the option to do manual settings. If I had taken this with my D50, I would have made sure that the foreground was set to the proper exposure.
Now I have to address exposure in terms of taste, too. I like my photo’s to be “bright”, for the most part. Some people may think my pictures look a tad overexposed. There is a fine line you need to walk when you like bright photos, whereby you have to make sure you don’t have blowouts in them. This requires a little fiddling and erasing in Photoshop sometimes in post process. I usually bump up the lighting in most of my photos in Photoshop. Remember, I’m still learning how to take pictures and until I nail it, PS is my friend!
If your photo is only slightly soft, you can sharpen it post process in pretty much any photo-editing program. One thing to watch, though. You don’t want to oversharpen, which can result in hair that looks like straw and weird sharp features.
Until next week…feel free to pop me an e-mail if there is anything specific you would like me to cover!