Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From One Amateur Photographer to Another...

     Hey everybody! I hope you're having an absolutely lovely spring :)
     So besides reading, playing the piano, and discovering new music, one of my favorite pastimes is photography. I have posted some of my pics on my blog before, but figured it was high time to share a few more... along with some tips for any more aspiring photographers out there! So here are a few of my recent faves:
                                                                Photo #1: Cityscape
Tip #1: Don't wait for the "perfect" day. I took this photo from a dorm room at Moody Bible Institute one morning. The tiny glimpse of sunlight peeking through the low cloud cover adds variety and intrigue. Don't be intimidated by less-than-ideal weather conditions. Some of the most interesting photos happen when the weather refuses to cooperate :)

Photo #2: Sunrise Field
Tip #2: Seek out backlighting. Backlighting is a photography term referring to light coming from the back of a subject, as the name suggests. Really experiment with this technique and I promise you'll love it! You can get this awesome warm glow around your subject, and often some really cool solar flares. Sunrise and sunset are the perfect times for taking backlit pics.

Photo #3: Bean Sprout
Tip #3: Back up and zoom in. You've probably heard that its best to get physically "up close and personal" with your subject. However, if you don't have a DSLR (I don't), I have found that stepping back and zooming in gives the most professional-looking results. That is the only way I have found to get this blurry background without buying a really expensive camera...

 Photo #4: Tiny Blossoms
Tip #4: Focus on detail. This was really a very ordinary-looking little bean plant just starting to bloom. But when I zoomed in on the tiny details (notice the ants on one of the flowers) it suddenly became very interesting and unique :)

Photo #5: Sunset Horse
Tip #5: Pick an unusual subject to focus on. The natural choice for a focal point in this picture would have been the horse grazing contentedly in the field... but who likes to do what's expected? ;) The focus on the cluster of oak leaves turned out really intense. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take several different pictures of the same subject, experimenting with different focuses.

Photo #6: Setting Sun
Tip #6: Don't be afraid of the sun. I know that there are times when it is best to have the sun at your back, or even for it to be completely covered by clouds. And if you're doing portraits, you might not want a big flaming fire-ball stealing all the thunder. But don't give up on it all together. As one of my friends once said: "The sun is so photogenic!" :D

Photo #7: Maple Sillhouette 
Tip #4: Silhouettes are awesome. Really the only way to get great silhouettes is to put the light behind your subject (again!). You can do silhouettes of nature things, like these here leaves, or of people! I recently took some silhouette photos of some girls sitting on a gate... turned out really good!

Photo #8: Senior Photo
Tip #8: Get creative with placement. I could have put my brother (the next three are from his senior photo-shoot) on the other side of  the frame that way he wouldn't have been looking out of the picture, but the long evening shadows were just too cool to cut!

Photo #9: A Few of My Favorite Things
Tip #9: Incorporate key objects. Including carefully selected objects, like my brother's guitar and Geo Tracker, can really add to a photo... especially when doing portraits. If you're taking pictures of people, think "what does this person really like?" and try to let that shine through!

Photo #10: Le Guitar
Tip #10: Edit. Now, you don't have to go all wild-and-crazy with editing, but some simple exposure adjustments or color filters can make an ordinary photo "pop." For these photos, I used, which I HIGHLY suggest for non-professional-but-still-good-looking edits! The features I used on these photos include "auto-adjust," "black and white," "contrast," "dusk," and my all-time favorite: "cross-process" (used on 7, 9, 10, and possibly 2...)!!!

     Let me know which pics are your favorites!


  1. All of these pictures are gorgeous! I think the 3rd one is my favorite.

  2. These are *awesome,* Amber!! Love all the tips as well. I must say my favorites are the first and last. The light in the fog is just incredible in that one of Chicago! And PicMonkey -- YES. Obsessed with that editor. It is the best. :D

    Oh! Speaking of editors... I recently stumbled across another one, called Ribbet. It's built on the *exact* same platform as the old Picnic, and is pretty much completely identical to it... I'm used to the layout of PicMonkey now, but I have tried Ribbet a couple times and it's really nice. One thing Iiked about is, is the option of editing several photos at once, and they have a couple different filters than PicMonkey for some variety. :D So anyway! Just thought I'd share. ;)

  3. Thanks, Bethie! I used Ribbet yesterday (at your suggestion), and I was like, "PICNIK!!!!!!" I'm so excited :D Ah, yes, the cityscape picture is my personal favorite...

  4. Had to remind myself, "It's OK to look at the sun!" ;)