Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photography -- Your questions answered. And a feature!

A few weeks ago, I was asked to be one of several photographers featured in the current edition of Serious Life Magazine. The issue is completely geared toward photography ... tutorials, galleries -- all things that would interest a person that wants to learn more about photography.

So go forth and read!



I get a lot of questions about photography ... and awhile ago, I said that I'd do a Q&A ... so here we go.

Kristin said ... Did you self teach yourself, or take classes? How long have you been at it? Thx :)

Indeed ... I taught myself. I spent many hours online ... reading tutorials, reading photography forums and reading blogs of professional photographers that I admire. I also enrolled in an online photography course through MLK Studios ... however I have yet to finish it.

And ... most importantly, I practiced. Practiced, practiced, practiced. I was determined to learn how to shoot in manual mode ... and I was also determined to learn how to use Photoshop.

And I did. I bought my first digital SLR camera a few years ago ... I have always sort of been interested in photography. It wasn't until almost a year ago ... though ... that I really started scouring the internet to read anything I could find on how to become a better photographer.


Charissa said ... You know I have a million questions. What is noiseware? What photo editing software do you recommend? We bought photoshop but I can't even figure out how to use it. And is there an online tutorial you can recommend?

Noise is something that you will produce in your image if your exposure is off ... or if your lighting is not good. And the higher you increase your ISO, the more noise you are going to get. It drives me insane.

Here is an example ... the close up of the ornament on the right ... very grainy ...
That is noise.

Noiseware is a software that can help to remove noise from images, however you need to be careful because it also can blur your image ... it is a fine line.

I upload all my images to Lightroom to do any exposure tweaking that I need to do ... and then I move the image into Photoshop CS4 for processing. I love Photoshop.

I learned to use Photoshop by reading, reading, reading. I read lots of tutorials at ILP and Clickin Moms ... and I participated in a few online workshops through Creative Techs. I have wanted to do a few workshops through MCP Actions, but I haven't done that yet ... they are a great resource though. I also love Coffeeshop ... there are so many really. I have a few other links that need to be updated on my blogroll.


Jeri said ... Can you give any advice for beginners or wannabe beginners?

While it is possible to yield great images using a point and shoot camera, it is hard. If possible, my first advice would be to invest in a digital SLR camera. And then work on learning how to shoot manually. Read your manual, read tutorials ... and practice.

Practice makes perfect.


Heidi said ... I love your pictures - you are an amazing photographer! My question is how did you learn how to use Photoshop and was it difficult to learn?

I posted some links above, but I also wanted to clue you into actions. I have a ton of actions that I have loaded into Photoshop. Some of my favorites that I use in my every day work flow are those from Pioneer Woman ... love her!


Kristin said ... Can you recommend a high quality camera for a beginner (just in case Santa's reading over my shoulder)? I love my $200 point & shoot, but it just can't take a picture in low light. Something $500 or less... is that too cheap?

Since I shoot Canon ... I'll go with that. The bottom-of-the-line digital SLR is the Canon XS. Right now you can get that on Amazon for $459 ... pretty good deal! This camera comes with a kit lens -- and they usually are not that great.

Many photographers who are just starting out will get a 50mm f/1.8 lens ... it will yield you decent results for less than $100. If you can afford to get a nicer lens, I would definitely recommend that. I found that I have a lot of focus issues with my 50mm f/1.8 and I hear that a lot from people when you are aiming to get a tack sharp image.


Angie said ... Didn't you use to use a SLR camera or something??

Yes ... and I still do. I shoot with a Canon xTi ... however I'm dying to upgrade my camera body. Many people might be surprised at the images I get out of this camera, but honestly ... it is because I've been renting a really expensive, super awesome lens.

The glass is more important than the camera body. The camera body helps, but your glass is what really matters.


  1. Thanks for the info - I totally chickened out and bought the step below an SLR last month (an ultrazoom). Part of me wished I would have bought an SLR (it was the same amount of $$), but I have a complete manual mode, so I can still learn to do cool things and then someday upgrade again :)

    P.S. I gave you an award on my blog :)

  2. Thanks for all of the info. I recently took a couple courses at that our local camera shop offers and it really helped me to understand what does what and why. Now I just need to practice like you said. It's one thing to learn it all, it's another to actually DO it when you're presented with different scenarios. I would love to learn lightroom and photoshop, but one one thing at a time! LOL.

  3. Thank you for all of that awesome info Bethany! I am obsessed with pictures and FINALLY got the digital SLR i have been asking for FOREVER! I now have a nikon d5000 but need to read the manual, watch the video dvd that came w/ it and check out some of the sites you listed in this post! i LOVE your pictures!!!!! :)

  4. You are really talented, too. That should be put out there. Absolutely love your pictures...

  5. Thank you so much for answering our questions and posting those links. I am eager to check them out!

  6. Congrats on the inclusion in Simple Life! What an honor to be asked! I always enjoy checking out your photos and reading about your fam! (I just got done reading through all of the comments on your post about school for the girls... I was hoping to comment myself sometime! You got some great feedback from others!) LOVE the pics of Nika in your last post -- her faces CRACK ME UP!

  7. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been looking at the Canon EF 24-70mm/2.8. I can't justify buying it right now while we're trying to pay for the adoption and I've looked at other rental sites that don't have it in stock. I'm SO excited! Can't wait to get it and start playing.

  8. Thanks for you info, looking forward to checking out some of the sites you mentioned.. Congrats on your invite to Serious Life Magazine!!!!

  9. Cathy Aden's mummyJune 2, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    popping back in for some links for actions
    really need to understand this end of things.