May 08, 2012

Let's Talk Photos

Hi everyone! Hope you're having a good week so far.

As I told you in my last post, I decided that that I was going to talk a little bit about photography since it's the topic about which I probably receive the most emails. The two main things that people seem to be interested in are what kind of camera and lenses I have and also if I could offer any photography tips. Well, I'll do my best to answer both of those questions right here.

Okay, let's first talk about equipment. It's seems like there's always the question of Nikon or Canon...Canon or Nikon. When I was shopping for a new camera, I had a hard time choosing since I didn't know too much about photography, but after a little research, I ultimately decided on a Canon Rebel T2i and an 18-55mm lens. Its not the fanciest set-up, but I don't think a person could go wrong with any of the cameras from either brand.  I chose Canon since they were supposed to be easy to use and, frankly, I just needed to finally make a decision.

I've had my camera for about a year and a half, and while I really like it, I also have dreams of upgrading. It seems like most people who love photography, either as a hobby or profession, are always thinking about what other equipment they'd like to add to their collection. The hardest part is getting your pocketbook to match your desires or having patience to save for that special something.

Once you have your camera, the next thing I would suggest is one simple, but important thing, which is to read the manual, over and over.  If you can purchase a nice, big, in-depth manual for your camera, such as this one...DO IT!  I have found that reading that big book, rather than the little teeny, tiny thing that came with my camera, to be so helpful. I would also recommend the book, Understanding Exposure to gain a better grasp of aperture, shutter speed and lighting. For additional reading materials, there are also lots of wonderful photography blogs and sites that offer great tutorials and endless inspiration, a few of which you can find on my sidebar.

Okay, time for some tips...there's only a few and they're nothing too earth shattering.

When I think about photography and my workflow, there are three elements that come to mind...composition/styling, shooting and post-processing. Since I think I'll do a separate post about composition, I'll just jump to my shooting basics and you can glean from that what you will.

First, I should say, I'm mostly a natural light photographer. The pictures in this post were shot outdoors, which is something I do quite frequently. I generally take my photos either early in the morning or later in the day since the light is softer...with my preference being late afternoon. Since the majority of the things I photograph are little vignettes with flowers or food, I usually take everything outdoors and arrange it all on a big board, which I then move around on the ground to adjust to the changing light. The best placement seems to be areas that are brightly lit, but not in direct sun...a little backlighting or dappled sun is nice though. As I'm working, I'll take things away and add new items, varying the heights, textures and colors to see what seems to look best. I don't really plan things out, preferring to let things flow naturally. To brighten up my shots and reduced any shadows, I use a white foam board to bounce light back onto the subject.

This probably goes without saying, but when you're taking photos try and remain as still as possible...don't be all herky-jerky. Keep your elbows tucked close to your sides and your body stable. And when you're pushing down the shutter release button try to do it slowly and smoothly.

As for my camera settings, I prefer aperture priority mode, although I am trying to be better about using  manual more often. To get some background blur, I generally keep the aperture pretty wide open and, more often than not, I'll also increase the exposure compensation to lighten the photo up a bit too.

Okay, once I'm all done shooting, I use Photoshop Elements for post-processing. While it's definitely a program that takes awhile to learn, I'd never be able to get my photos close to my liking without it. It seems as if there's always something to lighten, brighten, darken, sharpen or erase. Sometimes I'll use textures or actions from Kim Klassen or Florabella to alter the look or feel of my photos, except when the photo involves food which, I feel, looks best in its true colors.  Although I could probably put together a few basic posts about photo-editing, I don't really want to, nor do I think I'm the best person for explaining all that's involved. If you're looking for some great tutorials, Ashley at Ramblings and Photos has a lot to offer.

Well, that's that. Hopefully, that wasn't too boring for you. Does anyone have any tips or anything they want to add?

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Lastly, you may or may not have noticed, but I haven't felt much like blogging or visiting lately. I just thought I would mention that since I don't want anyone to feel like they're being ignored or anything. I hope to get back in the swing of things this week.

Have a good day!



  1. this was very helpful and interesting...thank you! photography was once my major in college and now is just a hobby for me. i love taking photos of home interiors and vignettes. I always enjoy your gorgeous photos, Tricia!
    i also love your honesty here, about not feeling like blogging much or wanting to post about photo editing...i like a gal that tells it like it is! enjoy your day, whatever you do...

  2. Awesome post Tricia!! I definitely need help with using my Canon too!! I love it love it love it... but don't understand it as well as I should. lol! I'm working on it! ;) xoxox, Courtney

  3. You know what I love about your photos? The softness and delicacy of your composition, colors, and subjects. I know the natural lighting definitely helps, but I honestly think a lot of it comes from you having a good eye for arrangement of your subject. I love your photos.

  4. Gosh these are sweet photos! Love the little spoons!

  5. thank you so much for the tips Tricia, they help a lot!!
    cariños from Chile

  6. Thank you for mentioning Understanding Exposure, Tricia!
    Every time someone asks me for photography tips or advice, that's the one must-have book I direct them to.

    Beautiful work, as always!!!


    P.S. And I still love ya, even though I'm a Nikon girl. ;-)

  7. Hi Tricia,
    I understand why it took you so long to decide, I've been researching and looking for months. I can't wait to come back here and study these tips, which I value because you take the most beautiful photos. I think you also just have the eye and the talent for it too.

    Hope you're enjoying your time away. :)

  8. i Love the new layout, really nice, simple & beautiful!
    Great light on your photos, like always :)

  9. thanks, tricia. i am one of those just shoot when the light seems right kinda bloggers. this was a generous post to share so thank you. i have no idea what i am doing with the camera and WORSE, i have very little desire to improve--isn't that despicable? what i love is enjoying pretty pictures from people who know what they're doing like the ones shot by you, believing there is magic involved, and never ever reading a manual.


  10. Thank you so much Tricia for these wonderful tips!!! I'm going with a Canon as well. I just think it's going to be a good match for me.
    I love the tip about using the foam board to bounce light back onto the subject, I will definitely try that!
    I will be purchasing the book Understanding exposure as well, I've heard so many positive things about it!!
    Thanks again and take care!! I too know how how it feels to need a break from blogging!

  11. I love your photos! Best wishes, Carmen

  12. Thanks for wonderful tips!
    Your photos are very nice!

  13. Hey lovely,

    I'll try shooting outside - though England's weather is AWFUL at the moment - rain, rain and more rain!!

    I loved this post - and had been looking forward to it lots!! Thank you.


  14. Just glad to see yet another pretty post...we all feel like that from time to time...My camera died today right after I posted so I guess I am on abit of break now too!! Take it easy,Chrissy

  15. this photos are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing these tips and your process!

  16. Wonderful tips! I'm chilling from blogging a bunch too...keeps me from feeling as if I'm not living!

  17. Great tips. And it reminds me that I need to finish reading my Understanding Exposure book. I have been having a hard time getting around to visit people lately too. I'm in a Spring funk or something.

  18. Stacey sent me over here and I just wanted to say thank you. I just bought the same camera (and a similar lens) and I have no idea what I am doing and this shed a little light into a fuzzy understanding.

    Is there a way to subscribe by e-mail so I can get the future posts you want to do on this?


  19. Thank you. Interesting to know how you arrive at your images. :)

  20. Lovely and great tips Miss blogging here or photography for that matter:( Just lots of planning, packing, and moving. Look forward to your next post as always.


  21. Thanks so much for your wonderful tips. Your photos always look amazing. It is hard to sit on a computer and blog when it is so pretty outside!


  22. That is such an interesting post. I'm always happy to learn about photography. Your pictures always look so light and fresh. Those books look interesting too.

  23. Thank you so much for taking the time to post all this info...someday I hope/need to start a blog & great pictures are sooooo important to a successful blog...and you take such lovely pictures, I always enjoy seeing/reading your latest posts :)
    Smiles, DianeM

  24. Thanks for the hints, Tricia! I will definitely try to keep them in mind!

  25. Good to hear from you! Four years ago when I decided to take up photography, I also chose the Canon because it was more user friendly. And I also shoot on aperture priority which works well most of the time, but there are times when I really would like to exercise more control over my photos. The problem is, I like to shoot birds, animals, wildlife, and those critters are constantly moving around, so AP makes the most sense. I don't have the patience to be constantly fiddling with the settings.

    I love your photos because they're so light and airy. I'll have to try that tip on exposure. I've used it before but I always forget about it.

  26. Totally agree with you about reading the manual. I now shoot in manual 100% of the time. It's pretty easy since I shoot food for a living and it does not move!! Love your photos as always!

  27. Thank you for the tips and sharing your beautiful photos! I'd love to be able to post quality photos, but need the time to be able to just play with my camera. I've got a Canon Rebel T1i that I don't think I'll be outgrowing in the near future.

    Love those checkered spoons!

  28. We have the same camera - love mine! I have a birthday coming up this weekend and I've asked for my 3rd lens. So excited to start using it! (Adore you checked spoons!)

  29. The Canon Rebel is on my wish list. Tricia, you are like the 6th person who has told me that they use and love that camera. I'm sold just looking at your photos. It is no secret that you are gifted in composition, along with the total package of photography. But your ideas and layout for composition is what makes your photos stand out over the best of the best. I think your designer talents are showing!!!

    Thank you for this informative post. I will go back to it often I'm sure, once I get my camera one day.

    ♥Lee Ann

  30. Thanks for the tips.
    You're amazing photos prove that you know what you're doing and saying.

    Have a nice day!

  31. Thanks so much Tricia! I pinned your tips. I tried out some of them today. You're the best!

  32. Great tips! I would say all the same things :) I'm a Canon girl too - I must get that big manual because I know there is a lot more I can learn. I always love your pictures.

  33. Thank you for sharing, Tricia.
    Your art and your generous spirit are a gift to so many!

  34. Love your photos and happily following now.
    Joasia x

  35. Thanks for all your tips, very informative. Gorgeous photos as well!

  36. Tricia,
    You know I am here taking notes, right?!
    I still didn't get my wanted camera, but it's on top of my must get list.
    Thank you for this post and I look forward to more...

  37. Wonderful tips, Tricia! :)
    And exquisite photos, as always!
    Thanks for brightening by not-so-great week. :)

  38. I love love love this post! Your pics are always so beautiful.

  39. Hi Tricia! That wasn't too boring for me at all, in fact I loved reading every word. You were very helpful and we can all use all the help we can get, lol. And here I thought you always shot indoors. It's nice to know that you can get the light you need in a lot of your photographs doing it that way. Looks like I need to do that as well because quite frankly, the light in my kitchen is just horrible.

    I need a new camera so bad, it 'ain't' funny, but still, I do the best with what I have.

    Now where in the world did you get those cute little spoons? I 'lust after spoons like that lol. I see the spoons Cannelle et Vanille uses and I'm sure shes buys them in Spain because I searched for hours one night and I didn't find any patterned spoons anywhere in this Country LOL!

    Hope you have a wonderful week sweetee!
    Can't wait for more posts like this!

  40. I've got my eye on that Canon Mark 5D but first I must win the lottery! lol If I win I will get you one too :) ;)

  41. Great tips Tricia! I always LOVE your beautiful shots. You have such an awesome talent!
    hugs from here...

  42. A great post, and as always, such beautiful photographs Tricia.
    Thank you!!

  43. It's always wonderful to hear more great tips!!
    Thank you for taking the time!!!

  44. Wonderful post, Tricia. I think many bloggers are taking blogging breaks right now. I think many of us need to take breaks now and then just to give creativity a boost again. I hope you have a great weekend.

  45. What a great post, Tricia with so many great tips! And taking a break is always a good idea. I have been overwhelmed lately and haven't had time to visit any of my favorite blogs lately and I always feel badly, but then remember it's okay!

  46. I love the pictures, I am still a work in progress when it comes to photography. Can't wait to look around your blog!

  47. I love Blueberries....I always go out in the forrest and pick my own in the end of the summer...and make a blueberrie pie:)) love Maria

  48. It's always wonderful browsing through your archives! :)
    Have a happy week!

  49. Great post, Tricia! Your photos are always SO inspires me to learn more!

  50. Wonderful pictures, and not just in this post. I so wish I can photograph like that too. :)

    Keep shooting, keep writing. I'll be following your blog!

    A first time visitor.

  51. Gorgeous photos and fantastic tips and instruction! Bravo!!!! I love your natural lighting in your shots and it's so nice to know that you shoot a great deal outdoors. I probably need to do more of that to get the look I want. I know what you mean about always wanting to upgrade. I just did a couple of months ago from my 5 year old Sony A100 to a pro-level Sony A77. I am SO glad I took the plunge. I'm loving the results with my new camera!

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  52. WOW WOW first time visiting here at your blog. I am in love girl!! You have done a remarkable job!!!! Your photo staging is just incredible!! I will be back many times to see your work.
    Laurie at Pride In Photos

  53. So beautiful. Absolutely amazing. Have a great week. Greetings from Romania

  54. Hi Tricia, Happy I've found you, your picures are just gorgeous :-)
    Have a great weekend, Carolina

  55. Hey are you? Got your notes you left thrilled you came by! Enjoy the rest of your week! x0

  56. Great tips, Tricia. I also
    like to shoot in AP, but
    I haven't played with
    exposure compensation.
    I also bought "the big
    book," but have yet to
    crack it! So many things
    I want to accomplish, yet
    never enough time. You
    have spurred me on to
    crack that book and get
    back to experimenting
    with my camera.

    Hope you are having a
    wonderful week! Feels
    more like June than May,
    don't you think??

    xo Suzanne

  57. I'm a professional photographer and I just love your photographs as well as this wonderful simple easy guide you've written! This would be a great reference for my students just learning the practice! You make everything look delicious and eye appetizing! LOVE YOUR BLOGS!!!!!


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