How To Take Pictures Like A Pro

Since I have been with this blog, I have come such a long way with my photography skills have gotten better. I was looking back on the pictures I took with my under $100 POS and how “terrible” they seem in retrospect! From that camera, I went to a POS that was in the $250 range and the quality of the pictures leaped up dramatically. I was pretty happy with the quality of those pictures for more than a year. I decided to take a photography class at the local college and they required a DSLR. After shopping around for quite a while, I got a low-mid-range DSLR that was adequate to learn on. I learned so many great things in that class and I feel pumped up my photography skills.

Take Pictures Like A Pro

Since my class, I have been fortunate to have been sent two of the best cameras on the market. I received the Pentax K-5 and K-5 II S, both of which are Ah-mazing! Along with the cameras, I also received a lens that I have had on my wish list for some time now. The lens has a range of 18-135 mm, which is more than double the distance you get with most DSLR cameras. Because a lot of the tricks I learned were fairly simple to master, I wanted to pass them on to you. Hopefully once you try and master a few of the tips, you will be able to take pictures like a pro! On a recent trip to a local nature center, I took a ton of pictures using these tips with the Pentax K-5.

Distance: Rabert Capa, a famous photographer once said, “If it isn’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” This is a fun tip to play with because you can really see such a huge difference in your distance/close up shots. For my example, I used a variety of subjects to give you several examples. In the end, I think this is more about personal preference and the effect you are looking for. I tend to prefer the close up shots of things while many people may prefer the more distant shot.

DIstanve

Lighting: Lighting is such a fun thing to play around with because there are so many effects you can attain. I was playing around with pictures at dusk and then at twilight and I love how the lights play on the water. You can also play with your aperture and ISO for different lighting as well. One fun trick you can try at night is to wait until it is dark. Set your camera to the “bulb” setting and find some moving cars. Follow the car with your camera and you will see light trails. If you cannot wait for dark to try this, take a portable light into a dark room as I did and follow the object. This is a really fun effect to use.

Lighting

Depth of Field: I LOVE playing with this perspective because you get two very different results. Doing this is quite simple, you just need a bit of practice. What you need to do is get quite close to a subject and you will focus on two different areas. To make the background blur, you need to focus on the object closest to you. This will make that subject in sharp focus and the background blurry. To do the opposite, you will focus on something in the background. This will give you the background to focus and the foreground to be blurry.

Depth Of Field

Motion: One of my favorite “tricks” I have learned with my DSLR is how to freeze motion. Now this is an obsession for me! Currently, I am fascinated with getting pictures of rain drops. I have not mastered this one yet, but stay tuned because I am going to get fierce with this one! Again, this is easy to do once you know how. All you do is put your camera on “shutter” mode and remember, the higher the shutter speed for the faster the action. For the water shots, I chose to use a shutter speed of 500 and for the trampoline, I used 400. I love how the water droplets look so clear, what do you think?

Motion

Perspective:  One thing I tried while at the nature center was to take shots of one item, but from different angles. I love how the plants on the trellis turned out. I am sure the folks there thought I was mad climbing, hanging upside down and laying on the ground! Too funny!

Perspective

Composition: Composition is about what the picture is made up of. One important tip you will learn about taking great pictures is the composition of the picture. I spent years stuck in the world where all pictures should be of pretty things that are in the center of the photo. Well, that is not true at all! Just like art, photography and it’s perspective is mainly in the eye of the beholder. So, play around with how things look to you from the viewfinder. Put the subject on the side, hide her behind some plants, take a photo of someone’s feet! Get creative!

Composition

Since I received my Pentax cameras and lens, I have had my camera with me virtually all of the time. I am now obsessed with taking pictures (as you probably guessed) that are considered to be pretty good. Please do not mistake this for my skills, but rather the excellent camera I used. I have been blown away by the performance of the Pentax products. I knew Pentax had been around a long time, but I did not realize how long. They started way back in 1919 under the name of Asahi Optical Joint Stock Co. They developed their first SLR camera in the 1950’s. Since then, they have been on the cutting edge of the imaging world. Many of the world’s famed and novice photographers alike carry the Pentax brand around their necks! The company also carries products for sports optics and commercial and residential security products.

Of the two cameras I received, I have worked most with the K-5 II, which is highly advanced and one of the best DSLR cameras on the market. The camera has 16.3 megapixels, an auto focus that can focus in low conditions and a scratch resistant 3″ LCD screen. You can shoot video in the clearest HD you have ever seen and offers 100% field of view, which most in it’s class cannot offer. The shake reduction feature almost eliminates the need for a tripod, which is especially helpful for people like me who do not have the steadiest of hands. With the array of special effects filters built into the camera, you can get creative without even using a photo imaging and editing program! One of my favorite features is that it offer 1/8000 shutter speed which is unheard of with most DSLR cameras. I will put it to you this way: that is something most of us novices will never even know how to use let alone have the occasion to. It also offers an incredibly fast framerate which means you can take continuous shots in the blink of an eye.

I could list a lot of other amazing features but most of us would not even know what they meant (I had to look some of them up!). Because I take a lot of my pictures outside, I am so grateful to have a camera that has a alloy over stainless steel for a sturdy frame and it is weather sealed to keep the elements where they belong; outside the camera. The Pentax K-5 II S has the same features and advantages as the K-5 II with some added features. This camera will take an even more detailed and higher quality photo than the K-5 II. This is due to the lack of the low pass filter. This filter softens the image by a small amount to minimize pattern inference in it’s grid. What this means is that the filter in the K-5 II makes its pictures not quite as sharp as those from the K-5 II s. You can purchase the Pentax products from fine retailers that carry quality cameras. You can also purchase them from Amazon. The K-5 II camera body only retails for $1,099.00 on Amazon, while the K-5 II s body retails for $1,199.00. The 18-135 lens for the Pentax DSLR cameras retails for $529.95 on Amazon.

1 COMMENT

  1. if i can add a few things i’ve learned about photography….
    – when you take pictures of people, never cut the pictures off at a natural break (ex. elbow, neck, knee, etc.)
    – always leave more space in front of the direction the person/animal is looking
    – always look in the background to be sure nothing looks like it’s growing out of their head
    – posed pictures usually aren’t as interesting as spontaneous ones are
    and as my father always told me….when you go on vacation and take pictures, always have someone you know in the picture…if not, then just buy the postcard….

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