CA Girl: What got you into photography?
EmmyMom: I have always liked photography; when I graduated from high school my parents bought me a camera. I got to choose whatever kind I wanted. My dad was steering me towards a little point and shoot, as it would be easy to carry around; but I wanted the big dog, the Canon Rebel G (film version-as this was pre-digital). I think I mostly wanted it as I thought it made me look like a professional; didn't really have any clue how to use it-it just looked cool.
Then my sister-in-law Rachel got the Canon Rebel G-digital a few years back and was taking amazing pictures. So I knew what was on my list. I got my Rebel G Xti and just haven't looked back.
CG: Have you ever taken any courses?
EM: I have attended a few photography lectures; but I am mostly self taught. I learn through shooting a lot and through reading lots and lots of library books.
CG: On average how many pictures do you take in a sitting/outing?
EM: During a recent family photo shoot, I shot for about a hour. In that hour I took almost 200 pictures, 50 of which I immediately deleted (well immediately AFTER I had uploaded them on my computer-never delete from the little view finder window unless it is beyond obviously bad). I then did more in-depth editing and ended up with 57 unique shots that were good enough to give the client. So taking a lot of pictures, especially when you are first learning is a must.
CG: What kinds of things do you look for in a photo op?
EM: I look for catching that real moment or something that shows real personalities. Yes, sometimes it is good to get everyone together and say "smile" but those unexpected moments, those real interactions, the unexpected surprises are what are so fun to catch.
CG: I am of the opinion that people are bestowed with certain gifts, but I am also of the opinion that if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. That being said, how do I become a good (better than I am) photographer? What is the first thing I should learn?
EM: The first thing that you should learn is your pictures are not going to look like the ones on your favorite photographers site. Even as you get good and start being able to take amazing pictures, they will and should have your own style. If you are just trying to copy what you see out there, you will never be happy-as it will never be the exact same. Now, with that said, it is good to look at other pictures, see what you like about them, why you like them and try and follow the rules that that photographer used but don't try and copy.
CG: What are your favorite editing secrets?
EM: Lightroom. I love the program. It is easier to use than Photoshop or similar programs and is all just about the lighting and coloring of a picture. But my other favorite thing that can be done in any program is usually to bump up the exposure a bit and sharpen the picture. But I do sometimes do some more crazy editing, like make people disappear from pictures.
CG: A lot of people (myself included) have trouble with composition. I will look at a subject and think I have the frame filled nicely and it turns out I have a mile of space around or above my subject. How do you judge this without the use of a zoom lens? Also, I have been known to fill the frame too much and cropping it or printing results in cutting the subject out.
EM: The only way to figure out composition is to take some practice shots with your camera. Every camera is different. More often than not I will think I am filling the frame but there is extra space. Get a willing subject or even just a stuffed animal and take several pictures. Notice what it looks like in your frame and then see how it looks when it is uploaded, assuming you are using digital.
Printing can be tricky. Most point and shoot cameras do not actually take a 4X6 picture. So if you have a point and shot and are printing 4X6 snapshots pick the "true digital" option if available. The pictures will actually only be 4 X 5.7 or something like that, but then you will not get any weird cropping that you did not expect.
CG: Tell me about one of your favorite pictures.
EM: While I have a lot of shots that might be more interesting and even better photographically but this will always be one of my favorite pictures. Why? This was taken just a few days after I got my Rebel G Xti. I think I shot over 1000 pictures that month just trying out my camera. And this is one of those shots that after I took it made me think, yes I can do this.
CG: Now tell me about the one that made you cringe.
EM: I don't keep many bad pictures, in fact I delete them pretty quickly-as those cringe worthy shots make me think: what in the world? Do I even know what I am doing?? So I made sure to save one from my latest photo shoot.
Not only is the picture totally blurry but my husbands head looks huge and almost like it is coming out of the picture. Also it is overexposed to the point where Ryder and Eric's arm are hard to distinguish. Shots like this make me think, what in the world am I doing?
CG: Are there any other tips or pointers you can give to the novice photographer?
EM: The first thing that took my pictures up a level is the lighting. Most people pick up a camera, turn it on and take a picture and more often than not the flash goes off. The built in flashes will make a picture look flat. If you want that professional/dimensional look, use natural light and turn the flash off! A good source of natural light from the side makes for a beautiful picture with interesting light and depth. And so this isn't too long, you can see a few extra tips for beginners on my blog here.
This photo was taken with the light from the window coming from the right. No flash, all natural. Look at how beautifully it illuminates his sweet face.
Thank you Emmy for spending time with us today. Your tips and hints are greatly appreciated.
***All photos are property of Emmy Mom of Emily Kathryn Photography.***