Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Photographing Life

Last night I read Nick Kelsh's How to Photograph Your Life, a book I asked for and received for Christmas. It doesn't take long to read in terms of text, but the ideas he gives could keep a person busy for years. I think if everyone tried just the following five things, without worrying about f-stops and shutter speeds and such, they would revolutionize their casual photography significantly:

1. Fill your frame with what you want to see in your picture, either by zooming in or standing closer to your subject. I started doing this instinctively when I started scrapbooking. Since scrapbooking starts with cropping out extraneous background material, I just naturally started zooming in to focus on my subject, leaving out the extraneous material to begin with. I think it has made my photos of Katy much better.

2. Take lots and lots of photos, then go back and delete the ones you don't love. You are bound to snap a few beauties among the less-than-perfect. That's the beauty of digital cameras!

3. Keep your subject off-center in the photo--to the right or left if people, above or below if landscapes. I don't know if I do this or not; it's something I want to start paying attention to and playing around with.

4. Turn off your flashand use natural light. (The light at sunrise and sunset is best; avoid high noon.) I discovered this just playing around when photographing Katy.

5. When photographing a table of people, stand on a chair to look down on all the people and the table, too. (People look better when their chins are raised to the camera, too. I discovered this when pregnancy gave me a bit of a second chin, and I don't think I've quite shaken it yet. Best not to call attention to it in photos, when possible!)

Like I said, just thinking about these five simple things will make your photos so much more effective, without thinking about any special equipment or sophisticated techniques.

The Katy Report: Though Katy's crying continued last night and this morning, I am discovering at this very moment that the Lion King soundtrack and laying down next to me while I type away at the computer seems to keep Katy happily occupied! Like everything else, it's working for the moment, and may or may not ever work again. She is so aware of what is going on around her. If I set down her bottle to burp her, she looks over longingly to where I have set the bottle. She knows where her food comes from, and she doesn't intend to lose sight of it! I've never seen a kid who likes to have her mouth wiped like Katy; I think she thinks it's a game. She always smiles and grabs at the cloth when I go to clean up her face. She must know that I am writing about her right now; she is smiling and acting like a little angel!

Tasty Tuesday: Every weekday I am going to include an alliterative element to my post. (Check out Mom-Tip Monday yesterday, and come back for Wellness Wednesday tomorrow.) Because I've been asked for recipes at least three times in the past few months, I am going to include a recipe on Tasty Tuesdays! This one is for Mom; I never got it out in the mail to you.

Italian White Beans with Turkey (or Chicken)
(serves 4)
1 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 T. chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 finely chopped garlic clove
2 cups cut up cooked turkey or chicken
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/4 cup sliced ripe olive
2 cans (15 or 16 oz.) Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook basil and garlic in oil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook/stir until hot.

Couldn't be easier! And it tastes really good.


daisy said...

You're off to a very entertaining beginning. You'll be pleased to hear I've made a mental note of Mom-tip-Monday -- except I'm convinced my voice is totally different on tape than in real life. Ha! I can only hope!

Anonymous said...

You have done a wonderful job of creating a stimulating and interesting blog site. Wondered if you might want to share your recipe with those at church via the church cookbook. Thank you so much for showing me your Cricut machine and your craft room. It is fun to share the hobby of cardmaking/rubber stamping with others!