Guest Post: Sarah: Running to slow things down

I hope you all enjoyed Caitlyn’s guest post! The power of smiling is pretty great – it’s a way to say hello or to notice or thank someone. It can light up someone’s day.

Next up is Sarah from Running to slow things down. Having just bought a dSLR myself, I’m so glad she’s written a post about her top 5 things she’s learned about photography. I always admire her photos, whether they are of the delicious recipes she makes on a daily basis, or are photos of friends and family, or places she’s visited for the day.

I hope you enjoy!


Let me preface this by saying that I am not—I repeat—I am not an expert at photography.  However, I fell in love with photography as a teenager, when I was presented with a Nikon, a telephoto lens, and no idea how to use it.  It was intimidating!

Along the way, I decided to just learn a thing or two on my own.  Just little things that would make my photography come out a little clearer…a little more exciting.  One step at a time.  And so, with no further ado, I will present to you my top 5 things that I’ve learned about photography. They’re not very technical, but they’ve helped me a lot over the years.  I hope you’ll also find them helpful and useful.  Happy Snapping! 😀

#1: White Balance: Change it up!

I think one of the biggest mistakes that I have ever made with photography was forgetting (or simply ignoring) the button known as “white balance.” I won’t go into technical terms (mostly because I don’t know them!) but this little button will help your photos immensely.

White balance can change your picture from this:

Picture 1
To this…

Picture 2

If you have outdoor lighting set as your white balance, even though you’re inside photographing food, family and friends at night, you’re going to end up with a very unappealing orangey glow.  In the same way, if you use incandescent (indoor) lighting during the day while you’re outside, your pictures will appear cold, bluish, and sharp.

#2: Find your Inspiration.

Take pictures of what inspires you!  Personally, I’m not a huge fan of taking posed pictures, even though I do take them a lot (people automatically smile for the camera once they see it!)  I much prefer random, completely candid pictures where people are in their element.  Relaxed.  Laughing.  Having fun and living life.  I also love taking pictures of scenery and food—which I’m sure many of you do as well! 😀

Look at other blogs.  Photography books.  Get inspired and try new techniques.  Don’t bother taking pictures of what you think you should be taking (landscape, flowers, et cetera.) unless you enjoy these things.  What pleasures and excites you will show up through your pictures.

Picture 3
#3: Take your Time.

When I first transitioned over to a digital camera, I had the habit of taking tons of pictures without putting much thought into them.  “I can take as many as I want, because I can just delete them after.”  And while this is true, in all honesty, none of my pictures were exactly high quality material.  More times than not, I just deleted all of them.

When you’re out trying new techniques, take your time and pretend that you have only a few shots to take.  Don’t just snap, snap, snap because you can.  Really think about what you’re trying to do.  Slow shutter speed to make the water seem like a long, smooth and sleek stream?  A uniquely angled picture for a plate of food?  Adding a dark back drop to a plate of food to catch the steam rising?

Those are the pictures that will come out the best.

Picture 4

(p.s. That being said, don’t be afraid to take multiple shots of the same picture!  You can delete any accidental fuzzy ones and keep the good ones.)

#4: Forgo the Flash—most of the time.

I had a hard time giving up on this one.  It was pure habit, to pop it up when the lighting was low.  And while the flash has its time and its place, you really don’t want to over-use it for things like food photography.

Food looks best when it’s kept natural and warm.  That’s not always easy, especially when the lighting is low.  I still have issues with my pictures looking slightly orangey sometimes due to poor indoor/outdoor lighting.

But even the orangey lighting is better than a flash, which creates a harsh, unrealistic snap off of the food and plate.

For example:

Picture 5

If you think the built in flash will work better, use it! It’s okay to experiment and see what you like/don’t like with your pictures.  But for the most part, you’re going to want to stay away from this, using what little light you have.  Messing with the aperture (put it as low as possible for low lighting!) is going to help a lot!

#5: Getting Down and Dirty.

Get down and look at what you’re taking a picture of.  Nobody likes a pilot view! 😀

Picture 6

And, most of all, have fun and keep learning new things!   Because—in my opinion—that’s what photography is all about.  😀

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4 Responses to Guest Post: Sarah: Running to slow things down

  1. dianacheung says:

    i have the WORST photos…I think a huge plus is natural lighting..must move out of my cave. hope rx life is going well!!!

  2. Nicole says:

    Awesome tips…. especially the white balance one. I’m guilty of ignoring that a lot. 🙂

  3. Pingback: No regrets | The Vegster

  4. Pingback: It’s good to be home | The Vegster

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