Black & White Photog Tips!

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This might appeal to like 10 of you... but I thought I'd post a bit about my photography background (or lack of ;) and give a tip or two.A friend (Manda) texted me this photo of one of my pictures that had been chosen in a contest a year or so ago;  with moving to Florida, I was unable to make the grand opening of the center, thus losing my chance on viewing what the judges had picked.  Here's the picture: (the models are my crazy beautiful cousins, maddie & keegs)

Where am I going with all this?  Finding this photo, took me on a bit of a hunt.  Clicking through old facebook albums, browsing through photos, etc.  The album I found this pic in was called "photography stuff."  I have to say, when I clicked the album open, I cringed.  The pictures in there, aside from a few, are...umm... not the greatest.  I was learning.  (HECK I am still very much learning) but it was eye opening to say the least.  I thought I was rockin' that camera!  I have a good photog friend, Suzie , who generously came over one morning shortly after I had purchased my first camera (beloved little rebel... check amazon side widget to see my all time fave. go-to/starter/no-fail camera:). She clicked around on the thing, twisting knobs, turning dials, and I remember thinking "Holy cow.  All I want to do is take pictures of my kids!"  I was overwhelmed and was tempted to return the whole contraption and switch back to a point and shoot.  I literally sat with a notebook and pen, taking notes (I'm an obsessive note taker):

  • iso
  • Av mode??? 
  • white balance

Before leaving, she said "Ash, you'll get it.  Not today, or any time soon but you'll get it.  Don't cheat and put it on automatic."  (that's suzie- very blunt... love ya girl ;) And that was that. She had set the mode to manual and I think more out of fear I'd mess something up, than anything I kept it exactly as Suzie had left it.  I fiddled with the shutter speeds and aperture, trying to remember what she said about lighting and the bazillion other factors that go into taking a decent picture in manual mode. Here are the pictures that came out, directly after Suzie left my house:

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 So they're not God awful and excuse the crappy brushed arrows....  But I thought these photos seriously kicked some butt.  But to compare, here's a black and white I took a few days ago: 

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Picture 1:

  • the contrast, that really makes or breaks a good black and white picture is not there.  Like, at all.
  • I had my flash on. #1 no, no.  Unless you're into studio photography and you're using lights, diffusers and an external flash, keep that sucker DOWN. 
  • I color popped my sons eyes.  Just don't.  Don't do that.
  • I have no idea what my settings were, but it's obvious my settings, along with the flash (eek) caused some major over-exposure.  And I like over exposed pictures... (not crazy over over exposed, but I normally lean towards over exposing verses under)

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