How to Turn Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Photographs

BlogHer Original Post

Without getting into loads of technical details that you can find more than enough of elsewhere, I will just offer these few things. First, I have to admit that I am a wide-angle zoom addict (I want to get it all in!), but when it comes to really noticing and capturing details that tell a story, you've got to get in close. I'm using my 50mm lens more often lately because it forces me to move around, fight for great composition, and concentrate my focus (not to mention capturing all that sparkly sunshiny bokeh!) Second, manual mode is a must. Bright sunshine, reflective water, fast-moving kids -- these are all things that come to mind when you think summer, right? Well, these are also some of the very things that trick our camera's auto settings into blowing out dramatic skies or casting shadows over smiling faces. You are smarter than your camera. You are! You have to be the one telling it what to do.

bokeh in the parkstars at sunset

My final suggestion: Give yourself an assignment. Decide to take pictures for a week based on a particular summer theme, such as water, play, fruit, or the color green. The possibilities are endless and a single word can spark a million photographs. After a week, choose your favorite shot and then choose a new topic. Better still, you can join one of the many online groups that post a weekly topic for you. Your skills will grow as you seek to interpret the themes and you will be amazed by what others come up with.


I'm looking ahead to September again, and I see a photo album coming alive. I see pictures that make my mouth water for tomatoes and basil. My skin prickles at the memory of baking sunshine and scratchy grass. I can hear, clear as day, children giggling in a summer sunshower, and sleepy whispers under the stars. I breathe deep at the thought of tangled hair smelling of sunscreen. I don't just remember summer, I relive it, and it is beautiful.

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