Good morning honeys! I’ve gotten some requests to do a post on photo tips, and as always, your wish is my command. The last year I’ve really tried to learn more about photography and taking good pictures, so I’ve started using the manual settings on my camera. It can be difficult to get the hang of it, but once you learn it, it’s a piece of cake. I’m really glad that you guys have noticed that my pictures have improved! When I decided to do this post, I thought to myself; “Darnit, now I have to google so much to find the technical terms for everything“, but you know what? I’ll rather teach you my way. There are tons of technical tutorials online, so consider this “The blonde girls guide to good pictures“, haha. Okay, let’s get to it.
The three numbers you can see on my camera screen is important to know. They all decide how light the picture will be, how blurry the background will be, and probably all sorts of things, but lightness and a blurry background is what I focus on. So let’s take you through ’em.
Where it says 50
Technical term: Shutter speed/lukkertid. In photography, shutter speed or exposure time is the length of time a camera’s shutter is open when taking a photograph. The amount of light that reaches the film or image sensor is proportional to the exposure time.
My term: I just call this ‘the number’. If my boyfriend is taking pictures of me, I’ll just ask him to adjust ‘the number’ a few hundred up or down. The number decides how light or dark your picture will be. If we’re taking outfit pictures and it’s sunny outside, I often have ‘the number’ on 6400 or 8000. If it’s cloudy/darker, it needs to be lower. When I’m taking pictures inside with not a lot of light, I often need to have it all the way down at 100 or lower. When we do outfit pictures, I always set the number at where I think it should be, then we’ll do a test shot and I’ll see how I like the picture. Often I have to adjust it a little bit up or down.
Where it says 4.0
Technical term: F-number/blenderåpning. In optics, the f-number of an optical system is the ratio of the lens’ focal length to the diameter of the entrance pupil. It is a dimensionless number that is a quantitative measure of lens speed, and an important concept in photography.
My term: I call this ‘the F’. The F decides how blurry the background will be, and also how light the photo will be. My favorite lens is my 50mm f1.4 from Canon. I almost always have ‘the F’ at 1.4. If we’re taking outfit pictures and the F is at 1.4, I will be in focus and the background will be blurry, just the way I like it. If I want to take a picture of the scenery, or at least don’t want any blurry parts in my pictures, the F needs to go up, at for instance 8. Here is an example; While taking pictures of this butterfly in Japan, my F was at 1.4. If the F had been at 8, the background wouldn’t be blurry. I really like a blurry background, it adds dimensions and depth to the photograph.
When the F is low, the picture is lighter. So if I wanted to take a picture of this butterfly and have a clear background, and therefore up the F to 8, the picture would be really dark if I didn’t change the other settings (shutterspeed and ISO).
Where it says 1000
Technical term: ISO is the measurement of how sensitive a digital camera’s sensor is to light. The speed or light-sensitivity of a digital camera’s sensor is rated in ISO numbers — the lower the number, the slower the response to light.
My term: This one I actually call the ISO, believe it or not, haha. This one is easy; The higher the ISO, the lighter your picture will be. But more importantly; The higher the ISO, the noisier/grainier your picture will be. If we’re taking outfit pictures outside I always have the ISO at the lowest, and instead I use ‘the number’ to adjust the picture lighter or darker. If I’m taking pictures inside, the ISO needs to go up. At a very high ISO, the picture will become very grainy.
I’m sure photographers out there would completely disapprove of my way of explaining it to you guys. I’ve tried to learn how to use the manual settings for so long, but all the technical terms threw me off and I didn’t understand anything. It wasn’t until I simplified the photo language and made my own terms on things I really got the hang of it. Like I said, this is the blonde girl’d guide to better pictures!
Earlier I always used the auto settings, which gives OK pictures, but nowhere near amazing. The really good shots comes with manual settings! So now I thought I’d show you some examples. I took two pictures of this shoe, the first one with the auto settings, and the second one with manual settings.
Isn’t the difference crazy?! This is before editing (I’ll get to that later). Another example is from the monkey park in Arashiyama. Again, first picture with auto settings, second picture with manual settings.
And after a tiny bit of editing..
These aren’t great pictures at all, I just wanted to show you the difference. Whether you’re bloggers and want to take better outfit pics, or just generally want to take better pictures, try to use the manual settings! It’s really not that difficult once you get the hang of it, and I hope my little guide helped you a little bit.
I’ve also gotten questions on how I edit my pictures. Earlier I always used sites like Pixlr, but now I’m much more into clean, light pictures, without any effects. The only thing I do, is upload the picture in Photoshop, and then adjust the lighting and contrast. You probably don’t need Photoshop for this, most editing tools allow you to adjust lighting and contrast, but I really like Photoshop. Here is an example. The first picture is without any editing, and the second picture is edited. The only thing I’ve done is adjusting the lighting and contrast.
That’s a big difference, right? Here you can see how I edit it. As you can see, I’ve made the picture much lighter, and added just a little bit of contrast.
If you have any questions, post a comment in this post and I’ll answer everything. I realize that my little guide is a bit dorky, so I’m not surprised if you want me to explain anything better, haha. Now that it’s the weekend and you probably have some free time on your hands, why don’t you practice using the manual settings a little bit? Take a picture of a lipstick, a shoe or whatever, and try to figure out how the picture becomes the most pretty. Remember; Practice makes perfect!