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Take a better selfie with these tips…

Did you know you could take a better selfie with your built-in self timer?
Here’s how to set a self-timer in the camera app in iOS 8 on iPhone & iPad: Open the Camera app (Self-timer is available for Photo and Square mode only (not for video or Time-lapse)) Tap on the timer icon near the shutter. On the iPad, the timer icon is above the shutter, near the HDR option. Woohoo!

An easy way to fix this is to zoom in on your phone just slightly (zooming in too much will reduce detail in the shot) and hold the camera far away from your face.  Now your features look proportionate and you decluttered the background!

When taking a selfie, you generally have two options: Hold the camera with one hand or two hands. While using two hands is easier because you can hold the camera with one hand and push the shutter release button with the other, you have to be more careful not to cover up the lens.

If you use both hands and pull the camera away from your body, your arms can act as a frame.

Pose in an area with beautiful lighting –either inside near a window or outside. Gorgeous lighting = a more flattering selfie. How will you know if the lighting looks good on your face? Hold the phone in front of your face and turn the camera, so you can see yourself. Look at the lighting at that moment. Now, turn 90 degrees. Make note of the lighting. Glance at the background. Turn 90 degrees again. Note the lighting and background. Keep turning until you’re back where you started. Chances are, you will have found a spot with excellent lighting and a decent background. If not, either move to another space or try again at a different time of day. What’s the best time of day to shoot? Ideally, during the magic hour! (The magic hour is actually two hours—one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset).

Holding your camera with one hand is more common, but a little trickier to keep it steady and take a photo. With the iPhone, you can quickly and easily take a picture by hitting either the shutter release button or one of the volume buttons.

To completely remove any double chin in your photo, and to accentuate your jaw line, extend your neck forward.  This may feel funny, but it will dramatically improve how you look in the photo.  Also, shoot from above. Raise the camera slightly above you and then look up to even further accentuate the jaw.

One way to really make your selfies stick out is to get rid of the cheesy ‘extended arm in the photo” look.  I know it seems weird to use a selfie stick at first, but there’s a reason you see them all over the place–they make the photos look really good!

There are two basic types of selfie sticks–wired and Bluetooth.  I much prefer the Bluetooth variety.  It’s really simple to connect and then you don’t have to constantly stick the cord in and out of the phone every time you want to take a picture.  Bluetooth is much faster.

If you want to get an actually GOOD selfie stick, the good news is that the price has come way down.  You can get this one from Improve Photography on Amazon for just $9.99.

Happy New Year!! Here’s a tip for the cold weather.

                                                      

Here is a tip for keeping your hands from freezing when touching your tripod.

You can buy tripod leg wraps, but they will run you $19.95 up to $54.95. You can also make some like the pictures above with foam pipe insulation for under $5.00.

I looked up the dimensions of my tripod online which was about 1.15 inches. Then I looked up which home improvement store was closest and saw that the Lowe’s near me had 1-1/4 inch foam pipe insulation. When I got there they only had 1 inch foam pipe insulation. So I got the 6 foot foam pipe insulation that was pre slit and had glue on it to seal to itself, Which was $1.94. Then I got some electrical tape, which was $1.99.

I used a little but sharp knife to cut the foam insulation tube into three 4 inch or a little bigger than my hand sections. To get the same size, I used the first foam piece that I cut when cutting the other two. Then put one around one of the tripod legs to make sure it would fit, since it was a little tight, I scored two lines down the inside of the tube and cut just a little bit of foam out. Then I wrapped the foam tube around the tripod leg and put a piece of electrical tape between the glue/ seal area and the tripod leg, so the foam tube wouldn’t stick to the leg.

You could put duct tape or hockey stick tape on the foam tube to give it a little personality, but the glue on the seal should keep it from opening.

It’s a cheap, but effective way to keep your hands from freezing when you touch your tripod during this winter.

Have fun and stay warm this winter!

DXO One camera for iPhone.

As consumers we want our cell phones to be able to do everything from making phone calls, being a calculator and a gaming system to being our social media hub and being able to take the best photographs possible. Cell phone camera have come a long way, but they still can’t compare to a Digital SLR camera.

Some manufacturers have made lenses that clamp on and connect wirelessly to your smartphone like the Sony QX30 shown below. There are also add-on lenses to optimize the cell phone camera, such as a fish eye lens, wide-angle lens and macro lens.

Image result for sony lens camera for smartphone

DXO has made their first camera, the DXO One. It connects via lightning port to your iPhone, which swivels 60 degrees for easy maneuverability. The camera has some impressive specs, it has a 1″ sensor, 20.2 megapixels, and f/1.8 which goes down to f/11. The DXO One is equivalent to a 32 mm lens. The ISO is from ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (Hi 2) and the shutter speed is from 1/20000 to 30s, and electronic image stabilization in video. The DXO One also has many camera modes: Auto, Sports, Portrait, Landscape, Night, Program, Aperture Priority, Speed Priority, Manual, and 1080p (30 fps), 720p (120fps) and Manual 1080p (30 fps) video modes, which help make this camera like a very portable Digital SLR camera. The DXO One has 3 video modes:. Is supports .JPG, .DNG, .DXO (SuperRAW™), and .MOV (H.264) formatting, so you can format your files the way that fits you best. The DXO One has its own battery which can last about 200 pictures and is recharged via USB 2.0. It also has a micro-SD card slot for expanded memory.

For the full list of specs, please see the link to DXO’s website.

Image result for DXO one camera

The DXO One looks to be a very nice smartphone accessory that can turn your phone into a great camera. The screen becomes a big and beautiful viewfinder and the DXO One is the little lens that has a lot packed into it.

Image result for DXO one camera

The DXO One costs $599.00 plus tax, which is a good price for a good camera. One of the negatives about the DXO One is that it is only compatible with iPhones and iPads with a lightning port.

A Christmas Gift for you!

These two holiday backgrounds are fantastic for your photo projects such as collages, cards, or just layer them with your own photos. Click on each image to reveal the full size and then right-click to save to your computer. Look for a tutorial on how to use these images soon!
Katydid_Horz_LightsKatydid_Lights

25 Things to Photograph in the Fall

Dancin' Leaves4999Since Summer is almost over ( I know, can you believe it?) it’s the perfect time to start thinking about what to take pictures of in the Fall. Here is a list of some things to take pictures of.

1. Leaves. There are so many different ways to photograph leaves. On the trees, in the air, on the ground. The possibilities are endless.

2. Pumpkins. Big ones, little ones. Line them up or scatter them around. A perfect fall item to take pictures of.

3. Trees changing color. did you ever notice that there are so many different colors of leaves in Fall?

4. Halloween decorations. From whimsical to scary, capture all that October has to offer.

5. Barns. Whether it’s a landscape photo or a shot of some rustic wood, barns are an amazing fall staple.

6. Festivals. Check out the many food and fall themed Festivals in Bucks County this autumn.

7. Waterfalls or any moving water

8. Bales of Hay. They have great textures to capture.

9. Pinecones. Another fall item with great colors and designs.

10. Gourds. So many textures and colors.

11. Sunlight coming through the trees. Check out how photographers play with glare to create some really interesting photos.

12. A lonely trail or even your driveway, covered in leaves. Capture the feeling of fall.

13. A roaring bonfire. So many interesting patterns and colors for you to capture.

14. Flames from your own cozy fireplace. Watch the flames dance and move.

15. Fall leaves in puddles . There are lots of cool reflections and patterns in water.

16. Steam rising from your warm drink on a cold morning.

17. Pumpkin pies and Apple pies. Try to get a picture before they disappear!

18. Pumpkin patches and hayrides. They are the perfect place to capture the true essence of fall.

19.  Jack O Lanterns ( look for a more in-depth post on this coming in October)

20. Leaves fluttering in the wind or falling from trees. Remember to try panning your camera to get a good shot.

21. Photographs at Sunrise or Sunset. You can get some really interesting shots of the sky and the warm colored trees.

22.  Use your macro lens or get close up to take pictures of leaves, grass, and trees. Focus on textures and colors.

23. Experiment with your shadow, take pictures where you can see your shadow. Pretend you are in a haunted house or scary movie.

24. Take pictures of your pets, whether they are snuggled up inside or playing around outside

25. Take a family portrait outside with everyone in their coziest clothes like oversized sweaters or flannels.

Fireworks and how to photograph them

Let’s start by talking about your camera. It can be any digital camera that has settings such as M, S, Tv, Av or P. There’s lots of ways to get great results. I’ve found over the years by trial and error, that I prefer shooting most of my fireworks pictures on M (manual mode), but I am a manual shooter from way back when I started and I understand the correlation between ISO, shutter speed and f-stop. If you are not there  yet, it’s ok. Let your camera do some of the settings for you instead of being on Manual. Set your Live View to on if you have it. This way you can see to compose a little better then thru the viewfinder. Check out my Guide to great Fireworks photos in the post below this one.

This was set on Manual exposure for 6 secs., f/13 at ISO 400. Shot on a tripod using a remote release.fireworks_manual_1197

The following photo was shot on a tripod using a remote release. It was set on Shutter Priority (not Manual) for 10 secs. at ISO 400. The f/stop was set by the camera at f/16 and it came out great.fireworks_10sec

Try zooming in tight. Sometimes the results are amazing. You can also set your continuous self timer on if you want the camera to shoot every so many seconds while you sit back and enjoy the show. One of my interns loved this idea and it worked great for her.

fireworks_0202

This image was taken at 8:40 pm EST with a 300mm lens on a Canon 5D Mark11 on a tripod. With a long shutter speed you have to be careful, you will get a little bit of movement if the boats are going horizontally to you but they can cause some cool lines to appear. The boats that are going slow and coming at you will not appear as blurry but those at the same speed going across in front of you. This was shot on Manual at 6 secs., f/6.3, ISO 400.fireworks_1176