This post has been sponsored by BeFunky. We all know I’m a photographer so this material is no stretch! I’m proud to write about BeFunky’s photo enhancers and to answer photography questions! As always, all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.
Hi! I’m Tamara – this here blog’s Resident Photographer & Blogger. You may wonder if I’m a photographer who blogs, or a blogger who photographs, but the truth is that I am both. My formal schooling – with the highest or nearly the highest honors – is in journalism. My life’s passion has been both in writing and in photography. This is lifelong. This isn’t going anywhere.
When my parents first placed a neon pink Vivitar LA Brites camera in my outstretched hands at age seven, my photography fever began, and never ended. I amassed quite a collection of odds and ends, cameras and films. I even “borrowed” my older sister’s neon yellow Vivitar LA Brites camera to see if it took the same pictures as my pink one. (It did) My collection grew over the years, as well as my knowledge of photography. I had a giant Polaroid camera, a mini Polaroid i-Zone camera, several small point-and-shoots, my father’s old Retina and my grandfather’s old video camera. I needed to see how they all saw the world – or how I saw the world through them. Then, I studied darkroom photography in high school and in college.
After college, I worked with a medium format camera doing class portraits in NJ. Later, I photographed an illustrator for the back cover of a published children’s book. I started digital photography in 2007 with a Canon Rebel xTi and I’ve been building up my Canon body and lens collections for years. I am surprised, each and every day on the job, by love, life, emotions.
My years of camera and film accumulation and photography experience brought forth a passion to capture joy, strength, character, sadness and more – humanity and spirit at its most descriptive, raw and real.
I’ve been doing this long enough that I tend to get the same questions and obstacles quite a bit. I’ve been keeping a list for years and I’m going to share it with you! Here are some common photography questions and obstacles – AND how to deal:
Ten Photography Questions & Obstacles
1 – What kind of camera should I get?
That sounds like a simple question, but it’s a difficult one. Have you ever spent hours or days reading consumer reviews or forums? It’s not one-size-fits-all! We all have different wants, needs, skills, expectations, etc. I will say that there’s (probably) no bad camera. Under the right direction from YOU, anything from a smartphone to a $5,000 camera can take wonderful photos – or not. Surf some camera guides, talk to some camera shops, etc. I will say that I prefer Nikon or Canon.
2 – If I get the same camera as you, will it take the same pictures as yours? In a short answer, no. We all have different things to bring to the table. Skill sets, experiences, visions, etc. It’s in the way that you use it. And it’s lenses and settings!
3 – My kids won’t sit still! Help! Is that a question? If so, I get it. Give them 2-3 minutes to run and shout and laugh and get out their energy! (be sure to photograph that silly period too) Use a fast shutter speed of at least 250.
4 – What do you do in low light situations? Sadly, we can’t always depend on natural light. This article is a great start. First, look outside for open shade, or inside facing a light source – at 45 degrees for shadows and dimension or at 90 degrees for a completely different look. Don’t use pop-up flash! You can buy an inexpensive reflector and lightscoop, a moderately expensive external flash unit, or an expensive lighting studio kit. I have it all. I still prefer sun but you need to be prepared.
5 – What do you do about lack of inspiration? The answer to this in every situation, photography or otherwise, is to step out of your footsteps. Take a breather. Go for a walk. Do something new. Learn something new. Buy something new.
6 – What if you can’t find open shade outdoors? Full sun? No problem. If there is no shade at all – like at a beach or during the afternoon – embrace it. Have your subject rotate while you do a full orbit too. 1-2 angles will be better. You’ll know.
7 – The pictures look ok on the LCD screen and when uploaded, but are blurry through the viewfinder! Help! Do you still look through a viewfinder too? Congrats! This is a diopter problem. Look at your camera instructions manual. It’s an easy fix!
8 – How do I get catchlights in my subjects’ eyes? Catchlights are a photographer’s dream. They can help your subject’s eyes look like they are full of life, instead of black and hollow looking. It’s the fancy name for the reflection of light in your subject’s eye. Have your subject look towards the light. This will help their eyes to “catch” the light.
9 – What can I do about blurry photos? We all get them! It’s a five-pronged approach to shooting in manual, and you are practicing in manual, right? 1 – aperture. 2 – shutter speed. 3 – ISO. 4 – use a tripod. 5 – drink less caffeine.
10 – Do you edit? What do you do if you’re in an editing rut, or you don’t have the time or comprehension for/of those “heavy editing softwares.” This question/problem is a mouthful, but I got ya! I DO edit because I only shoot in RAW, so at the very least, I have to convert digital negatives into jpegs. And RAW files generally need color, smoothness, contrast and sharpening added. Like I said – I got ya covered here! While it would be perfect to shoot every photo perfectly in camera – a goal we all have – it’s not feasible. It’s not only about fixing photos – it’s about photo enhancers from BeFunky!
1 – HDR DLX. Why do I love High Dynamic Range? It’s something difficult to achieve within the camera, but it’s a technique used to reproduce a greater range of luminosity (light and dark sources) than your camera can normally capture. What’s the result? A photo that more closely resembles what your eye can see when you look at objects in different light scenarios. The human eye is made to adapt to wide ranges of light and dark sources, which is why we can see depth and details – even in low-light settings. Cool, huh? You can achieve this effect in more complicated software, by first taking a series of photographs with different exposure levels – then merged to be one photograph. This is called exposure bracketing and it can take HOURS.
This HDR DLX does all the work for you in seconds – while still utilizing the same adaptive exposure technology used in complicated software. One click will bring back realism and depth – the details you’d see with your own eyes.
HDR DLX is best used with landscape photos, portraits in sunlight, low-lit scenes, back-lit scenes, and to enhance fine details with regions. I wanted to breathe back life into a photo I already loved, but knew my eyes saw something more like this:
2 – Sharpen DLX. This is another vital photo enhancer, especially if you shoot RAW like me. Why go sharp? Again, the human eye sees with incredible clarity, and your camera lens doesn’t always have the same benefit. When you are lacking contrast and clarity, your images look less realistic. This photo enhancer works to identify the boundaries of the sharp edges in your images – like between a subject and its background – and will then darken the dark pixels and brighten the bright pixels surrounding the edges. If you go too far, you can cause a “halo effect.” Sharpen DLX goes beyond with its ability to sense the difference between the sharper edges in your photos, and the softer ones. It applies just the right amount of contrast.
When I take food photos, I generally want to sharpen the photos to look more like what you see. Photo #1 is straight from the camera, and photo #2 has had Sharpen DLX added. It makes me more want to dig into those blueberries. (I love blueberries)
3 – Vibrant Colors DLX. Getting vibrant colors in your photos isn’t always easy, because no matter how colorful the scene, your camera lens might see things more dull and flat than what your eyes can see. Vibrant Colors DLX will keep your photos looking natural, by increasing only the colors in your photo that need it! It’s a smart Photo Enhancer effect because it can sense the difference between mid-tones that need a color boost, and well-saturated colors that should be left alone or minimally enhanced. Colors wind up vibrant, but realistic. This is about true colors. Use it with portraits & landscapes, etc.
4 – Denoise DLX. Noise happens. I mentioned it above that sometimes you’re in low-light and sometimes you crank the ISO. It can even happen with uniform color – like a blue sky. Since cameras don’t see color the way we do, they’ll produce tiny red, blue, or green dots in your photo – like television fuzz. Denoise DLX will save your photo because it works to reduce noise in the luminance (lightness) of the image, and the chroma (colors). It knows the difference. I used it on my cutie pie nephew:
With all effects, you can also choose opacity – which means controlling how transparent or visible your new changes are. BeFunky’s brand new Photo Enhancer effects are based on the same adaptive exposure technology used in complicated software, but without the treacherous learning curve. Plus, these enhancements work in seconds! In a few clicks, let Enhance DLX effects fix the four most common photography problems – poor exposure, lack of detail, dull colors, and noise.
The Enhance DLX effects require a BeFunky Plus account ($4.95/month or $2.91/month if you sign up for an annual account), but you can preview any effect on your photos for free. I made these!
What’s your #1 photography question for me to answer in the comments? Fire photography questions at me! I love them. Then, check out Enhance DLX effects and try out the magic for yourself! I want to see!
*Bonus question. What’s the hardest thing about photography? Answer – the crippling fear and self-doubt. The ever-changing technologies. Luckily, with all of these great tools out there, you can feel good about what you’re producing.