This is one of those things where I get asked a question so often in the comments and in email that I decide to write a post about it. Trust me, I would never write a post about it otherwise because you can put what I know about photography, at least from a technical perspective, on the head of a pin and it’s downright embarrassing. The question I’m asked so often lately is–“What kind of camera do you use?”
Answer: I use a Canon PowerShot S5IS. It has 8.0 mega pixels and a 12x zoom. I just copied that off the box. I don’t really know what it means. I lost the manual, but I wasn’t going to read it anyway. I don’t like technical stuff. This is a digital automatic, not any super-special, thousand-dollar digital SLR camera, and I bought it because the salesboy at Circuit City told me to. I always do what the salesboys at Circuit City tell me to do. I went into the store and said, “I’m a moron, but I want a good zoom and a good macro. What should I buy?” He picked up the Canon PowerShot S5IS and said, “Buy this one.” I really like it. If I dropped it tomorrow and broke it, I’d buy another one. Or beg, borrow, or steal one because I’m feeling kinda poor after spilling half a glass of wine on my laptop a couple days ago and having to replace it.
I have poison ivy, too. Have I mentioned that? That doesn’t have anything to do with photography, does it? I’m easily distracted when the subject even comes close to something technical.
I use the Auto setting almost all the time because I don’t know how to use the other settings. Sometimes I put it on P (which I think stands for Program, or maybe not, who knows) to use the super macro button to take food closeups.
I know how to use the macro, super macro, and zoom. I don’t touch any of the other buttons because I’m afraid I might make the camera blow up.
I use Photoshop Elements to process photos. I know how to do basic things like resize, sharpen, adjust for contrast and color, and make a banty rooster look like Clint Eastwood or Abraham Lincoln. Other than that, I don’t understand Photoshop Elements and I don’t really want to. Photoshop Elements is not even the full-blown Photoshop program, it’s just the mini version, but it’s too complicated. I actually bought a book about how to use Photoshop Elements, but I haven’t read it because I don’t like technical stuff.
I do like taking pictures, though. It’s fun! And to me, photography is a creative expression. All that technical stuff is so boring! So the good news is, if you’re like me and you don’t like technical stuff, you don’t need it. Don’t read the manual! Manuals are for sissies! (Man, are people going to hurt me now?) Just get a decent digital camera and have fun with it!
I took this photo of hummingbirds at our feeder on the Auto setting using the zoom. I took, no kidding, at least a hundred pictures that day. Take a lot of pictures. Something’s bound to turn out.
I probably took twenty or thirty pictures of these bucks to get this one where they all lined up.
I love taking pictures of animals because they are so much fun. You never know what they’re going to do and they don’t cooperate.
People don’t cooperate very well, either. They’re worried about how they look, and they want to pose. Don’t take posed photos of people. Take pictures for ten or fifteen minutes until they are sick and tired of you. (People have short attention spans, so it won’t take long.) The best pictures of people happen right after they stop paying attention to you.
When it comes to “still photos” or landscapes, etc, try to find different angles or frame the background with something interesting in the foreground.
Express yourself–your photos should show your personality. You’re not looking for perfect. You’re looking for engaging. (And don’t center everything! Centering is boring.)
And use big pictures if you have a blog. Everyone loves big pictures! But my number one tip for taking good photos is…..
…..get some chickens.
…a giant puppy! You know you want one.