Better Photos Projects

I don’t know if anyone noticed some new, more varied locations in my last post about my latest M6696. I was inspired by Heather’s post on Gillian’s Better Pictures Project, about taking photos in public places to get better shots.

Although I would like to learn to use my DSLR a bit better, I try not to be too fussy about my photos, I find it gets in the way of actually blogging which is my priority. But I am generally unhappy with two things – the backdrops and how I always end up doing ‘Ima stab you’ face. So I’m working on them! I took my camera and tripod down to the beach at the end of my street.

DSC_0465

This is a five minute walk from my house. How lucky am I to live here?! It does mean a long commute, but it’s worth it.

I was nervous about looking weird in public, and people commenting but it was fine! I did get a few curious looks but no one was weird about it at all, although to be fair there were only a few people there because it’s still COLD. But it’s a fairly community beach – I mean, there was a body boarding class, some surfers, and a bunch of dog walkers. People go there to do things, so I guess I didn’t stick out too much.

As you can see in my last post, I tried a couple of spots. The cliff face is gorgeous but in the end it was just too windy!

Windy!
Being blown away, or something

I ended up on the steps down the cliff, and just put the camera down on one of the steps. Lovely! Although it would be harder on a warmer day, because it’s usually a fairly high traffic area. I ended up having a great time, though, and I absolutely will be trying it again! I found it easier to make actual facial expressions for some reason. I also found a spot in my front yard where I can take photos, and that will be a good backup, I think.

Dog!! Also stretching side seams, but this isn’t a sewing post.

What worked:

  • Being willing to take a lot of photos and move position a few times.
  • The more photos I got, the more relaxed I got about it. The later photos are much better.
  • Listening to Stop Podcasting Yourself right before I left the house, so I was still laughing about some of the jokes.
Laughing at myself for being excited about a dog. It’s a dog beach, so….

Things to remember next time:

  • Think about where the sun is. I knew I should have gone down earlier, because the sun would have been behind the cliff and it would have been much less glarey. But I couldn’t lever myself out of bed in time. This also is why the front yard is better than the backyard – it means I can have my back to the sun and not squint all the time.
  • Remember the wind. It’s often less windy on the beach than on the top of the cliff, but not today! Figuring out a few different locations will help with this.
  • Take the opportunities when they present themselves – I thought about putting it off till the next morning, to try to get the sun in right place, but decided just to go for it. Good thing too, because the next day was rainy and wet and even windier, and photos would have been impossible.
  • Think about some of the other places I saw today – I was hoping the local school on my street might have a wall I could use, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that would work. There were a few on-the-street spots that looked nice but I’m not sure I’m brave enough for that, yet.
  • Don’t take the first batch of photos in the location I like best. As I said, I warmed up as I went along, so the first dozen or so photos are not very good. I’d be better off shooting some practice photos, and then going to my favourite location.
  • Make sure the camera is fully charged. It was close to flat when I left, and I didn’t realise. It makes the remote a bit more patchy, which was frustrating. It meant I had to point it exactly straight on, which limits poses, and it also would just randomly not work, which meant a lot of photos looked like this:

DSC_0502

  • Have fun, and it’s ok to be/look stupid! There are some real dumb photos in my batch, but because I had fun doing it I don’t feel embarrassed about them, they just make me laugh. I tend to get in my head about things, but I just reminded myself that I have just as much right to use the beach, and to look silly in public, as anyone else, and that seemed to work!

All in all, I feel really good about my photography adventures! I would like to learn and play with my settings more, but I never seem to have time and brain, and I do find it a bit overwhelming. Hopefully I’ll work up to it soon!

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8 thoughts on “Better Photos Projects

  1. This post makes me so, so happy! Every “Aha!” momment you talked about really resonated with me – needing to warm up, taking opportunities as they come, feeling better about “bad” pics when they are in context of tons of good pics, and looking around the neighbourhood seeing every wall with new eyes! That beach is just gorgeous, and the cliffs and stairs offer a nice mix of backdrops. And the dress! That colour is lovely on you, and the fit is spot on!
    Thanks for playing along with the #bettterpicturesproject! : )

    1. Oh, hooray! Thanks for starting it, and making it so accessible. I’ve seen a few similar projects but starting out with the real basics is so helpful for me, rather than jumping right in to the technical details, which just makes me freak out and assume I can never get better!

  2. Ha, I certainly did notice the new backgrounds. I love the photo of the teal dress against the orange cliff face. The idea of venturing out in the neighbourhood for a photo shoot is so interesting to me. Usually I feel that actually taking a photo in my garden for my project page is such a step up from my general habit of taking of a photo of the object on my desk or the floor, wherever I can find an appropriately sized clear space.

    1. Haha it’s all relative! I have felt like that too for a while, I guess it’s time for the next level for me? Mostly because my backyard is big but full of stuff, so there’s nowhere with a nice background. I suspect I’ll end up in my front yard in front of that bush for most things, and only head out for really special ones, or when I especially feel like it. But it did make me think about things like the direction of the sunlight, and the wind, etc, which I think will make a big difference even for boring backgrounds!

  3. I really love “Have fun, and it’s ok to be/look stupid!” I think that’s a great one to remember. A lot of my favourite photos are taken when I’m being daft. We always look more relaxed when we’re being silly.

  4. Five minutes from your house! Gah!! Lucky or what?! I need to stop taking photos in front of my mirror. It’s often just too cold to go outside though and it’s weird to put a camera on a chunk of ice to take photos. 🙂 You’re inspiring me though.

    1. Haha what a great picture you painted! The quality of my photos goes down drastically in winter – it’s too cold to go out and there’s only like two hours of daylight when I’m free, and I’m spending them frantically trying to do laundry or garden or something. Ugh, winter!

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