Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm a pushover...

Today, the winner for the drawing of my Rachel's Studio blog follower is Michelle Burnett. Be sure to check out my other blogs, Rachel's Raves and Art is Divine to find out who won those drawings. I am going to keep my poll going for a month, or maybe two weeks, it just depends on how much painting I can get done. I always feel like I'm playing catch up! In the mean time, practice those photography skills with my tips below. The next contest will be for pets. So take some great photos and enter them either here or here. Also, on each blog, click 'follow this blog' to enter yourself in my weekly drawing for a free goody! Each week, there will be a Tuesday winner for each blog.

A big congratulations to Veerle whose gorgeous cats won the photo contest. I've started the painting and am also videoing the progress on my Watercolor Workshop Facebook group. For $5/month you can join and learn how to paint watercolors, with an emphasis on pets.

I also decided to paint "Thoughtful Kitty". It got so many votes, and is also such a wonderful picture, that I can't HELP but paint it! All the other photos were gorgeous too, so Kudos to all my talented members!

I just did a video explaining how I cropped "Thoughtful Kitty" But first, Sadie wanted to air time...

How to get better shots of your pet (or anything else)

I've got a lot of members that take wonderful photos. For those of you who are still learning, here are some tips for getting better pictures of your pet.

- TURN THE FLASH OFF!!!! A flash flattens out all the subtlety in light and shadow, and makes the subject look flat and washed out. Colors get grayed down too.

-Get your subject in good light. The best light occurs when the sun is low on the horizon, during the 'golden hour'. If it's is not possible to take a photo then, try to get your subject in natural light, such as by a window. Taking pictures at noon outside is better than in a dark house, but shadows will be harsh and subtlety in tones will be lost (tone = differences in lights, mediums and darks)

- Get down on eye level with your pet. That doesn't mean you have to be close, but just down on the same level.

- Be patient. Wait for that perfect pose! I'll sit in front of Sadie for a half hour and take tons of pictures to get that perfect shot.

- Get a tripod for indoor photography. (The link will take you to a great little tripod that can do a lot, see the pictures provided) To figure out if your camera takes a tripod, look on the bottom. Is there a hole there where you can screw something into it? That's for a tripod. Indoors you will have to take a longer exposure if you don't use a flash, and when the camera shakes even a little the image comes out blurry. A tripod will fix that!

- Learn how to use your manual mode if you have one. Indoors, you want to set your f-stop so that the camera lens is as wide open as possible. This will let more light in. F-stop numbers are actually fractions, so the smaller the f-stop, the wider open your aperture will be, the more light you'll get, and the brighter your pictures will be. This means you can choose a shorter exposure time. You'll have to fiddle with the exposure time and the f-stop to get the right combination of light for your pictures to be properly exposed.

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