FOLKS, can I just take a moment to spread some Ashley Ann Campbell love? Because as you know, a few weeks ago I invested in her SnapShop course - an online photo course designed to get beginning photographers away from the automatic setting of their fancy new DSLRs.
In the interest of complete honesty: I was not strictly a beginner. But my fancy DSLR is the first DIGITAL SLR I've owned, and the ISO control was mind-boggling, so I had been shooting to give myself control over the Aperture and Shutter Speed, but leaving my camera to do auto ISO. It did a decent job, but it was only 2/3rds the amount of control I really wanted to have. (if you care, my 35mm SLR is this one. Ashley Ann shoots on Canon, but has helpful Nikon info as well.)
As an example - here are some of my BSS (before Snap Shop) images - all fine, but none stellar. There are unedited, and I used my kit lens.
In retrospect - adjust the framing and the exposure.
Again - framing, exposure...it drives me crazy that his face is so dark.
I'm ok with the framing on this one, but the exposure...whew. And now all I can see is the orange that looks like an earring.
So - then I took the plunge. 3 weeks, at my own pace, with her advice and techniques rolling through my brain. Composition, tell a story, get the exposure right, don't be afraid to use an action when the light in your office/music room is all kinds of wonky.... and while they're not perfect, I can see that it is equal parts my pushing the equipment to its limit and pushing my own technique to its limit. With practice (and better glass) my images will only improve. But what I've got now is nothing to sneeze at:
This is a Nelly Nero Action - like Ashley Ann, I find that actions to be an amazing timesaver. Could I have sat at the computer and adjusted curves and color casts until I got here? Sure. But, as I'm sure you can tell by the frequency with which I've been posting lately, life is busy.
Let's just say Actions are to Photoshop as Dishwashers are to dishes. (I say as someone with NO DISHWASHER. It's inhumane, really.)
This one is imperfect. I do not care.
This is one of my favorites - I managed to catch this expression (he's delighted that Daddy has just come to "light" his coals) and the lighting is good and there are no weird mergers and I'm happy with the cropping. I've got this one printed and waiting to be hung already. (The little barbecue can be found here.)
Let me just say that if she ever sets up a Snap Shop Phase Two, I will be all over it. Or even if it's Snap Shop Photo Retreats...and if we're ever in the same town, I am buying that woman coffee. Or a smoothie. Or something. Because SHAZAM...I love her.
If you're looking for tips/inspiration and you just can't wait for the next snapshop - check out her Photo Tips here. Some of my favorite inspirational images are among those posts.
PS: At the risk of just going completely gooey-centered....she's not just an amazing photographer, she's a great mom, a fun crafter, and a truly inspirational human being. If you follow that last link, make sure to read about the incubator project and what became of it - she's not only opening her home to a child who needs one, she's helping improve the lives of children she'll never meet. We should all be so lucky to have someone like her in our lives.