by Katie Madden, IBCLC, RN
I am not a detail-oriented person. Unless I make a deliberate effort to be hyper focused (like when I am in appointments with breastfeeding moms), I actually tend to miss a lot. Perhaps it is because I am always multi-taking; I multi-task more than I’d like to admit.
But, photography makes me notice the details.
When I am taking a picture in manual mode of my DSLR I literally have to focus on the details. Or, I have to pull back and take in the full picture. Or I tune out all the background noise and bring attention to one particular subject.
Before I took Angie’s DSLR workshop, I didn’t know what made a picture good or not good. I knew there were pictures I would see that I thought were really good, but I didn’t know why I thought they were good.
Mostly, I took the workshop because I wanted to be able to take pictures of the places and people I love so I could hang them on my walls. I knew I didn’t want “posed” pictures. I wanted to “capture the feeling” of the moment. Angie is a master at capturing the feelings and the moments of everyday life. Who better to learn from than the master herself?
A few things you should know about Angie’s workshops:
- Angie is really wonderful to be around. She has this laid back warm energy that is contagious. She is also really good at making complicated photography concepts easy to understand.
- This workshop isn’t designed to teach you how to be a professional photographer. It probably won’t even make you an amateur photographer. Rather, it teaches you how to use your very expensive DSLR the way it was intended to be used.
- After the course Angie will put all the attendees of this workshop into a private Facebook group together. You will practice what you have learned and post your pictures to the group for critique. It feels pretty amazing to have Angie tell you your picture is good or how you could have made it better. It never gets old to have someone who knows that they are talking about tell you that you did a good job.
- There will be Mimosas.
So, here are the main concepts I learned about that I have found are the most important to me when it comes to thinking a picture is good.
- Bokeh- That dreamy blurry background.
- Composition- How the subject of the picture is framed- ie, the face isn’t dead center in the picture.
- Feeling- What emotions, memories or feelings the image brings to my heart.
Here are a few of the pictures I have taken in the manual mode of my camera since taking Angie’s workshop. They are not professional photos, they are just pretty good amateur photos. Well, I like them at least.
This is my nephew Jack. It is from this past Christmas at my house. Jack is eight and a half in this picture. There are times when I look at Jack and see a young man and other times when I see a little boy. Here, playing Playmobile with his cousins, I saw the baby boy I held in my arms and helped my sister nurse. That is the feeling of this picture.
It is also a really pretty picture. You know it is Christmas, but the tree isn’t in focus. I know Jack is playing with Playmobile, but I am not distracted by the details of the play structure. Rather, my eye is drawn to is Jack. The glowing, blurry lights in the background is an example of bokeh. The way the Playmobile is in the front offsetting Jack makes the composition of the image more unique.
Angie taught me how to catch movement with sharp focus. See how you can see the droplets of water clearly? The way the water is splashing and Lucy is set off to the left makes the composition of this picture interesting. I love the expression on her face and the bright colors of the tube, the water and her shirt. Mostly, I love what this picture reminds me of. It reminds me of how cold the pool was and how only the kids were “kid enough” to want to swim everyday. It reminds me of how, at age 10.5, she insisted on wearing boy shorts and a rash guard shirt rather than a traditional girls bathing suit.
I took this one for my Brother-in-law and Sister-on-Law on one of our last days in Hawaii. They confided in me that they were newly pregnant on that day and asked me to take this picture as a possible birth announcement. They lost a baby at 22 weeks last year, so this one pulls at my heart. I also love how sharp the onesie is and how soft the background is.
“Dirty, Roadside Coconut.”
This is the best photo I have ever taken. I like how it came out technically with the pretty bokeh off to the right, how the coconut and Joe’s hand are sharp and in focus and his watch, sunglasses and shirt are softer.
But, I really love the way this photo reminds me of how I love my husband. I don’t think he got to enjoy Hawaii as much as the rest of us. He isn’t a big fan of commercialism or crowds or rushing, but he sucked it and followed the itinerary. On our last day in Hawaii, he said, “All I want is a real, roadside dirty coconut.” So, we found him one. The dudes at roadside shack chopped it up with a machete right before our eyes, stuck a straw in it and handed it to him. That’s all that it took. This was Joe’s Hawaii moment. I feel so grateful for this man whom I love so much.
Find out more about our upcoming DSLR Photography Workshop
If you just want someone else to take the picture, click here to reach Angie
If you read this for breastfeeding help, you are out of luck, but you can reach Katie Here.