Tag Archives: advice

Photography Tip #3: The Trio

Shutter. Aperture. ISO. If you want to have full control over your photos those are the 3 things you must master and understand (with giving focal length an honorable mention). To best describe them I will take you through my process when taking photos but by all means make your own and do whatever feels comfortable.

Step 1: ISO. This will determine how sensitive to light your “film” is. 100 = not so sensitive and higher equals progressively more and more sensitivity. In other words… sunny day at the beach is 100 and evening cocktail party is 2500. I set this first because along with determining how sensitive you want your camera to be at its core (the “film”) it determines the quality of the photos. The higher the ISO the more grainy the photo is.

Step 2: Aperture. Aperture controls the depth of field. Lower aperture, like a 2.8, is a very shallow depth of field. Higher aperture will allow for more and more in focus as you go up. The lower the aperture number the more light is being let in and, of course, the higher the number the less light will be let in. Setting this second will allow for you to choose your desired depth of field. I mentioned earlier about the honorable mention focal length – which is how far zoomed in or our you are. Zooming in more on the subject will create a shallower depth of field than zooming farther out… so keep that in mind.

Step 3: Shutter. This is last because, personally for me, it is the least important and allows me to adjust the shutter accordingly so that the previous settings hold true to the reasons I set them. I am not saying shutter has no effect, it does. Faster shutter will give you crisper images and show less movement. Slow shutters will allow for more light in but give you motion blur depending on how low you go. The majority of the time, when taking a “normal” picture the shutter is the easiest to adjust to allow for correct exposure. Be aware that if you are at a 100 shutter speed and its gets darker for some reason causing you to go below about a 50 shutter speed, you’re going to start seeing a good amount motion blur from a moving subject or moving the camera.

This is my personal preference and I do stray from it sometimes but overall it has worked out the quickest and easiest for me in most situations. If your environment changes go back to step one and start again. The advantage of using manual mode is being able to set how you want each photograph to look manually BUT just like a manual car you can’t jump from park to 4th gear without going through the proper steps first.

Hope this helped in some way. Let me know what your processes are or if you found using a better mode is better for you.


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Macro Photography | The Final Result

The Macro Experiment. Could a Lens Reversal Ring that cost less than $10 provide quality macro images.

Equipment: Canon 5D, Tamron Zoom Lens, and a Lens Reversal Ring.

Prologue: A few posts back I talked about a method that would convert any zoom lens into a legitimate macro lens. No filters, no magnifiers… all done through the lens. The method… turn it around and shoot through it backwards. It didn’t seem possible. The first tests I did were before the reversal ring so I had to hold it in front of the camera. It worked enough to convince me to spend $10.

Commence the experiment. I gathered random household objects (including my girlfriends eye – still very much attached to her) and a small light I had lying around. As I photographed and got the hang of it I became more and more excited. The lens created such a stylized look, not to mention got in very close just like any good macro lens should.

Conclusion: Worth it? Hell, it would be worth it if the ring cost $50. It’s an amazing style and gives you the ability to shoot with a macro lens. In some ways it might be better than a macro lens because you can just keep the ring in your back pocket while shooting and if you need to grab a quick macro shot just screw it on and flip it over.

Here are some images. These prints are slowly becoming available on my website [www.bluegiraffeimages.com] and on [etsy]. 50% OFF still going on for about another week. If you don’t see it – let me know and I’ll create a listing right away.

Was the experiment a success? Let me know what you think. Go and experiment yourself and let me know how it goes. Here is a link to the reversal ring I purchased but you will want to check the size of your filter thread for your specific lens.

I tweet @bluegiraffeimgs. Follow for special discounts and codes.

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Macro Teaser

Macro Experiment Update coming tomorrow. Going through pictures as we speak. Here is one that really stands out to me so far. If you missed the first post you can catch it [here].



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The ETSY Journey. So far.

ETSY Storefront

ETSY. It’s a great place but man is it a whole new world. One more social network. One more place that I have to work to get people to find me.  Over the past week or so I have been putting my store together. Adding listings, then changing them, then deleting them, then adding them again. I mean they’re only 20 cents a listing so why not right!? Wrong. I want to figure this ETSY puzzle out so that I can set it and forget it. Or do I? Can you open a store on ETSY and have a build it and they will come way of thinking? I’m starting to doubt it. Sure, its only been a week but if it was as easy as taking pictures, uploading them and waiting – everyone would do it.

I’m not sure if you guys are on ETSY either as a buyer or a seller. But if you are, and you have any tips please let me know. Even if you’re not check out my store and let me know what you think as an outsider.

[click here] to visit my store. Andddddd if you happen to be looking around and need a print for your house, well everything is 50% off right now! Use code: “BLUEGIRAFFEHALFOFF”. Please contact me with any questions. One thing I do know is that sales and reviews help A LOT when people are looking to buy something.

Thanks to everyone for their input and likes on the last blog, means a lot. WordPress, unlike anything else so far feels like a small community.

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The 50 Followers Update

50 Followers in 23 Days. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s about 2 new followers a day on average. Not sure if thats good, but at least it doesn’t sound like a failure. I thought I would talk about some things I’ve learned and some things I still don’t understand.


• There would be times I would be sitting on my couch and just stare at a draft I had written wondering if I should post it. Once I do end up posting them, after some internal debate, they actually tend to get the most responses from people. Maybe its the part of me that is being real in those posts that wonder if people actually care – surprisingly they do.

• You will get likes from people that actually like it and likes from people that like to like things. If you’re slightly confused as to what I’m talking about, you may be the person who just likes to like things.

• It takes A LOT to get comments out of people (except for spam). People are more than willing to give their time to a like button, but it seems more of a challenge to gain the interaction along with it.

• So far from the posts I respond to and the posts of mine people have responded to people like genuineness (that’s a crazy word).

• WordPress is a great community to learn whats going on and see different ways people document some of their journeys. Whether its a story with photos, just photos, unique ways of laying them out. It’s very interesting.

• Unlike Facebook I feel like I am allowed to look at your pictures and your stories because thats what you post it for. I feel slightly stalker-ish on Facebook and I even know those people.


• The best way to display my pictures. Do people want to scroll through large pictures or click and go through a gallery? How many is to many?

• The best times to post. This will always be a topic I think. It’s a huge world out there so maybe there isn’t one time better than another. So far I have gotten good luck with evening posts.

• The best ways to tag images and posts so people can find them. I have heard to had a lot of tags and then I’ve heard that adding a lot of tags can actually hurt you.

• Im still learning how to promote myself and to gain new interest from new people. Lets be honest, I’m doing this to sell photography.

Overall I started this to try to get more people to buy my photography. Maybe eventually that will come of it but it not it has gotten me looking at things differently, being more involved and open to new ways of talking about and presenting ideas and journeys to outside people. It has gotten be out taking pictures and going through old pictures. It’s forcing me to share my work with more people hoping they like it. But most importantly it has given me some sort of confidence to keep going and that some people, even if its only 50, care enough about a picture I took or something I said to click the FOLLOW button.

As a reminder get 50% off any print with new being added daily CODE: “BLUEGIRAFFEHALFOFF” order on ETSY by [clicking here]

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Photography Tip #1


aperture: the hole that controls how much light enters the camera. The lower the number the more light is being let in.

depth of field: the amount of the photograph that is in focus (shallow depth of field mean very little in focus)

I often show friends and family my photography, as I’m sure everyone does. The question I always seem to get is “How can I take good pictures like that?”. Overtime I have come to realize that yes people do respond to framing and capturing the moment, but most amateurs looking at a somewhat normal photograph notice the depth of field first. That, to anyone who doesn’t take pictures all the time, seems to make the photograph good.

There are many things that affect depth of field:

  1. Subjects distance from the camera (closer = less depth of field)
  2. Aperture (2.8 = very little depth of field)
  3. Focal length (zoomed in more = less depth of field)

The best way to get this “look” is to buy a camera that allows you to set your camera to manual mode. Learn, understand, and master shutter, aperture, and ISO. Learn how all of these work together so that you can always get the look you want.

I am not trying to take anything away from a good photograph. I know that depth of field alone does not make a picture good – but it sure helps. The camera is your tool – use all of its functions to their full potential. Mastering the settings will allow you to be ready and to capture that moment right when it happens the way you want it to happen.

Here are a few links to some good articles:




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The Macro Experiment

Maybe some of you have heard about the quick, easy, and cheap macro lens fake. Basically take your lens off your camera, flip it around and put it up to your shutter as if you were going to take a picture of the inside of your camera. I had seen this before and even saw that they sell ring adapters to mount the lens this way to your camera. First thought: if it really only cost 7 bucks (cost of adapter) to get a macro lens why didn’t everyone do it. Well to be fair, I didn’t get the mount – but I did hold it up to the camera.

Below are a few pictures of a starfish I took. They’re okay but in my opinion not even close to what a real macro lens could deliver. I want this to work… I really do.

What do you guys think? Have any of you tried this?  If some of you have the lens mount and it makes the world of different please let me know.

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Photo Editing

Malibu Rock. Before & After.

I grabbed my 5D and I headed for the beach. It has almost become second nature for me now. It is my escape from reality. My time to just hang out and take pictures. As much as you can relax and take pictures… it happens during this time.

Not true. Grey skies. Still I took pictures half out of habit and routine the other half because there is always the photographer in me saying “you never know… you just never know.”

After going through all of my grey beach pictures and wishing, hell, almost seeing that the sun was there I fired up Aperture and tried to come up with some sort of solution. It turns out after messing with levels and curves (along with basic adjustments) I came up with a look that I really enjoyed. The photos took on a whole new character and they looked as if that is how they were supposed to be all along.

The above photo is my favorite from that day. What started as me standing there, taking a picture of this random rock because I like pelicans turned out to be this moment captured in time.


First, once I realized that I could get a great look out of this the wheels started spinning. Why did I love this photo so much? What made it so special? I realized that it was so thoughtful and so frozen in that exact moment. There were no blue skies, no lens flares, no blue water with crashing waves… it just… was. Then I realized that half of the birds had their head buried so I took them out being as it was an easy background. I ended up loving it and getting rid of all but one.

Long story short. Heres what I learned.

Everyone has their “grey photo”. Whether it’s a blown out sky or a dark one. Maybe its birds that are burying their heads like they are on Antarctica or kids who won’t look at the camera.  The photo, after taken, is at your mercy – at your discretion. Sometimes you can get lucky and make it work, sometimes not. It’s easy to get discouraged when a photo doesn’t pop up on to your computer screen they way you want it to but its amazing when it leaves looking better than you thought it ever would.

Here are some more from that day. I thought about uploading screen shots of my settings so if you are interested let me know. As of now, it felt better to just give more examples. And please feel free to share your stories and photos with me and everyone else. Its always good to grab inspiration and tricks from where ever possible.

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Give Me the Time of Day

Since being a contributing member of WordPress (which hasn’t been long at all) I have become very interested in what to tag my blogs/images with and what time of the day is best to post. Take the following examples in to account:

I had gotten some prints back of a wedding I took pictures of. I thought the quality was great but it had gotten me thinking about all the time we spend on taking them, how many people spend the same amount printing them. I laid them out on my pitching table and took a picture and posted it at 1:52 AM. I had likes, followers, and a comment 20 minutes later. Again… it was a picture of developed pictures just laying on my table. Granted the topic surrounding the image could have been very interesting to people in which I am flattered and excited.

Then at 2:10 PM (same day almost 12 hours later) I published some night photography images I had spent hours shooting and hours editing and selecting the best ones. I wrote a short description about light and colors and long exposures, etc. Maybe the photography and writing were sub-par, maybe not.

I could go back and forth looking at all the different times I post things, what I say, and how people respond to it. Without sounding coincided and selfish… in my mind the photography I spent time on should have gotten likes or at least some views. But unless it is taking longer to make its way around this complicated world we call the internet – it hasn’t been the case. I didn’t even get views in the USA for the first 6 hours. C’mon America! 😉

So what is it. Is there a “golden hour” of blog posting or are people just not interested in galleries of images I took of my bike at night. Let me know. Maybe I’ll find out and it will be 9 PM on a Thursday night.

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Self and Photography Promotion

Still diving head first into the world of getting photography out to more viewers. So far WordPress is better than any other blog site I’ve tried. The quality of the other readers is much higher and I have found myself in awe of some, valuing the input of others, and conversing with everyone. I had tried Tumblr, which is good for a self-eestem boost when someone re-blogs re-tumbles, whatever its called, your photo. Only problem is there seems to be a lot of 17-year-old girls who will re-blog anything with a word involved, a sunset in california, a puppy, or a picture of a hot guy. I’m not very inspirational, don’t own a puppy, and I don’t frequent the hot guy picture taking market.

With that in mind I wanted to see what your thoughts were on promoting work. I assume many of you have been doing this for a while and, from the looks of things, have been quite successful. Is it better to
a) publish all the pictures at once to not annoy the people who already do follow me? Or
b) do you space them out over time trying to build a bigger and better fan base? Maybe there is another option.

Please VOTE and SHARE. I have a feeling I’m not the only one with this question. Lets be honest – the mear fact that someone out there can find, follow, and like something you or I have done with the touch of a button is amazing.

Follow me here and view my website @ http://bluegiraffeimages.photomerchant.net/

EDIT: please vote as well as like. Even share! It’s the voting that will do the most help. Thanks! 🙂

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