Sunday, June 12, 2011

Guest Post | Ely Fair Photography

Let's continue to talk photography, and who better than my dear, sweet friend Elyse Fair of Ely Fair Photography. Our friendship began several years ago when she was hired on as the other graphic designer at my previous job and became my fellow office mate and a fast friend. We had many "over-the-wall" conversations and have continued to remain friends and weekly lunch buddies. She is also a fellow blogger (times 2)...visit her professional blog to get your fill of pretty photos or her personal blog to learn more about the girl behind the big camera. 

Added bonus...Elyse is holding a contest right now on her professional blog! All you have to do is "like" Ely Fair Photography on Facebook and tell her by posting a comment here. For every 50 "likes", she's going to be giving away a free mini-session with a 16x20 canvas (total value of more than $300)! The contest closes on Tuesday, June 14, so be sure to enter before then. 

Now, let's get on to the good stuff. I've asked her do a guest post on here to give us a quick photography lesson. So, without further ado...

Well, lets take a minute for introductions. My name is Elyse Fair, and my husband Ryan and I are Wedding and Portrait Lifestyle photographers based out of Oklahoma City. After a 10-year love affair with photography, Ryan and I started Ely Fair Photography and are loving working together and capturing the joy in people's lives. And Teresa invited me here today to talk a little about photography. So I wanted to share with you something that I was scared of for a while when I got my first camera back in 2000...taking your camera off Automatic.

Get Off Your Automatic 
How many of you have a lovely SLR camera with lots of fancy pants capabilities....but have never taken it off of your automatic setting?? Don't be shy, I know you are out there. I'm here today to challenge you to get out of Auto, and explore a little on your camera!

Here are some basics (thank you wikipedia for the dial image): 
Most of you intuitively know what the little picture icons mean. They are presets that the camera company has put on your camera to help you when taking sports, portraits, etc.

But today I want to talk about the SCARY LETTERS (insert daunting music here). 

Let's do a quick overview, and then I will delve more into a couple of them.

Auto - like it says, Automatic. The camera will choose your aperature and shutter speed settings for you. For the most part does a great job, but basically is a big heavy point and shoot camera if you don't take the camera off this mode.
M - The dreaded Manual. Yes, it can be overwhelming when you first start
Tv or S - Shutter priority. This means that you tell the camera what shutter speed you want it to be and it will choose an aperture for you. 
Av or A Aperture priority. This is where you choose your aperture, and your camera chooses the shutter speed to get a good exposure. 

The mode that I want to go further into today is the latter, Aperture priority. When we shoot, Ryan and I typically shoot in Manual, but when we are in situations that the light is constantly changing and we don't have time to mess with the settings on our cameras, we will move to aperture priority.

But let's back up just a tad and talk about what Aperture is in the first place. Aperture, in my non technical terms, is how much light is being let into the camera. It's a bit counterintuitive because the lower the number, the more light is being let in. So, an aperture of 2.8 lets in a lot more light than an aperture of 16.

This is good to know for two reasons: more light can allow you to take photos in low light situations with out the dreaded flash that makes all of our photos washed out and flat. And a low aperture can also give you the nice blurred, or bokah, effect in the background.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me show you a little about what I'm gabbing about. I grabbed some things off the shelf and put together a little mini set up. I put the camera on aperture priority and changed only the aperture and let my camera choose the shutter speed.

Here it is with a low aperture of f1.4. See how pretty much just the letters are in focus, and there is a blurred background.
Here it is with a high aperture of f16. Now much more of the picture is in focus. The moss and thread are more sharp, and even the chairs and curtains in the background are more understandable.
So, my challenge to you is to get our of your Auto mode for a month, and try Aperture priority and play!

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