The first class I took at the TBU’s conference in Umbria was a photo talk and walk by Ken Kaminesky. I learned a lot of the basics (like aperture and shutter speed stuff that I can’t really apply until I graduate from point and shoot) as well as some helpful tips which I tried to put to use on our walk through Perugia.
I think practicing photography in Umbria gives one a false sense of accomplishment; you can pretty much point your camera anywhere and get something beautiful. It’s only when you take a look at some photos by Ken and other pros that you see how much further you can go.
One of Ken’s suggestions I put into practice as soon as a returned was the use of Snapseed‘s photo editing software. It lets you fiddle with the lighting, the color, the sharpness and various mystery adjustments produced by the “drama” button. Here’s an example:
Here’s the same photo pre-drama:
Pretty neat, huh? Snapseed was free on my ipad, and $20 for a more complete version on my Mac. If you’re just starting out and don’t want to invest in Photoshop, getting Snapseed is a no-brainer. It’s almost as if they’ve made taking a bad picture impossible.
Almost. I still have a few blurries I can’t do anything with. But Ken had a tip for that: Put the camera on something to keep it steady.
One thing it surprised me to learn was that overcast days are better for shooting than sunny days. Silly me, I was always looking for that blue, cloudless sky. It never occurred to me that the sun was washing out the colors on my photos, or that clouds could add color and depth (not to mention give that “drama” button something to dramatize).
Ken also told us we could break the rules, but I figured I’d better practice learning the rules first. Here’s my attempt at composition using the Rule of Thirds. Can you see what I did here?
He told us to experiment, and to sometimes shoot landscapes in portrait mode. Here’s my experiment with black and white:
It’s amazing how much my photography has improved as a result of that one day. Thank you Ken, and thank you Oliver for bringing Ken to TBU. And thanks to the Umbrian Tourist Board for sponsoring our visit.
There’s more about my time in Umbria and the TBU conference (and more photos) in this previous post.Google+