Hi there! My name is Ann-Marie Morris and I am so happy to be guest posting here today on Amy's blog. As someone who eats / sleeps / breathes visual inspiration (thank goodness for Instagram!), photography is the one source of creative expression that I use on a daily - sometimes hourly! - basis. Here are a few of my top photography tips that I've learned over the years:Avoid the flash at all costs. Whether you're taking pictures of people or a landscape or still life, no artificial lighting will ever flatter your subjects quite as well as natural light. Even if the sun is setting, put the camera on a steady surface and turn on the self-timer! You have up to ten seconds to run back in the shot and allow the camera to work it's magic. But if you do need to use the flash, just remember that it only extends so far. For example, don't plan on taking distant landscape photos at night, because it will only illuminate about 10 feet in front of you and everything else will still be dark.Square up your shots. Of all the things I learned from my college photo classes, this little trick has always stuck with me. If there are horizontal or vertical lines in your photos, try to line them up in your shot. For example, let's say you're standing in front of a wall. Since the wall has one very distinct horizontal line, use your viewfinder to make the camera parallel to the wall. The photo above is a prime example of squaring up. See how the horizon line is parallel to the top and bottom of the photo? That's what you want to aim for. It takes practice and quite honestly, I often use Photoshop to correct my shots when I'm editing.Follow people around. As awesome as posed photos can be, there's no substitute for capturing someone in their natural state. For the photo above, I quietly followed Amy around her house as she tended to baby Jack's needs. When I got home and went through all the photos I took that day, I let out an audible gasp when I came across this particular image. It was exactly what I was hoping to capture!Use the self-timer. It doesn't matter if you're sightseeing amongst a huge crowd or if you're simply at home by yourself, the self-timer function on digital cameras is always a great option. You can program it to take several photos consecutively or you can just do one at a time. Another fun thing about the self-timer? It's perfect for jumping shots! For the photo above, I placed my camera on a low wall across the street and turned on the self-timer so that I could get a photo of me with all of my bridesmaids. It was such a simple act, but it helped to create one of my most treasured images.Zoom in, zoom out. Blogging has taught me so much about creating a well-rounded story through various angles and perspectives. Even if the photos I take will never be published, I've trained myself to pay attention to both the large and small details of the subject matter. The very first thing I do is scope out the setting in the broadest terms possible: landscapes, large groups, distance shots, etc. Once I have that in my memory card, I focus on the small details: tablescapes, the petals on a flower, a cropped shot of my pencil cup, etc. Then, when I sit down to start editing, I have all the photos I need to tell the complete story.Play with the different settings on the dial. Figuring out what setting to use depending on many variables (subject, distance, lighting, etc) can really make or break a photo. For example, if you want to get a close-up detail shot, use the flower icon setting. If you want to get a wide-angle landscape shot, use the mountain icon setting. If you don't want to think too much about it, use the Auto or P setting.Experiment! The beauty of digital cameras is that you can take unlimited photos and figure out what works without worrying about running out of film. Play around with different shots, angles, and camera settings and find what works best for you!
Ann-Marie is a freelance designer, crafter, and photographer living in Pasadena with her fiance John. When she's not working on DIY projects for her upcoming wedding or thrifting for new pieces for her home, it's a safe bet that she is on the hunt for her next great creative adventure. Always with a camera in hand.