Based on my too many to count years of experience as a professional photographer, I offer the following advice to everyone who is interested in making more than “snapshots” of their families. It takes practice, patience, and the ability to engage your subjects. For inspiration, I’ve included a few examples of my work on locations rather than in the studio:
Technical info: 70-200mm lens with aperture at f5.6 at 140mm
Technical info: 70-200mm lens with aperture at f5 at 70mm
Technical info: 70-200 lens with aperture at f4.5 at 100mm
Technical info: 70-200 lens with aperture at f7.1 at 70mm
Technical info: 70-200 lens with aperture at f11 at 70mm
Technical info: 70-200mm lens with aperture at f5 at 120mm
• Digital cameras have come a long way and can really help you capture everyday memories – in focus and properly exposed! Use your camera often so you are comfortable with its settings.
• Buy extra batteries and keep them charged. Digital cameras use a lot of battery power. There is nothing worse than getting your subject in place only to find your camera battery is
• Use multiple memory cards – don’t put your entire vacation on one card. Cards have been known to fail, and you don’t want to risk losing all of your photos.
• Shoot Fine .jpg or .raw to get the highest quality image.
• Get out of Automatic mode – take time to learn how to control your depth of field by setting your aperture. The shutter speed controls motion as well as ambient light. These two
settings along with your ISO dictate how the final image will look.
• Back-up, back-up, back-up. Computers crash; hard drives die; memory cards lose their memory. Back up your precious memories to a cloud service as well as to an external hard drive in
addition to your computer’s hard drive.
• Make prints! Prints will last when everything else fails.
• Read your camera’s manual. Find YouTube videos that explain your camera’s settings.
• Format your memory cards after you have loaded your images on your computer and have done your back-up.
Gretchen Birdwell, owner of Gretchen B Photography, is a Certified Professional Photographer and has received numerous awards for her portrait work. She has operated her studio in Helena for twelve years and specializes in “classic with a fun twist” milestone photography where your photographs will be proudly displayed in your home and passed down for generations. You can find her at 833 Creekside Court, Helena, AL 35080; website; text or call 205.999.3531.