Photography practice

Dried-lavender

A couple of weeks ago I took a half day photography course taught by Vicki Knight in Surrey. Along with me there were several other small business owners who were all looking to improve on, or start, taking their own product shots. When I started my business I bought a DSLR and after having a good old play with it I settled into using the same few settings and didn't really explore how it works properly. So the course was a total revelation in many ways as I discovered what some buttons I'd never pressed are for! Now I have a much better understanding of what F-stops are, why you need to pay attention to the ISO setting and exposure compensation got me more excited than anything else!

PoppyIt took me ages to get the detail on this poppy into focus

I have always used the 18-55mm lens that came with my Nikon D3000 but following the course I ordered a 50mm lens as I learned it would give me much greater depth of field and help me get a better lovely blurry background effect. I've only had the lens a few days and haven't had much time to play with it but I thought I'd show you a few of the snaps I've taken (they are exactly as they were taken, I have edited or adjusted them). I've become reliant on autofocus so having to focus this lens myself has proven quite tricky and I have decidedly wobbly hands! For each of these pics there are tons more out of focus photos that I deleted. *(As you'll see from the course teacher's comment below, I bought the wrong lens! I am now changing the manual focus lens I bought for one with autofocus built in. No wonder I found it so hard!)*

Pink-flowersIt's pretty but I've no idea what this wild flower in my garden is!

As well as getting better with using my camera settings and the new lens I'm also going to work on styling photos so that I can take more creative shots of my products. I may even have to buy some nice props to help me with this, fun! All in the name of work, of course.

Bee-on-lavenderI was pleased this bee was occupied long enough for me to take his picture, but when I zoomed in I was so impressed with the detail the lens caught, check out his wings!
Bee-on-lavender-zoom

If you're anywhere near Surrey and thinking of getting some photography help I really recommend Vicki. She packed loads into the half day, she's super enthusiastic and doesn't dazzle you with jargon. Plus she sent us away with lots of information so that we can check back on what we learnt. There's a post about the course on her blog if you want to take a look, just ignore the strange faces I'm pulling in the photos, I don't know what that's all about at all! 

TulipsThese tulips are leaning against a mirror so the blurred flowers are actually their reflection

If you have any tips or ideas to help me get to grips with my 50mm lens, or with styling photos, do let me know! 

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4 thoughts on “Photography practice

  1. Nik

    Ooh lovely photos! I’m a big fan of ‘blurry background effect’. Sounds like a good course to go on – we have photography club at work, but to be honest it’s mostly way over my head! Need more of a ‘beginners’ course I think…

  2. Vicki Knights

    Thanks so much for mentioning my workshop and the kind things you said about it. As I just mentioned in the email, unfortunately you bought a lens for your camera that will only work in manual focus, hence your problems focusing. I hope you are able to send it back and get the right lens. You’ll be amazed with the results you can get once you get one you can use auto-focus with. I’m very impressed with the results you were getting here whilst manually focusing – it’s not easy!

  3. Gabrielle

    Ha ha, wouldn’t you believe I ordered the wrong lens! Ah well, at least I know now and at least I know I wasn’t being especially stupid (with the lens use at any rate) it’s that I bought a lens without autofocus. Thanks v much for your help, Vicki, the wrong lens is ready to be collected for return tomorrow and I’ve ordered the right one. I’ll have to write another post when I get the right lens!
    And thanks for your comment, Nik, perhaps you could start a more fun photography club?

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