Kristen Prelipp-Oguntoyinbo

How to Better Photograph Your Family- Tip Six

This is the sixth in an eight-part created by me, Kristin Prelipp Oguntoyinbo, for the amateur family photographer. These tips are simple, quick things you can do to vastly improve the photos you take. I will be using photos that I have taken in my role as the family photographer, not images taken with high end cameras, complicated techniques nor studio lighting. These are images that ANYONE can take, many of them shot with a point and shoot camera. TIP 6: NATURAL LIGHT Professional photographers spend years learning how to work with light. The goal is to make their artificial light look like beautiful, Rembrandt-style, natural light. But why spend all that time learning how to modify light when the real thing is right in front of you? I am going to show three examples of using natural light versus the on-camera flash. For those of you using a point and shoot, you may have to consult your camera manual to learn how to turn the automatic flash off, when you so choose. Also, in darker situations, it would be nice to know how to turn your ISO up a bit, maybe to 800 if you can. My first example is shooting indoors at night. Roman’s birthday is right before Christmas and Leo’s is right after, so the holidays are really big for us. It is right before bed...

Read More

How to Better Photograph Your Family- Tip Five

TIP 5: CANDID CAMERA Do you remember that show, “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” Perhaps I am dating myself, but the premise was that people were taped with concealed cameras as they were being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props. When the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show’s catch phrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.” I am not suggesting you set up pranks for your family so you can photograph how they react. But I am rather telling you that it is truly amazing to quietly watch your family from a detached position, like a concealed camera, almost as if you were a fly on the wall. Most people photograph the big events- birthday parties, first days of school and beach vacations. But what about daily rituals such as sharing a family dinner, or your children playing with legos? It recently occurred to me that my mom takes my kids for dinner every single Tuesday (we call it Tuesdays with Grandma) and I have never photographed that! If you are using digital cameras there is just no reason not to shoot, shoot, shoot. As you photograph these every day moments, try to resist the urge to draw attention to yourself and say, “Smile for the camera! Look this way so I can take your photo.” As soon as you do that, the moment is...

Read More

How to Better Photograph Flowers and Plants

Flowers are such a source of inspiration to me. It is in my blood and upbringing as my parents and all siblings but one are absolutely crazy about gardening.  They throw around both the common and latin names for plants as if it is nothing. Growing up in chilly Green Bay, WI the growing season was short but my mother made the most of it. In the evening she and my dad would stroll around the yard slowly just taking it all in and catching up on the day. I find myself often in the yard, as well, at the end of the day, just weeding a bed or watering, enjoying the quiet. So as a photographer it is only natural that I would focus my lens on plants and flowers. This blog post will focus on how to make your photos of plants and flowers stunning and to more accurately and artfully capture what they look like. {} {} HUMAN INTEREST At the very beginning of my career I worked at the News & Observer. On a slow news day we had to search for feature photos. Basically I drove around looking for something interesting to photograph.  I found myself gravitating to beautiful flowers and plants, of which we have so many in bountiful North Carolina. But for a photo to appear in the paper it needs to...

Read More

How to Better Photograph Your Family- Tip Four

TIP 4: WATCH THE BACKGROUND It seems counter-intuitive, but any successful photograph BEGINS with the background. A bad background can ruin an otherwise amazing photo. Think of how a painter would work on the background first and then, layer by layer, add the protagonists. When filling up your rectangle (see tip 1), pick a clean or pleasing background so that you can focus on the action, a.k.a. your family. HERE IS HOW NOT TO DO IT! So here we are in August in North Carolina. It is a hot as Hades and I am at home with a full slumber party of five- my children and their Prelipp Lojk cousins. They had not seen each other all summer so the mood was very festive. The kids were having a raucous game that involved balloons, teams, rules incomprehensible to me and A LOT of screaming. I first tried photographing them in a direction with a really busy background. The detritus of my life, closets, toys, a chair fort, etc. made for a very busy background. So you can hardly focus in on the action. | | When shooting digital you can just look at the back of your camera to see how things are looking. I could see right away that the background was too busy. So, I just took a position at the opposite end of the room to...

Read More

How to Better Photograph Your Family- Tip Three

TIP 3: GET UP. GET DOWN. GET MOVING! When you photograph your family without being intentional about it, most of your photos are taken from the same eye level. While some photos are great taken from that level, if all are taken that way it makes for some pretty boring photos. Here is an example of what most people do: line up kids, stand upright, raise camera to eye level and shoot before one child wanders off. | | I am not saying the above photo is a bad photo. It serves its purpose of documenting the kids at Christmas. But like any holiday, many photos are taken and wouldn’t it be nice to see some variety? Get low. Get high. Move in close. Back up to get a wide view of the scene. Take vertical and horizontal photos depending on what fills up the viewfinder better (see TIP 1). | | For the image above I wanted to see the look on Roman’s face as he opened presents, so I shot from up high. | | For the image on the left I got down low so I could see Leo’s cute face under his huge Santa hat. In the image on the right I actually got in the bathtub and stood on the edge so I could have a nice, high vantage point from which to see...

Read More

Sunrise Sunset

Happy (almost) Fourth of July everyone! I hope that many of you will be out having fun with your friends and family, attending Fourth of July events this weekend. You can see a local listing of events on the chapelboro.com calendar. If you are lucky, you might get to see and photograph a beautiful sunset this holiday weekend. On July 4th, 2011 the sun is setting at 8:36 p.m. That means that from about 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. is the “golden hour,” as photographers call it. This is a time where everything looks good! Sunrise has a golden hour, too, but few of us are awake and coherent enough at that hour to manage a good photo. So let me talk about sunset. | | This image was taken at the aptly named Sunset Beach, North Carolina. I photographed the sunset without a tripod at these settings: Camera: Canon 30D ISO: 1000 Shutter Speed: 1/640 Aperture: 7.1 Lens: 200 mm You really have to set the camera exposure manually as most cameras set on automatic take an average of all the light in this scene resulting in an overexposed sky. I just happened to record a miraculous moment in which two birds made their way inland for the evening. Perfect! There will only be a 13% waxing moon on the 4th, but let me show you the last full...

Read More

How to Better Photograph Your Family- Tip Two

This series was created for the amateur family photographer. These tips are simple, quick things you can do to vastly improve the photos you take. Every family has one person that tends to do all the photographing. Growing up in my family, this was my father. This role is important as the images you capture will become the family legacy.  I will be using photos that I have taken in my role as the family photographer, NOT images taken with my high end cameras, complicated techniques OR studio lighting. THESE ARE IMAGES THAT ANYONE CAN TAKE , MANY OF THEM SHOT WITH A POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA! There are even a few examples taken by my children. So, the point is, these tips are for anyone who wants to photograph their story better. TIP 2: WATCH THE LIGHT. Truly amazing photographs are usually a mix of a moment, good composition and great light. Moments occur like magic at random and composition is something you try for, but it only works out beautifully from time to time- but light! You can always find good light. You just have to know where to look for it. There are some very simple tips for finding great light outdoors: – Bright sunshine creates harsh shadows and most often makes your subject squint. – Overcast, almost rainy days are great. Cloud cover acts as...

Read More

How to Better Photograph Your Family- Tip One

This series was created for the amateur family photographer. These tips are simple, quick things you can do to vastly improve the photos you take. Every family has one person that tends to do all the photographing. Growing up in my family, this was my father. This role is important as the images you capture will become the family legacy.  I will be using photos that I have taken in my role as the family photographer, NOT images taken with my high end cameras, complicated techniques OR studio lighting. THESE ARE IMAGES THAT ANYONE CAN TAKE , MANY OF THEM SHOT WITH A POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA! There are even a few examples taken by my children. So, the point is, these tips are for anyone who wants to photograph their story better. TIP 1: THINK INSIDE THE BOX This first tip is the ONLY one that is a bit more cerebral but I just had to put it first because it is the foundation for a good photograph. The rectangle of space that you see when you look through your camera is your canvas. You can fill this space up in anyway that you want. Often people unconsciously put the camera to their face, point in the direction of the given subject and then press the shutter button. The end result of that type of unconscious photography is...

Read More

The Cicada Invasion

I have had houseguests for over a month who have created quite a racket and have left a mess all over the yard.  I guess it is alright as they won’t be back for another 13 years. I am referring, of course, to the 13-year cicadas, officially called Brood XXIX. They last burrowed out of the ground in 1998 and won’t be back until 2024.     At the beginning of May my children and I began noticing holes in the yard. At first I wondered if we had a serious, miniature vole problem. But then we started seeing exoskeletons on leaves. Soon, we could not ignore the fact that there was a loud wall of sound. Some neighbors thought it was a car alarm at first. It was seriously so loud that I could not talk on the phone outside. I recorded 50 seconds of it just so you can get an idea. Remember this is only 50 seconds but it really went on all day long for weeks. Thankfully they rested at night.     Although they look a little creepy they are harmless. They don’t bite and they won’t destroy your garden. The newly emerged cicadas are pale with bright, red eyes. Their bodies mature to a dark color and then they take to the air in search of a mate. The males sing to attract...

Read More