How Do I Get Clear Images? (Part 1)

How Do I Get Clear Images?

Usually this question is referring either to haze caused by lens flare or camera shake.  Let’s focus on lens flare since as y’all get out and shoot, you’ll encounter this with the sun.

Lens flare happens when the sun (or other light source) comes directly into the lens and causes reflections from the glass elements inside the lens to fall on the sensor.

Controlling lens flare is easy, and once you know how, you can actually use it to your creative advantage.   To get rid of lens flare, simply use a lens hood to shade the front of the lens from the light source, or turn the lens away from the light source until the flare disappears.

You can also use your hand, a piece of paper, cardboard, or any other material (and even your subject!) to control the light hitting the front of your lens.  This is called flagging the light.  But don’t forget that lens flare can be and often is used for creative effect to create some beautiful shots.

Here are some examples:


Notice that in both of these cases, you can actually see the light source, as well as a couple of reflections in the images from the lens elements.

Type the words “Creative Lens Flare” into your google search bar to see more images with beautiful lens flare, and then go have fun experimenting!



Telling The Christmas Story (and Beyond)

Tell the Story This Christmas!

_MG_63341. FOCUS ON THE DETAILS – Christmas is a visual feast, and to capture it’s “Spirit” shoot all the little details, like the ornaments, the stockings, the lights, decorations, clothes, food, etc. These will make your photo narrative rich! And remember, fill the frame!


_MG_6824 _MG_68282. FOCUS ON THE INTERACTION – Christmas is a time when family and friends are together along with a wide range of emotions! Take five minutes to try and capture the interactions between people. Christmas is about relationships. Capture those moments!


_MG_6323 _MG_63413. FOCUS ON THE LIGHT – There are some great light sources during the season; candles, fires, Christmas lights. Watch for unique reflections, shadows, and colors that add interest to the image, especially reflected on people’s faces and in backgrounds. A shot with Christmas lights in the background is more interesting than one with plain wall…just sayin’. Find the angles that best capture that beautiful light.  And turn off the flash…


_MG_6599adjIMG_32834. FOCUS ON EXPOSURE – During this time of year there is a lot of white and gray (think clouds and snow). Usually you’ll have to brighten the exposure to make the image work. However, if you’re shooting with a fire in the shot, to make it “look right”, usually you’ll be subtracting light from the exposure. At any rate, the ultimate goal is to treasure the moments – even if it means putting the camera down and just being…

As always, I look forward to seeing some of your favorite photos from the season on the SiLVER HILL Facebook page, Happy shooting!

7 Small Reminders for Better Holiday Photos!

The holidays are upon us again, and during the hectic gatherings we dearly love to get great photos.  Here are some small reminders that hopefully will help you to do just that!

1.  Put your ISO in Auto – check your manual to see how to do that if you don’t already.  Since you’ll likely be in a variety of lighting conditions rapidly, it helps not to have to think about the ISO much.

2.  Put your White Balance on Auto – you don’t want to have to think about white balance either in the happy chaos of holiday season!

3.  Use Aperture Priority (Av or A) to try and capture shots with a blurred background – but remember to stay close to your subjects!

4.  Use Shutter Priority (Tv or S) and keep it on 1/60th sec.or faster to make sure you don’t get camera shake when shooting in low light situations (like inside around a dinner table).

5.  Use exposure compensation if you need to to try and get your subject the right brightness if the background is much darker or brighter than the subject. (think snow shots, sunset shots, backlit shots, etc)

6.  Alternately, use your AEL (Auto exposure lock) to get an exposure reading from something similar to your subject, then recompose your shot and take the picture.  This should help get a proper exposure on your subject.

7.  If al else fails put it in AUTO, have fun, don’t stress, and remember its not about the photos, it’s about the relationships!

Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas to all of you!