I'm totally enjoying working for Glazers Camera here in Seattle, and part of my job is to provide Photo Tips & Tricks for their Social Media pages.
Here's my personal suggestions this month for improving your photography skills!
Depth of field is one of your strongest storytelling tools in photography. You can blur out your background or foreground to make your subject pop! Try shooting in Aperture Priority (A or AV) mode and take the same photo with various different f-stops.
Hints: Choose a subject with a far away background. Instead of shooting a bowl of fruit on a table with the table as a background, get down to the fruits level and use the other side of the room as a background.
Make sure your DOF is big enough to focus on your entire subject, and watch those shutter speeds; crank up your ISO if your shutter speeds drops below 1/30 of a sec.
Model at Seattle Asian Art Museum.
You know when you land that perfect shot of your loved ones and say, 'That's a framer!'
Why not frame your subject within a frame?
Framing is a strong compositional element and can make your photos more dramatic. Use something in your foreground to surround your subject, and change your depth of field to soften the 'frame'.
Water tower framed by trees, Volunteer Park
The photo term 'bokeh' describes the beautiful effects that happen when light sources are out of focus. The lens makes the bokeh the same shape of the aperture, so generally a circle or an octagon. However, you can change that shape quite simply!
Choose a lens to experiment with; fixed focal lengths are a little easier; try your nifty 50mm!
Use your lenscap to trace a circle on a piece of cardboard, cut it out and then cut a small shape inside the center of your circle.
Shoot in Aperture Priority (A or AV) at a larger f-stop (smaller number; 1.4- 2.8, etc.) focus on your subject first (subject should be in foreground, lights should be in background) and then hold your cardboard in front of your lens. It will take some experimenting but you should see the blurred lights in the background take the shape that you chose.
Valentines view, Central District.
And finally, I'll leave you with one of my favorite shots from February.