Liveblog | Better Blog Photography

Photos should make a good blog post even better. It doesn’t take a fortune in software and equipment to be an effective photographer.
Jim Doran will walk you through:

  • the basics of digital photography
  • choosing a camera
  • software options for photo editing
  • tips for getting great results with what you already have to work with

We tell stories on our blogs. Stories of our lives. Stories of what we’re up to. Pictures are worth a thousand words. We can use pictures to draw readers into our stories, our blogs.

There’s so much competing for our attention–ads, other blogs.

Choosing a camera:

  • Jim has an iPhone, Canon digital Elph (take this one everywhere. It’s like magic.) SD 4000,  and Nikon DSLR (his wife doesn’t let him use it.)
  • Pictures are made of tiny dots called pixels. Pixel=picture element.  It’s the smallest definable area on a computer screen.
  • Size doesn’t matter. A megapixel=one million pixels
  • 3mp=2048 horizontal pixels x 1536 vertical pixels
  • If you have a camera that does 5 MP, that’s more than enough.
  • Avg web page: 1024 x 768 pixel layout–960 pixels wide. Blogger default settings: 930px wide.

“Mobile browsing is expected to outpace desktop based access in 3-5 years.” –Ethan Marcotte

Don’t get hung up on a 20mp camera–you don’t need it.

What does matter in size is the camera sensor. It takes lights and divides into red, blue and green.

DSLRs have bigger sensors, that’s why they take bigger pics

Features you should look for when buying a camera:

  • HD video/stereo.
  • Face detect.
  • Low-light modes.
  • High speed burst.
  • Wink/self portrait.
  • Macro mode. ← great for food pics

Zoom: Optical zoom uses lenses. Digital zoom uses software to fake it. If you’re zooming a lot–get optical zoom. That’s preferable to using the digital zoom.— In depth reviews of most cameras. analysis of how sensor works. Compare with previous models. Forums to ask questions/get questions answered

Composition tips:

  • Rule of thirds: divide photo into thirds. Align subject matter where gridlines intersect.
  • Get close to subject. Look at angles. Move your feet.
  • Oversampling: it’s better to reduce a large photo than try to enlarge a small one.
  • There’s no reason not to take lots of photos. Film is cheap.
  • Fill the frame. Get close to subject. Don’t let the outside noise get into it.

Camera tips:

  • USE A CAMERA CASE. Use a wrist strap. Jim got attacked by a preying mantis and dropped and broke the camera.
  • Take your camera everywhere. If you don’t have it with you,
  • Get past auto. Check out custom settings. Carry your manual with you.
  • Natural light is better than using a flash. You can build a lightbox. Or you can use white tissue papers over you window.
Does your [blog] theme support good photos?

Cool sites/tools:

  • Hipstamatic: vintage photo style. novelty wears off, but you can do cool things
  • Photoshop Express: free
  • Photoshop Elements: has everything you need for web. can take a photo off phone and adjust hue and contrast
  • Picnik: connects with Flickr/Picasa
  • 500px: hosting service
  • Flickr: he did a sketchbook swap. flickr lets you edit/tag photos. You can search on cameras, if you want to learn more about your own cameras. There’s forums and basic analytics.
  • Stolencamerafinder: uses the serial number stored in your photo to search the web for photos taken with the same camera.

Simple editing tweaks:

  • Use Elements to clean photos up. Can layer. Make a layer. change image size. resize, sharpen tool. uses sharpen edges to clean things up.
  • Save for web. Can resize and it makes thing useable.

Photo File Types:

  • .gif: 256 colors, lossless
  • .png: millions of colors, transparency –doesn’t work in IE. original image: 1.9 MB, reduced to 96K. can compare images and keep reducing until it gets blurry. (save for web/devices.)

“No matter how advanced your camera, you still need to be responsible for getting tothe right place at the right time and pointing in the right direction to get the photo you want.” -Ken Rockwell, Your Camera Doesn’t Matter

This session was captured by Theodora Blanchfield of Losing Weight in the City, a blog about maintaing a 50-pound weight loss in NYC while still having fun.