Each Christmas I make a photo calendar for my husband and parents. In the calendar I match pictures from the previous year’s months with the future. For example, right now we’re looking at pictures from last February. It’s a fun project to make because it requires me to go through a year’s worth of pictures, pick out my favorites, and organize them into a collage for each month. As I worked on the calendar this past December I realized that I learned a lot about photography in 2016. I played around with photographing my own family and also took lots of pictures for other people. I’m hoping to use these next few weeks of cold, dreary weather to analyze what I learned in 2016.
Here are some of the things that I noticed as I worked on my family’s calendar pictures:
- Outdoor pictures are so much more lovely than indoor pictures! There’s a reason families choose to have their pictures done outside in beautiful natural light. The natural lighting can add so much depth and color.
- Unfortunately, a lot of my life happens indoors. Winter is an obvious obstacle to being outside, but throughout the year I’m frequently inside when I want to document life. I experimented with lots of flash options and read a book about flash in 2016.
- White balance is a struggle for me, especially when inside, and makes editing more time intensive. I bought a grey card and learned to use it with a custom white balance setting. This is a goal for 2017: Keep using the grey card!
- In 2016 I finally figured out the reasons why I personally want to shoot in raw instead of jpeg. The reasons I prefer raw were quite obvious when I edited January 2016’s jpeg files.
- Lenses matter! I bought an 18-135mm zoom lens and borrowed an 85mm lens. I also frequently used my 35mm and 55-200mm lenses. Each has it’s own strengths and peculiarities. Each requires a slightly different approach when shooting in manual.
- There is a magic button in Lightroom. I’m not giving away the secret here, but I found one. It has made my life so much easier. (No, it’s not the Sync button.)