Photography Tips For Paper Crafters

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A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said "I love your pictures - they're wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera." He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: "That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove." - Sam Haskins

Sam Haskins is 100% correct! Knowing how to use a camera properly will help you achieve that pristine vision that you have painted in your mind's eye, but there are some things that basic point-and-shoot cameras simply cannot do. Get ready because I'm about to drop some science on you!

My Camera Has More MegaPixels!

While megapixels come in handy when taking photos for billboards or large format prints, you can pretty much throw this number out the window.  A typical blogger posts photos that are usually less than 800 pixels wide. How many megapixels does your camera need in order for your blog photos to look good? Two! Most cameras now-a-days come with 8-12 megapixel sensors which gives you the ability to print poster-sized photos with crisp results. While you should be conscious of the number of megapixels, don't let it be a deciding factor when purchasing a new camera. If you are blogging and/or printing 5x7 or even 8x12 prints, an 8 megapixel camera will do!

How Do I Get That "Blurred" Look?

In photography, that pleasing "blurred" look that helps isolate the subject from the background is known as "bokeh". Bokeh is the result of a shallow depth of field. The depth of field is the area of the photo that is in focus. Anything outside the depth of field is considered out of focus. That out-of-focus area can look REALLY nice if you have the right lens.

Bored yet? If you really want to know how depth of field works, you'll have to do a Google search and look it up yourself. If you don't care how it works, but want to achieve beautiful Bokeh, keep reading!

Typically, the more expensive the lens, the better the bokeh, but you don't have to break the bank to get beautiful results! Nikon DSLR shooters should take a look at the 50mm  f/1.8G AF-S lens and Canon DSLR shooters should look at the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. These lenses do not zoom, so you'll have to physically move(yup, you have to walk) closer or further away to zoom in or out on your subject, but that's better than paying $2,000+ dollars for a zoom lens that gives you the same type of bokeh.

What The Heck Is a 50mm with an f/1.8 thingamajig?

Instead of explaining what the numbers mean, I'll tell you how they apply to real-world craft applications. Those big lenses that you see at sporting events are usually in the 300-500mm range and can cost thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars. The reason they are so big is because the photographers can't get close enough to the athletes without interefering with the game, so they have to shoot at a distance. These large lenses are called "telephotos". Yup! Just like "telescope". So unless you plan on taking photos of your cards from 100 feet away, you'll want to find a 35mm or 50mm lens. This is a nice, wide lens that will work great for portraits as well as photos of your paper projects!

Leo Kowal

The next number is the aperture. Lower is better! Look for lenses that sports an f/1.4, 1.8, 2.0 or 2.8 aperture! Not only will these lenses give you more light to work with in low-light conditions, but they'll give you beautiful bokeh if used properly!

How do I use my camera and lens properly? Good question! This question is the topic of hundreds of books, but I'll do my best to answer it in my next edition of Photography Tips for Paper Crafters! ~ Leo

Visit Leo's Blog Here


10 Responses to “Photography Tips For Paper Crafters”

  1. kelly April 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    very nice! not bored and I completly understand, I have a hard time with all the numbers on lenses and focal lengths ,I almost wish there was a cute preschool-ish little diddy that would help me remeber those things. Some people understand that stuff so readily and some get real lucky-like me!

  2. TracieL April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Great article. Cannot wait to read part two!

  3. EmuUpAGumTree April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Fantastic blog, great tips and information thats really helped me!

    I just got a medium range canon that I am really happy with, but definitely looking to find out more and learn about all the ‘attachments’ and what they do etc!

    Thanks heaps! 

  4. Rlm_barracuda April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Thanks Leo

  5. Sherri Brown Clarke April 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    GREAT info!!!! I can;t wait for your next post!!!! 
    thank you for taking the time to explain all this…

  6. lowri mcnabb April 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Awesome – looking forward to learning more!

  7. Jeannie Lassey April 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Your so smart Leo! I have an Olympus DSLR and haven’t gotten past the “auto” button…. lol Keep the information comming :)

    • Scottietoo May 26, 2012 at 11:20 am #

      Me too.  I also happen to have an Olympus and don’t know what to do outside of auto.  Leo, I’m a papercrafter and also interested in photography. Please keep your information coming. Thanks.

  8. crystal williams April 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Love the info!  I have a Nikon D3000 and I love it.  My photos to shoot are close ups.  I love taking close ups of the family.  But sometimes my camera won’t take the shot (within 1-3 ft), so I have to back up.  Is there a lens that will work? Or is backing up the only solution?  Anywho, love the info!

  9. Omega Brooks May 11, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Great article!  I have a Nikon D40 & I love it but haven’t been using it to it’s fullest potential.  Your article is very clear & understandable, I can’t wait to pull out this camera more and put down my point & shoot.  I look forward to more of your posts here.