Thursday, 11 June 2015

6 simple tips for better photos

I have never taken any photos in my life. That is, before I started blogging. Given my pathetic state of almost non-existent photography skill, one of the things on my agenda was to attend a basic photography course. However, I could never find time to get round to doing it (like the many other hope to do things on my KIV list).

Finally, the opportunity came knocking on my door when Canon Imaging Academy invited me to their bespoke Fast Track workshop held at MBS. I took #1 along as she has an interest in photography. For me? I was there for the 4-course lunch at HY California, and to do something fun with my 16-year old. (not easy these days to find cool things which teens are keen to attend!)

While the rest of them got acquainted with rudimentary knowledge of the technicalities of their cameras such as ISO, apertures, shutter speed, all of which was Greek to me, I was delighted that I still managed to pick up several simple yet effective general tips which I can put into practice even while using my phone to take pictures. Here's some of what I learnt.

1. Tell a story

I never really thought about why I took photos. Well, it was definitely to keep as memories. And now as a blogger, I have to include some photos in my posts because who wants to read a whole text without any pictures to break up the monotony, right? However, to discover that a photo is used to tell a story changed my perspective instantly on what shot I wanted to capture, and what I was trying to convey. Because as they say, a picture paints a thousand words.
#1 in action
2. Patience

Being a novice photographer, I will take many shots so that hopefully 1 or 2 will turn out nice. The instructor Alvin shared with us that it takes patience to wait for the right moment, the right expression, the right lighting even, and to be ready with your camera to snap that 1 excellent shot.

3. Remove distractions

As much as possible, try to subtract distractions in the photo. While on the Helix bridge, I simply took photos with other people walking by. Nugene, the instructor, suggested I wait till there was a break and to take the photo with no other subjects in it. It makes the photo more focused, and the viewer would not have to guess what I am trying to say.
Helix bridge adjoining MBS
4. Food photography

I learnt lots of useful tips on taking food shots. I asked Nugene what to do when the food presented doesn't look so appealing? For example, in the beef dish below, it was 2 square pieces served side to side. He suggested we turned it around and focus on the first one and use the other one as background. Looks so much better!
Panfried beef on mash
Another question I had was what if the whole dish looks rather dull (as was the chicken dish). He suggested zooming in and focusing on a specific ingredient or colour.
Grilled chicken
5. Jump shots

People these days seem to like taking jump shots. I still haven't figured out why. Nugene taught us how to capture them jumping all at the same time without having to jump so many times that they get tired and it shows in their expressions. He said that we should give the cue to jump, but only click when we see them lifting off, not when we say 'jump'. Haha. Worked!
Photo credit: Canon Imaging Academy
6. Find your own style

Photography is subjective. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. Some like the rule of 3s, some like the Bokeh (blur background) effect, some like it over-exposed while others like it under-exposed. He encouraged us to experiment with our cameras and to keep on practicing.


Nugene left us with the sage advice that we should not be so intent on capturing it all on camera without pausing to enjoy the moment. That is so, so, true. Especially on holidays, we are busy snapping the beautiful scenery, and when we get back, we can't quite recall the surreal experience of being there.

#1 and I enjoyed ourselves immensely at this very unique photography course. We gained new techniques and tricks, had ample opportunity for hands-on practice with the very approachable instructors and learnt tips on food photography while sharing a delectable meal. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

These tips are just scratching the surface of what we learnt that day. Stay tuned for the follow-up post where I will showcase #1's photographs taken at this class. I was blown away. I think I've found #1's hidden talent.

Here are some upcoming sessions Canon will be holding in June. The Zoo outing sounds really good and is not too expensive, whereby you will get hands-on tips in taking photos of your child. (note: not limited to Canon users)

Family Photo Walk at Singapore Zoo

Date: 18 June 2015, Thursday
Time: 2 - 5pm
Fee: $38/pax, inclusive of 1 adult + 1 child below 15 years old (excludes Zoo entrance fee)

Compact Camera Outing

Date: 11 or 12 June 2015
Time: 2 - 4pm
Venue: Around Vivacity
Fee: $28/pax

Fast Track Workshop

Date: 27 June 2015
Time: 10am - 1pm
Fee: $88 (inclusive of 4-course lunch)

We made friends with the other bloggers and here's a look at their posts of the event:

Claudia of The Loving Mum

Soon Koon of Lemon Film

Phoebe of BPDG Travels

Estella of So Oddly Dreamlike

Serene of xavvy-licious


Disclaimer: We were sponsored the Fast Track program. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

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