Molly Kennedy, whose business specializes in portraits and lifestyle shots, is leading a workshop all about digital SLR photography at the Museum on November 16. Brooks Blogger Erin Williams posed a series of different photography situations to her, and got great responses as to why everyone from the new dad to the travel ‘round the world retiree would benefit from her teachings.
There is a lot going on in there.....
Olympus E-30 DSLR Camera with Zuiko Digital ED 14-54mm F2.8-3.5 II. Cut model at the -30 Fair in Tokyo, December 2008, Author: Hanabi123
Congratulations! You’ve just bought your first Digital SLR Camera. It will be perfect for capturing those ideal moments - your sister’s graduation from high school, your nephew’s first birthday, your best friend’s first live concert performance in the park. But wait - you know there’s more than one setting than ‘Auto,’ right? Your camera has the power to do more with the image in front of it than you ever imagined - and that’s before you insert it into Photoshop. Molly Kennedy, photographer and owner of Good Golly Photography, is here to show you how. “A lot of people make the big leap to the digital SLR, and then keep it on Auto the whole time,” she says. “What I’m going to be doing is showing you how your camera works, how to use it and how to get the best pictures out of what you have.”
First of all, why should we bother to take our cameras off of the Auto setting? Doesn’t that take care of everything we need in a photo?
Your camera can only do so much, and when it’s on Auto, it doesn’t necessarily know what the best setting is. It’s a very smart machine, but it can...be so much greater. The Auto settings are going to let you get by with some pretty decent pictures, but unless you really know how to use your camera you’re not going to know how to get all those creative effects. People always ask me, ‘How do you get those little round lights in the back of your pictures?’ And it’s called Bokeh. If you keep your camera on Auto you’re not going to get the bokeh. Everything is going to be in focus, everything is going to be sharp, it’s not going to naturally just give you that look. I teach you how to achieve those types of looks by taking over the controls and not just letting your camera decide what the best settings are.
An out-of-focus Christmas tree demonstrating bokeh, 10 February 2012, Rushilf
Okay, then. Let’s say I’m a new dad whose baby is due in three weeks, and I’ve just bought this expensive camera to capture EVERY little thing my kid does. Why should I bother to take your class?
I’m going to help you learn how to photograph your kid, because kids are very quick. They move a lot, and I also will help you come up with great moments to capture, and give you some ideas of those moments that you do want to capture. A lot of times...people almost try to pose too much of what’s going on instead of just capturing life as it happens and capturing those little personalities. That’s my big thing - I love capturing people the way that they are. In this workshop, I give you some tips and tricks on how to really capture their little personalities and how to almost do that lifestyle type of photography, instead of just the posed ‘everyone is standing in front of that pretty tree, and let’s get our family picture.’ We’re diving in and capturing those little personalities and those little moments with your family.”
Let’s go a little further into the future - my kids are gone, I’ve just retired, and have decided to take a trip around the world. I’ve just bought a new camera to capture everything from the Himalayan mountains to the Great Barrier Reef. Why should I bother to sit through a photography class?
This is actually a perfect scenario because my parents just got back from an Alaskan cruise, and they only wanted to take their point and shoot. I convinced [my mom] to do it, and gave her some quick lessons on how to handle different settings. Her digital SLR was able to capture so much more than what the other little point-and-shoots were. There were actually all these whales going all through the water. She was able to get this big panoramic shot because she was using her digital SLR. There was a low-light situation at one point on the trip, and she knew ‘Oh, I know how to change this so that it will show up right without it being this blinding flash in someone’s face.’
Another thing that I talk about in my workshop is learning to look at things in a different way. Instead of just doing those typical postcard-type images, starting to look for little different details that made your trip special. I go into all of that in the workshop about how to really capture your memories as opposed to the pictures that you would get on a postcard stand.
Here’s another one - I’ve been working all summer creating hats, scarves, mittens, you name it - to launch as a small business. I want to set up a blog and ordering website, and want my customers to see exactly what they will be ordering. What can your class teach me that I can’t learn from a lot of trial and error?
I have a lot of people who contact me and they say... ‘I have food a blog’ - and I look at these pictures that all these other people do, and everything looks so great, and then I take pictures of mine and they just look horrible.’ When I talk about lighting, I’ll give examples for people who want portraits, I’ll give examples for people who are doing landscapes, and at the same time I’ll say ‘Now for those of you who are wanting to do pictures of your products or pictures for your blog - this is what type of lighting you need to look for.’ I go into the different types of lenses that they would need, and I also talk about looking at things from a different angle as opposed to the obvious straight-on. You just can’t beat the images from a digital SLR compared to a point -and -shoot.
Okay, last one- I’m a self-taught photographer. I do some occasional shooting on the weekends of random events around town, ask my friends to pose for pictures, etc., but I want to step it up and take my images to the next level. What can you teach me that I might have missed along the way?
You definitely need to know what you’re doing. Photography has become a very saturated market. There are a lot of photographers popping up everywhere, and you have to know the technical aspects of it. You need to know how to approach different scenarios, and I talk about that - different lighting situations and how to photograph groups of people, and the proper settings to make sure that everyone is in focus. Not just that, but composition - how they should be lined up together, but also composition within your lens.
Photography is one of those [professions] where more and more people are getting in to it without actually knowing what they’re doing before they start working. Hopefully if they’re wanting to get into it and they take my class, I can guarantee that they will know what they’re doing before they get started.
Workshop: Good Golly Photography. November 16th, 2013
10:00am - 1:00pm
$65 / $50 for Brooks members: Buy Tickets
Reservations required - call 901.544.6246 for more info.