Tips – Kalebra Kelby
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Tips, Travel

Cropping your way to creativity. Really? Really.

October 12, 2016

This is the second half of my conversation with a friend. Someone new to photography. Someone now using her iPhone to take images that are becoming more interesting and more important to her. Someone trying to figure out how to find her way in her images (compositionally speaking) and tell her story. How fun! How wonderful! However, please keep in mind, if you are already a comfortable photographer this suggestion may not be for you.

Where we left off…

Me: Okay, so I know you’ve had it happen where you’ve been walking around a city on vacation and turned a corner and something about the scene made you want to take a photo, right?

Friend: “Right.”

Me: But when you looked at the image later it just didn’t “feel” the same — not to you and certainly not to anyone you showed it to, right?

Friend: “Well, that’s kind of mean but right — I hope this gets better.”

Me: Hahahaha! (I have the best friends). It’s because you didn’t tell the story in your photo that you felt when you were standing there and you do that by how you compose it.

Friend: “Right, and I’ve already told you that I don’t know how to do that.”

Me: Yes, but you can get better with this easy (no-pressure) exercise.

Friend: “No pressure? I’m in.”

Me: Alright, alright, alright. (I say with my best Matthew McConaughey impression — no, I don’t know why I have one). Anyway…

After you take a picture, take it into an app (or even just with your phone’s editing app) and start cropping the image in different ways and around different elements within the image to figure out: (a) What exactly was it that you found so interesting? And, (b) How might you show it, crop it, compose it, (or tell the story) next time so that others can experience it in the same way you did? It’s free, it’s easy and it’s fun to see what could have been different had you thought differently about how to take the picture.

Remember, you’re new at this so you need to experiment in order to help train your eyes to see differently than they have seen before. Cropping can be a quick and easy way to show yourself what could have been and helps to train your eye for the future. Do this a lot and with practice you’ll start shooting differently and the need for cropping won’t be as great. (Though with a phone you might find you still need to crop from time to time because you don’t have the ability to zoom like other cameras but that’s another post).

I have included some example images below to illustrate what I mean.

img_3988
So you wandered down this street and something struck you, you felt something, saw something and so you took the photo. Now, try cropping it in different ways to figure out what it might have been that moved you. You can crop your own images as many times as you’d like — it’s up to you — it’s play time so have fun!

img_3993
Above: Was it the table and chairs, or the stairs?

img_3991
Above: Was it something low? The cobblestone street? The puddle? The people?

img_3992
Or was it that there was just enough mist about this deserted entrance that it reminded you of the page of a novel and you knew
(with just a little editing) it could be this? Yeah, I think that was it.

img_9282
Anyway, after you’ve started to take notice of how you feel, use this little trick to start to compose differently, and then you can start the fun process of learning some really helpful “rules” like the rule of thirds. But first have some fun because if you do, it makes learning the rules a lot more fun, too.
I promise.

Have fun and have a great day everyone!

Featured, Photography, Tips

You say you don’t “see” like a photographer but you want to — maybe this will help…

September 14, 2016

I’ve wondered how to start this conversation and, thankfully, the statement of a friend sparked one that helped me figure out how to do it —
I like that about friends.

This post is for those of you who have been snapping pics with your phone and realize you’re enjoying it or perhaps just because of all the advancements with their image taking capabilities you’re now curious and want to do more. Whatever the reason, this conversation might help you. Certainly couldn’t hurt. 😉

Friend: “I can’t get pictures like you do with your phone. I’ve tried.”

Me: What do you think is keeping you from doing that?

Friend: “I’m not an artist, like you. I don’t see the way you see things.”

I’ve heard people say this before — a lot. That “seeing” is their problem with photography. Versions of what I’ve heard over the years are: “I don’t know how to see.”
“I’ll never see like this person (or that person).” “I’m not an artist.” And so on…

Me: I think you’re putting the cart before the horse.

Friend: “How is wanting to see putting the cart before the horse? I hate it when you do this.”

Me: Hahahaha! I’m going to let that last thing go and say, “Stop trying to see and pay attention to how you feel. Pay attention to those moments
that tug at you.”

Friend: “This sounds harder than seeing.”

Me: Hahaha! Let me explain. You have a shot of your son and nephew that is awesome and you’re proud of, right?

Friend: “Yes, I love that photo of them! They were so cute trying to stack the sand fast enough — not realizing it was never going to work.”

Me: Well, when you were watching your son and nephew attempting to build that sand castle was it because of the picture you saw or was it first because of how you felt about what you were seeing?

Friend: “I think I see what you mean.”

Me: It’s like I told my son when he was first learning to drive, “Your hands will follow where your eyes are looking.” Similarly your photos will follow what you’re feeling. Just train yourself to pay attention to that and when you feel it, shoot it!

Friend: “Okay, I get it! But how do I frame it up?”

Me: You’re talking compositionally, right?

Friend: “Yes. Once I know what I want to take a picture of, how do I know how to compose it so that it doesn’t just look like a phone shot?”

Me: Actually, I do have a super easy and fun exercise to help that. 🙂

I’ll write about what I told her in my next post but, for now, pay attention to how you feel and give yourself some time to practice that. I hope it helps.

I wish you all the very best.

P.S. This little cafe in Nice, France (where I had an intimate dinner with my husband) made me feel like I was in the pages of a Hemingway novel.
Oh, Hemingway…

Blog, Tips

Will you help me plan my space?

September 9, 2016

Okay, not the space in this photo but this blog space. I’m very thankful that I can see you’re already coming and visiting pages here (the analytics tell me so), but I’d like to create a space that’s also helpful to you on your iPhone photography journey. A place where you might find helpful ideas on your own or where you feel comfortable asking questions. And, you can help me do that by leaving a comment or idea of what you’d like to see or what you think would be helpful to you. I am not a professional instructor or teacher but I’ve been told that I share really well and that’s what I’d like to do with you so, will you help me?

What You might be thinking: “So, you just want me to help you? Why would I do that?”

Me: Because you’re a nice person and you want to do a nice thing and I have faith in you and because if what you would like to see or know is something I can add,
I absolutely will.

You: “Well all that sounds good, I mean, I do like being a nice person and I like that you’re willing to help me in return but what if you can’t
accommodate my request?”

Me: Then you’ve tried to help me and you’re still a nice person.

You: “Are you kidding me?”

Me: Nope. So, are you in? All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell  me what you think I could do, add or change about this blog that would
be helpful to you. Easy peasy.

Oh and thank you. 🙂

Featured, Tips, Travel

A favorite New Zealand pic and a lowlight cloud tip.

October 9, 2015

We just got back from 10 days in Australia and New Zealand and wow—what a trip!! I’ll post more about the trip with more photos (probably Monday) but too wally eyed (wally eyed? that sounds serious) to get it done today. However, I have mustered enough energy to show one of my favorite pics from the trip. This is one I took when we traveled up a mountain by Land Rover (there are companies that will take you for bird’s eye and back woods views that are totally worth doing because you’ll get to all sorts of more remote areas you wouldn’t otherwise get to). I’ll tell you more about that in the days to come. If you were a Lord of the Rings fan—it’s a must do!

Oh, and if you’d like a “shooting clouds in lowlight with a phone” tip: When I have low light clouds (think sunset or atmospheric day) especially if they’re a good distance away, like these, they can get a little grainy. I particularly dislike grainy clouds so I just blur them a little and voila! I blurred these by using the “focus” tool in the Aviary app (but any app you use should have this function). Basically, when I “focused” in on the mountains and water, it blurred the clouds. You can focus in as wide or as narrow as you need to in order to get the clouds the way you want. It’s a quick and easy cloud solution for me and I hope you find it helpful as well.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 🙂

New Zealand

Featured, Tips, Travel

Why Intention Matters

October 6, 2015

Last Summer my husband and I went on an amazing trip that included Prague and Budapest. My parents went as well and my dad (a man with a great eye and who loves to take photographs) forgot his “real” camera at home, so he says to me…

“Well, you use your iPhone and I love your pictures! I’ll just use your mother’s phone on the trip.
Better than nothing right?” (Wink)

Right.

Fast forward to the two of us standing at the front of this beautiful church in Budapest.

Dad: (Whispers) “Okay, I just stood next to you and took the same shot but it doesn’t look like yours. Why?”
Me: (Whispers back) You didn’t take the same shot. You took (a) shot. One that I knew (the second you
picked up the camera) wasn’t going to be what you wanted.
Dad: (Not whispering as much and sounding a tad offended says) “What?! How could you know that?!”
Me: (Suppressing a giggle) Because you were missing two things: intention and a tip.
Dad: (Actually, not whispering at all now, says) “I definitely intended to take a good picture! Now, what’s the tip?!”
Me: (Poking the bear) I know you wanted a good picture Dad but did you believe you could get it with that phone?
Dad: (Now squinting) “Little girl.”
Me: (Uh oh!) Okay, okay! All I’m saying is…I can always tell what kind of a shot someone is about to get with their phone by the way they pick it up.

My dad’s trouble started when he said, “Better than nothing right?”

Why intention matters?

I’ve never watched a single photographer that picked up their camera to take a shot (they really, really, wanted) that didn’t pick it up with a swagger of confidence that their tool…ruled!

Wait. What?! Hahaha! (Moving right along).

So Dad, if you’re going to use your phone to take photographs—own it! Once you intend to take a photo with it, it’s no longer your phone, it’s a camera and, by the way, the absolute best camera you have at your disposal so treat it that way. 

Friends have heard me say that it’s important to examine your heart (always) because the spark of your true intentions will still be burning in the flames of your results. Turns out it’s true for taking photographs as well. 😉

And the tip? 

Some people don’t realize that when you take a regular photo with your iPhone the image doesn’t fill the width of the screen. It only fills about 70% of the screen. So when I want a shot that’s wider (where the image goes all the way to the edge of the screen) I first turn on video, focus on the area I want and then take the photo (when video is engaged, a white button will appear below the record button and that’s what you’ll use for taking stills). Because it’s taken in video mode the shot is wider. This is also a good trick for when you want something closer (without having to use the zoom—please, please, don’t ever use the zoom on an iPhone.) LOL!

Dad: (Smiling, whispers) “Now, was that so hard?”

Hahahaha!! Nope. 😉

Matthias Church, Budapest and  Shot with my trusty iPhone.

Moments, Tips

Fireworks in Florida! Oh, and an iPhone tip.

July 5, 2015

Fireworks

Fourth of July fireworks were a big deal when I was a kid and it’s still that way for me today—just the thought of getting to see them makes me giddy. I’m that person at the fireworks that (I’m sure) drives everyone else crazy by constantly saying things like, “Oh wow, did you see that?! Look at that! You guys—look at this—amazing right?!” Hahaha! I’m surprised my family hasn’t found a clever way to leave me home on the 4th but
I’m ever so grateful they haven’t. 😉

Because a few of you have asked how I did it…

I shot this on my iPhone while in video mode (just start video and then use the white button that appears to the left of the red video button to shoot stills) because in video mode it takes a wider picture than it does in the regular “photo” mode, and when you’re shooting fireworks, you need as wide an area as possible.

I don’t try to set my focus for something like this since it’s a moving target. It’s more focused, if I don’t focus. LOL! Also, by shooting it in video mode it zooms the camera in a bit, so it gets me closer to the fireworks than normal, plus by shooting it vertically (in video mode) it also means I can get the entire firework in the shot.

Afterward, I took it into the Aviary app on my iPhone (it’s free in the App store) and lowered the highlights and shadows (until they looked the way I wanted) and then I added just a pinch (that’s a technical term—feel free to use it) of sharpening. Done.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Featured, Tips, Travel

I’ve been getting some questions, recently, about how to get the shots you want with your phone camera so, I thought I’d re-run this post because it’s the absolute, one thing, that will make a difference—I promise.

May 7, 2015

Last Summer my husband and I went on an amazing trip that included Prague and Budapest. My parents went as well and my dad (a man with a great eye and who loves to take photographs) forgot his “real” camera at home, so he says to me…

“Well, you use your iPhone and I love your pictures! I’ll just use your mother’s phone on the trip.
Better than nothing right?” (Wink)

Right.

Fast forward to the two of us standing at the front of this beautiful church in Budapest.

Dad: (Whispers) “Okay, I just stood next to you and took the same shot but it doesn’t look like yours. Why?”
Me: (Whispers back) You didn’t take the same shot. You took (a) shot. One that I knew (the second you
picked up the camera) wasn’t going to be what you wanted.
Dad: (Not whispering as much and sounding a tad offended says) “What?! How could you know that?!”
Me: (Suppressing a giggle) Because you were missing two things: intention and a tip.
Dad: (Actually, not whispering at all now, says) “I definitely intended to take a good picture! Now, what’s the tip?!”
Me: (Poking the bear) I know you wanted a good picture Dad but did you believe you could get it with that phone?
Dad: (Now squinting) “Little girl.”
Me: (Uh oh!) Okay, okay! All I’m saying is…I can always tell what kind of a shot someone is about to get with their phone by the way they pick it up.

My dad’s trouble started when he said, “Better than nothing right?”

Why intention matters?

I’ve never watched a single photographer that picked up their camera to take a shot (they really, really, wanted) that didn’t pick it up with a swagger of confidence that their tool…ruled!

Wait. What?! Hahaha! (Moving right along).

So Dad, if you’re going to use your phone to take photographs—own it! Once you intend to take a photo with it, it’s no longer your phone, it’s a camera and, by the way, the absolute best camera you have at your disposal so treat it that way. 

Friends have heard me say that it’s important to examine your heart (always) because the spark of your true intentions will still be burning in the flames of your results. Turns out it’s true for taking photographs as well. 😉

And the tip? 

Some people don’t realize that when you take a regular photo with your iPhone the image doesn’t fill the width of the screen. It only fills about 70% of the screen. So when I want a shot that’s wider (where the image goes all the way to the edge of the screen) I first turn on video, focus on the area I want and then take the photo (when video is engaged, a white button will appear below the record button and that’s what you’ll use for taking stills). Because it’s taken in video mode the shot is wider. This is also a good trick for when you want something closer (without having to use the zoom—please, please, don’t ever use the zoom on an iPhone.) LOL!

Dad: (Smiling, whispers) “Now, was that so hard?”

Hahahaha!! Nope. 😉

Matthias Church, Budapest and  Shot with my trusty iPhone.

Tips, Travel

Looking for a really awesome thing to do with your kids this weekend?

January 23, 2015

Children's Museum
If you have a Children’s Museum in your city go to it, no, run to it with your kids!
So much offered for hands on exploration and fun that they’ll never know it’s also a wonderful learning experience!
Just remember to take your kids. Otherwise, you just seem creepy. Hahaha!
Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa, FL

Moments, Tips, Travel

Why intention matters.

January 12, 2015

Matthias ChurchLast Summer my husband and I went on an amazing trip that included Prague and Budapest. My parents went as well and my dad (a man with a great eye and who loves to take photographs) forgot his “real” camera at home, so he says to me…

“Well, you use your iPhone and I love your pictures! I’ll just use your mother’s phone on the trip.
Better than nothing right?” (Wink)

Right.

Fast forward to the two of us standing at the front of this beautiful church in Budapest.

Dad: (Whispers) “Okay, I just stood next to you and took the same shot but it doesn’t look like yours. Why?”
Me: (Whispers back) You didn’t take the same shot. You took (a) shot. One that I knew (the second you
picked up the camera) wasn’t going to be what you wanted.
Dad: (Not whispering as much and sounding a tad offended says) “What?! How could you know that?!”
Me: (Suppressing a giggle) Because you were missing two things: intention and a tip.
Dad: (Actually, not whispering at all now, says) “I definitely intended to take a good picture! Now, what’s the tip?!”
Me: (Poking the bear) I know you wanted a good picture dad but did you believe you could get it with that phone?
Dad: (Now squinting) “Little girl.”
Me: (Uh oh!) Okay, okay! All I’m saying is…I can always tell what kind of a shot someone is about to get with their phone by the way they pick it up.

My dad’s trouble started when he said, “Better than nothing right?”

Why intention matters.

I’ve never watched a single photographer that picked up their camera to take a shot (they really, really, wanted) that didn’t pick it up with a swagger of confidence that their tool…ruled!

Wait. What?! Hahaha! (Moving right along).

So Dad, if you’re going to use your phone to take photographs—own it! Once you intend to take a photo with it, it’s no longer your phone, it’s a camera and, by the way, the absolute best camera you have at your disposal so treat it that way. 

Friends have heard me say that it’s important to examine your heart (always) because the spark of your true intentions will still be burning in the flames of your results. Turns out it’s true for taking photographs as well. 😉

And the tip? 

Some people don’t realize that when you take a regular photo with your iPhone the image doesn’t fill the width of the screen. It only fills about 70% of the screen. So when I want a shot that’s wider (where the image goes all the way to the edge of the screen) I first turn on video, focus on the area I want and then take the photo (when video is engaged, a white button will appear below the record button and that’s what you’ll use for taking stills). Because it’s taken in video mode the shot is wider. This is also a good trick for when you want something closer (without having to use the zoom—please, please, don’t ever use the zoom on an iPhone.) LOL!

Dad: (Smiling, whispers) “Now, was that so hard?”

Hahahaha!! Nope. 😉

Matthias Church, Budapest and  Shot with my trusty iPhone.