The Must List: The House of Smiths

by Chris on April 23, 2012

Happy Monday and Happy “This is such an awesome guest post” day! Shelley from House of Smiths has such a beautiful blog, and her photography is spot on. Every post she writes is like a breath of cheery, fresh air, so I HAD to ask her to write about some photography tips. Let me tell ya—they. are. good. Sit back and take notes!

House of Smiths

Hey JAG fans! I’m excited to be sharing 3 of my must-know photography tips with you today! I swear in the past 6 months Pinterest and other similar sites have really given bloggers a run for their money. Don’t get me wrong, there are STILL those blogs (like this one, of course) that you visit every day and soak in each word… but for the most part, the majority of our traffic lately comes from readers that just want to brows the ‘pretty pictures’, until they see something that interests them. So, I’m here to share three simple things with you that will hopefully help take YOUR photos, to the next level…whether you’re a blogger or not :)

Natural Lighting and a Reflector:

I know we hear it all the time, but natural light is the BEST, least inexpensive tool that you can use when trying to accomplish a beautiful photo.

Keep in mind, when you’re working with natural light, shoot WITH the light and not against it. If you shoot directly into natural light, your subject/project/room will appear dark. If you can turn yourself around, so that your shot is lined up with indirect natural light ON your subject, then you’ll achieve a much better photo in the end.
Sometimes natural light isn’t always exactly where you need it, and if that’s the case, you can purchase a reflector for about $15 – $30.
A reflector will help to shine that extra bit of light onto your subject. As you can see below, even in the second picture (using just the reflector and my camera in automatic mode) the photo looks a lot brighter!
When you’re attempting to photograph anything from a child, to a small project or an entire room, remember: OPEN THE WINDOWS, let the light shine in, and take advantage of those picture perfect rays!Tabletop and Standing Tripods:

These two, fairly inexpensive pieces of equipment are absolutely necessary for me, when shooting product, video or the final, polished photo of a large project.

A standing tripod allows you to capture a clear, balanced, centered photo. I usually only pull mine out at the end of a tutorial/project, for the final photo, or when my lighting is tricky and I need a really stable surface for my camera.

A tabletop tripod is great when trying to accomplish a more abstract, or closeup photo of something. It’s a lot more convenient than a large standing tripod, and can easily move around wherever you need it.

50mm Camera Lens:
For only about $100 you can purchase a 50mm lens for your SLR camera. This lens has no zoom capability, but is perfect for all types of daily photographing situations. (You can read more about different lenses and SLR camera body styles in my blog post here) It works especially well for portraiture photography and shots that need to capture a lot of detail, as well as shooting indoors, where natural light tends to be low.
This is also a really great lens to use when you first start learning about how to shoot in a manual mode, verses your cameras automatic settings.
I honestly feel that blog posts are SO much more enjoyable to read when they have beautiful, well photographed pictures to go along with them. Even if you can’t afford an SLR camera right away, you can still implement some of these other tips and tricks in your photography to accomplish great photos for your posts EVERY time!


Rosie@Dogs and Grandkids April 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

I have that 50mm lens and absolutely love it. I got mine on for about $100 and it is my go to lens now.

Heather April 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Everyday Ms. Smith is getting smaller and smaller!! Awesome!

kristin April 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I love this post, so many great tips, thank you!

Elaine April 24, 2012 at 2:50 am


Are you coming back to your blog soon?

Kim @ Sand & Sisal April 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Great tips Shelley! Those are two of the items I really need ( the lens & the reflector)! I know they will greatly help my photos. ;)

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