Good Camera Advice From Guest Blogger, Paula Leftwich

We are all in for a real treat this week with a guest blog by Paula Leftwich.

Paula is an artist who lives in Marathon, Florida where she creates beautiful works of art like this:


When she’s not at her easel, she’s in the water photographing with her GoPro while she enjoys the undersea world. Once she hits land again, she edits what she captured and uses her artist’s eye to create fantastic images.

I asked her to write about her photography, and here’s what she said…

The large percentage of my photos are shot using an iphone5. I also recently received a GoPro Hero Black edition, which I am just learning to use, primarily for underwater shots. Most of the tips here apply to using both cameras.

First, and most important … HAVE YOUR CAMERA WITH YOU! Seems obvious, and since most people always carry their phone, it’s not that hard to be ready to grab a fleeting image. However, I’ve missed some great opportunities because I didn’t have my camera with me.

Take LOTS of pictures! It’s easy enough to delete digital images, and oftentimes out of 10 shots that SEEM exactly the same when you are shooting them, ONE will be the perfect shot.

Don’t forget video in addition to still shots. Videos capture the moment in action, and it’s easy to go through them frame-by-frame and take screen shots, and then edit the screen shots to make individual photographs.

Whenever possible, get close to your subject. I am amazed what nice pictures the iphone5 will capture merely inches from a subject. DO NOT, however, be tempted to use that little zoom slider on your iPhone screen! I have ALWAYS been disappointed. You will lose resolution , and attempting to crop/enlarge them later will produce even worse results.  

The GoPro also captures excellent close-up images, especially in water when visibility is not great. Of the many accessory mounts available for the GoPro, I have found the extendable pole to be most useful for getting that much closer to skittish fish and animals.

Once you have your pictures and videos, resist the temptation to delete ANY of them until you have looked at them at home on your computer; a shot that looks bad on your small screen might be just “the one” with some cropping and editing. Editing is the fun part! The most important step for making a picture go from “ho-hum” to “Wow, you did THAT with an I-phone?” is the editing. I use a very easy (actually free!) photo editing app from Axiem Systems called simply ” Photo Editor.”  (see the * below for the link.)  I usually start with cropping, then sharpen the image. Adjustments can be made to brighten, increase contrast, warmth, and saturation , as well as adjustable soft-focus. Using the slider, you can instantly see the effects.

This app also has a variety of instant filter applications you can click on to make your photo B&W, sepia, and several other interesting effects. Don’t be afraid to play around with them, you can always click on “revert to original!” 

When I am working with my pictures, I think in terms of making a nice photo, but I also relax and have fun being creative. Sometimes a photo may not be a “technically good” photograph, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become a piece of art and be fun to look at.  

* Photo Editor- by Axiem Systems

More from Paula next week.

Good shooting!

Tagged ,