The Irving Public Library hosts hundreds of programs throughout the year for children, teens and adults. From musical performers to author visits, we have many outstanding guests that bring smiles to faces and knowledge to minds. Therefore, you might have seen a camera or two documenting these moments and sharing them with the public and performers. And for your convenience, we upload all of our images to FLICKR, a photo sharing website used by professionals and amateurs alike.
FLICKR is a free-service that does not require your credentials, login information or your library card. If you are looking for nostalgia, or if you know you’ve been shot, simply visit the Irving Public Library’s FLICKR page or the NTTBF FLICKR account to download the photos of your choice. Our content is sorted continuously, so check back often for new events, photos and video.
Do you also prefer to stay behind the camera? Here are 10 tips and tricks that you may or may not have thought of when trying to capture that perfect shot:
1. The Strap Does Not Go Around Your Neck
Think about it, most cameras weigh the equivalent of a small baby, one that you have to carry for a set number of hours. So why would you put that strain around your neck? The strap goes over your dominant shoulder—similar to a purse or satchel—with the lens facing behind you. Not only will your upper body thank you for it, but keeping the camera in this position prevents your equipment from knocking into any people or objects that may cross your path. Your camera will also be easily accessible, allowing you to quickly lift and shoot. Similar to a game of Quick Draw.
2. Fear of Missing Out
When shooting, it is common for photographers to take hundreds of photos in order to try and snag that one perfect shot. Or perhaps you’re the opposite and take less, only to later go through your images and realize you failed to get what you needed—I didn’t know her eyes were closed when I took it! If you are trying to find that sweet spot between having too many or too little images, it helps to know what you want before you go and position yourself accordingly. It is similar to grocery shopping. If you walk into a store unprepared, you can leave with too many things in your cart or overlook something that was important. If in a group of fellow photographers, or if you’re looking to get the most out of your volunteers, making a list can help. You can spin it as a photo-scavenger hunt, or photography-BINGO complete with incentives.
3. The Camera Really Does Add 10 Pounds
Depending on the lens. When you have a wide angle lens (the short one), or shoot in landscape mode, your camera will naturally create a fish eye effect. This makes objects closer to you appear bloated in the center and flat along the edges—widening the face and plumping the nose. Simultaneously, objects further away will appear smaller. If you are using a telephoto lens (the long one), your image will be slightly compressed, meaning your subjects will appear thinner. If you are wanting to get into portrait or infant photography, an 85mm to 135mm produce images with less distortion, making you appear neither thinner nor plumper in photographs.
4. Why the Differences in Lenses
The longer the lens, the further you can be from your subject. Most amateur photographers will have a shorter lens. Not only is it the default that comes with most purchases, it’s easier to carry and functional when you are up close. Those who shoot events, wildlife, nature and sports will most likely be using a longer lens (telephoto). Although clunky, you gain the advantage of candid shots. These rare moments of pure emotion are easier to capture the less invasive you are.
5. I Want That Glowy-Eyed Thing in My Pictures
If you’ve ever seen photos where people appear to have a circle of light in their eyes, well....that’s because they do have a circle of light in their eyes. Ring lights have grown in popularity, as they are now making their way into the homes of not only photographers but artists and YouTubers who do makeup or tutorials. The ring light was meant to be used directly in front of you—literally blasting your face with enough light to see from space. Okay, not literally. But as popular as they may be, do not discard the traditional light box. Light boxes create soft lighting and smooth edges. They also make that square-rectangle-thingy in the eyes of subjects. If you want to practice with these lights, placement goes a long way. You want a ring-light directly in front of you and a light box at 2 and/or 10 o’clock. If you are shooting objects, use a photo tent and acrylic boards with controllable lighting to achieve the same effects of a light box.
6. Contrast is king
There’s a reason why a picture of a pile of trash in black and white is more interesting than one in full color. Photography is an art form, and like many other mediums, there needs to be darks to bring forth the lights. It is one of the reasons lighting is super important and why the editing process is usually spent removing clutter from backgrounds, darkening the backgrounds or brightening the subject. It makes your photo more readable and your subject the focal point.
7. Rule of Thirds Is Not a Rule
Unless you’re in school and someone specifically asks for it, off-centering the subject or taking photos from unique angles can make for dynamic photos. Changing your perspective can be a difficult thing to comprehend, but sometimes, it helps to personify inanimate objects. To take a photo from the perspective of shoes, a park bench or the height of an animal. Cinematically, many old movies built replicas of cities the size of children’s toys. But putting the camera at the perspective of the objects made one feel as though they were actually watching a movie shot in a life-sized set. Godzilla, Star Wars, Dark Knight and Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom are a few of many.
8. My Phone Takes Blurry Photos
Well…are you using the flash? Not that the flash is a bad thing—I happen to enjoy the show. But if you turn your phone over, you will instantly see the issue. The light used in most devices is a blue, LED light. And guess what, it is right next to the lens. So whenever you snap your photo the blue light is captured onto the film, thereby gifting your subjects with the infamous red eye. Oh, and clean the lens. But that’s obvious, right?
9. But I Want to Shoot at Night
…use a tripod.
10. But I Want to Keep Using my Phone
…alright. Turn your phone on its side and use the volume buttons as your shutter—the shutter is the button that takes the photos. Not only does it make for faster shooting, whenever you move one hand to press that red dot, you are shaking the camera—throwing off the balance of the phone. Turning the phone on its side and using the volume button forces you to use two hands instead of one, thereby minimizing your shaking. And unless you are a top-flight surgeon, everybody shakes.