Sunday Snapshots : Making Time For Snapshots

snapshot
Pronunciation: /ˈsnapʃɒt/
noun
1 an informal photograph taken quickly, typically with a small handheld camera (source Oxford Dictionary)

Every time after sharing one of my photography tutorials, I receive comments conveying the same feeling. Wether posted in the comments section or sent privately to me the message is the same, “But I just don’t have the time” or “I’m too busy to bother with that” or my least favorite one is when people sound frustrated to the point of almost feeling defeated.

My answer  is always the same, make time. If you want to be serious about improving your photography make the time to practice. I am not saying that one has to reach the heights of professional photographers. No, everyone has to set goals for themselves as far as their photography. Like anything one chooses to do we can only improve with constant practice.

The above definition of the word snapshot says it all “taken quickly”.  These peach photos you see here took 5 minutes to shoot. That is from the set up of a simple arts and crafts paper for the background, to the styling and snapping of the shots. In those five minutes I created 3 different compositions. Five minutes.

peach; flat peach; south american; fruit; food; photos; photography; Spicie Foodie, how to improve your photographyShot with sunlight in the shade, nothing special but the green from the parsley gave the image a little something extra.

peach; flat peach; south american; fruit; food; photos; photography; Spicie Foodie, how to improve your photographySame set up but decided to stack the peaches. Much better than the first shot.

peach; flat peach; south american; fruit; food; photos; photography; Spicie Foodie, how to improve your photographyThis one is my favorite because you are drawn to the subject rather than the extra empty space.

Because of those five minutes spent earlier on in my learning I have been able to save myself time as I’ve improved. Those five minutes helped me learn that stacking items makes for a more interesting photograph. Those five minutes also helped me learn that adding a little extra color to a setup can make an image even more interesting. Because I spent those five minutes I was able to create the following chocolate photos.

chocolate; dark; Ecuadorian; dark chocolate; bitter; Sunday Snapshots; Spicie Foodie,how to improve your photographyThis session I remembered the peaches looked good stacked. I took it a step further and used a white ribbon to make a bow. Shot with sunlight and in the shade. But a little too dark, the shutter speed needed adjusting.

chocolate; dark; Ecuadorian; dark chocolate; bitter; Sunday Snapshots; Spicie Foodie,how to improve your photographyRecalling the extra color for the parsley, I thought it would be fun to add a mini strawberry and an extra piece of chocolate. Shot with sunlight and in the shade. Here I also decided to play with the color balance in Photoshop. Learning adjustments in post processing is just as much a part of shooting photos.

chocolate; dark; Ecuadorian; dark chocolate; bitter; Sunday Snapshots; Spicie Foodie,how to improve your photographyThe extra chocolate piece was too much for me so I removed it. Shot with sunlight and in the shade. After adjusting the shutter speed I decided this was the best tone and exposure. With a little bit of extra Levels adjustments in Photoshop and sharpening, this is what the actual scene most closely resembled.

 

I admit about 90% of my photography is not “taken quickly” I like to spend a good amount learning and practicing when I have the time. Other days when I don’t have as much time or dinner needs to be served quickly, my photos are “taken quickly”.  But by taking as little as five, ten or even fifteen minutes now and then I have learned so much. The most important thing to improving your photography is making the time to practice. Find inspiration around you, keep things simple and as you learn more make your setups more complicated.

For me all of this has resulted in learning a new skill and in selling my images to stock agencies. I have many more goals to reach and along the way to them I’ll keep learning. My message to you is don’t feel frustrated or even worse defeated. Keep learning because in photography there is always something new and interesting to learn. Make goals for yourself ,work hard and have fun. I promise you will get there.

Apple,green apple,Sunday Snapshots; Spicie Foodie,how to improve your photographyThis is the latest photo I shot and learned something new. I like to keep it simple so I worked hard to get the light exactly as I wanted it for the final shot. For me it is important to get it right in the camera so minimal time has to be spent editing the images. The photo was only adjusted a little to darken it up a bit (with Levels) and of course sharpening was added to make the water droplets pop.

 

Happy Sunday everyone!! Thank you for reading, I will not be posting a recipe tomorrow so see you at the YBR roundup Wednesday.

 

P.S.
February’s YBR deadline is tomorrow, if you would like to join us make sure you send those emails. Previous Photography Tutorials are here and previous Sunday Snapshots here.

Comments

  1. says

    Exquisite I love the idea of stacking and agree that does draw you to the subjects and then the dark photo is just stunning, awesome work, I am no photographer this makes me want to take lessons so bad.. I have books on top of books but still can’t seem to grasp the beauty as you do of a subject… lovely… nice job Nancy!

  2. says

    All excellent points! It’s so true that just taking an extra few minutes whenever you can will ultimately improve your photos and speed things up in the future. That last shot of the apple is spectacular!

  3. says

    I agree, more I spend on photography, I learn something new. I only wish that I have “natural light” when kids go sleep at night. It’s harder to focus on photography when kids are awake. Maybe it means I should practice using studio light… :-) I enjoy your tips and advices and try to improve along with your help!

  4. says

    Everything you wrote is oh so true! Practice is key! Doing some further reading – this post here for example haha – and a bit of research is crucial as well I think.

    My approach of taking the pictures for my blog has changed a lot since I have started not too long ago and even if nobody else does – I see a bit of improvement.
    I almost exclusively shoot using a tripod and the timer (due to my camera and the lightning conditions in winter). But maybe I should start with a five minutes snapshot session before the ‘actual’ shooting – even if it’s only for me. :)

    Great insights!

    Tobias

    • says

      Hi Tobias,

      Yes, further reading can also be quite helpful. I’ve always picked up a few tips by doing that. I think that as we learn more our approach changes and many times it is for the better. Good for you for using a tripod and timer, that will prevent blurry images in low light conditions. I also do that now and then when needed. Thanks!

  5. says

    I think photography is a passion and without that one cannot really make pictures! Love all your series on photography and in this one i love that green apple photo. The mood you set is awsm.

  6. says

    I totally agree with you – if you want to take better photos take time. I remember one afternoon swearing up a storm trying to take a good photo of something I made. It took me over 2 hours to get a shot I was happy with, but I learned a lot in the process!

  7. says

    Your picture of the apple is fabulous. So many great tips here, too. I went through a phase of being extremely frustrated with this aspect of blogging but learned to embrace the challenge. Now I am having so much fun learning. I still have a long way to go but it sure is so much better when you enjoy what you do. You are absolutely right–putting time in is key. :)

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