I curled up on the couch this weekend with a can of Dr.Pepper and a copy of How to Photograph Absolutely Everything, a great new book I picked up at the library on a whim. It was my plan to read through some of the basics, play around with my camera, and see if I could improve my technique a bit.
It really is a fabulous book, short on wordy descriptions and heavy on the illustrative photographs. I’m thinking I may need a copy for my personal collection, as it looks to be a fantastic reference. I flipped through the first few sections, on a quest to learn how to take beautiful, realistic shots, and I picked up all kinds of helpful information.
So tell me, then, how is it that most of the images I took that afternoon looked like this??
Let’s just say that in the course of reading about candid portraits, I found something I needed to look up in my camera’s manual. I’ve had my camera for a year, but have never actually looked in the manual for anything aside from, embarassingly enough, how to turn the darn thing on. So, I started reading about some of the advanced features of the camera and discovered “color swap mode.”
This could be the least realistic thing in the world, and completely counter to what I was trying to accomplish with my photography skills when I first sat down with the book, but honestly, realism just isn’t this fun!
For most of these pictures, I focused on our skin, and chose that as the color to be replaced. And then, I looked around the room and found any number of brightly-colored objects to focus on as the replacement color – a pale aqua pillow, Aidan’s neon green shirt, a hot pink ball, a red pillowcase – you get the idea.
We took so many pictures this way, I drained my batteries and filled up my memory card. I still have not learned the best way to take a candid portrait, but I can turn my children into aliens like nobody’s business. Now you tell me, which is the more important skill?