4 Ways to Snap a Photo with Your iPhone Camera

March 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

There are actually four different ways to snap a photo with the iPhone camera.  With so many iPhone users, I thought you might find a review of these tips useful. Each solution is different.  By using one of these four methods, you capture the perfect image.

The most obvious and most commonly used technique is to tap the shutter release button on the iPhone is directly in the Camera app. This large, white button always appears in the camera preview next to the physical home button. Taking a photo at the right moment is accomplished by touching the button on the screen.

Often this can be a cumbersome exercise depending on how you are holding the iPhone. Cold or dry hands might not trigger the shutter release, risking a missed photo. When wearing gloves forget about it, the virtual shutter release button won't respond.

My preferred alternative is to activate the shutter by pressing either of the physical volume up (+) and volume down (-) buttons. Simply open the Camera app and snap photos every time one of these two buttons are pressed. I like to hold the iPhone horizontally like a point and shoot camera with the volume buttons oriented up for easy access.

The third way of releasing the shutter on the iPhone is available when your EarPods are plugged into the device. The volume up and down buttons built into the microphone also release the shutter. This means that any compatible headphone with volume controls can be used as a remote shutter release on the iPhone. Shooting pictures with the EarPod release means the iPhone camera will remain stable, avoiding any vibration or movement from pressing buttons on the device.

Finally, a camera timer can be set on the iPhone. While this feature is not available in the stock Camera app in iOS 7, there are free third-party apps that serve this function. One example, Self Timer Camera - TimerCamera is free on iTunes. Simply open the app, choose the length of time, and tap start.

When the allotted time elapses, the iPhone will snap the picture. The self-timer is a great way to assemble a group of people for a photo, including the photographer!  It’s a great tool for “selfies”, too!

Until next time, keep shooting!

What is White Balance?

March 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

White Balance it can have a big impact upon the shots you take.  Still, many digital camera owners don’t understand or use it.  Here is a quick introduction to I hope you find helpful.

You  adjust white balance is to get the colors in your images as accurate as possible.

Why would you need to get the color right in your shots?

Perhaps you have noticed when examining your photos that at times images can come out with an orange, blue or yellow look to them – despite the fact that to the naked eye the scene looked quite normal. The reason is that different sources of light have a different ‘color’ (or temperature) to them. Fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast to photos whereas tungsten (incandescent/bulbs) lights add a yellowish tinge to photos.

The range in different temperatures of light varies from the very cool light of blue sky through to the very warm light of a candle.  We don’t generally notice this difference in temperature because our eyes adjust automatically for it. So unless the temperature of the light is very extreme a white sheet of paper will generally look white to us. However a digital camera doesn’t have the smarts to make these adjustments automatically and sometimes will need us to tell it how to treat different light.

So for cooler (blue or green) light you’ll tell the camera to warm things up and in warm light you’ll tell it to cool down by adjusting white balance.

Different digital cameras have different ways of adjusting white balance so ultimately you’ll need to get out your camera’s manual out to work out the specifics of how to make changes. Alternatively, many digital cameras have presets to help you make these adjustments.

Preset White Balance Settings

Here are some of the basic White Balance settings you’ll find on most digital cameras:

  • Auto – this is where the camera makes a best guess on a shot by shot basis. You’ll find it works in many situations but it’s worth venturing out of it for trickier lighting.
  • Tungsten – this mode is usually symbolized with a little bulb and is for shooting indoors, especially under tungsten (incandescent) lighting (such as bulb lighting). It generally cools down the colors in photos.
  • Fluorescent – this compensates for the ‘cool’ light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.
  • Daylight/Sunny – not all cameras have this setting because it sets things as fairly ‘normal’ white balance settings.
  • Cloudy – this setting generally warms things up a touch more than ‘daylight’ mode.
  • Flash – the flash of a camera can be quite a cool light so in Flash White Balance mode you’ll find it warms up your shots a touch.
  • Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little.

Manual White Balance Adjustments

In most cases you can get a pretty accurate result using the above preset white balance modes – but some digital cameras (most DSLRs and higher end point and shoots) allow for manual white balance adjustments also.  The way this is used varies a little between models but in essence what you do is to tell your camera what white looks like in a shot so that it has something as a reference point for deciding how other colors should look. You can do this by buying yourself a white (or grey) card which is specifically designed for this task – or you can find some other appropriately colored object around you to do the job.

This manual adjustment is not difficult to do once you find where to do it in the menu on your camera and it’s well worth learning how to do it.

Let me know how these tips work for you.  Until next time, keep shooting!

4 Quick Tips for Great Family Photos This Holiday Season

March 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

With the holiday season just around the corner, terrific photo opportunities will abound!   Whether you use a Smartphone or DSLR, here are four simple techniques you can use to make your Holiday photos stand out.

#1 Get down to eye level with the kids

We're all tempted visit with the adults and catch up with our friends at holiday gatherings, but some of the most cherished photos in future years will be ones of the kids. It’s fun to see them grow and change over time, and when browsing photo collections people often linger on photos of children because of the memories they evoke.

When you have your camera out, try to remember to get on eye level with the little ones!  Even though it's difficult to squat down or sit on the floor with a three-year-old, the great shot you get will be well worth the effort!  It’s tempting to shoot down at kids from your eye level, but this often results in unflattering pictures that seem cold and distant. Get at the same level as the kids for a much more interesting view of their world.  Your photos will be far more personal and memorable.

#2 Adjust the ISO instead of using the flash
When your camera is in Automatic mode, you might notice the flash constantly going off.  This can result in washed-out colors and unnatural shadows across people’s faces.  But if you disable the flash, your photos will often come out blurry or out of focus.  To fix this, you set your camera to Program mode instead of Auto. This will give you more direct control over the ISO setting and get better shots in low-light conditions (like indoor holiday parties) without using the flash.  The higher your ISO, the less light your camera needs in order to take a photo. This is nice if you want to avoid blinding people with your flash.  (Make sure to practice beforehand so you are comfortable setting the ISO and know the limits of your camera.)  If used carefully, adjusting the ISO instead of using the flash can result in much better holiday photos without blinding your guests or having to make with red-eye corrections later on.

#3 Shoot moments, not poses
It might be tempting to run around with your camera at holiday parties barking out orders like “Smile,” “Look here!” and “Say Cheese!”   But a better option is to be a little more discreet and attempt to shoot moments instead of poses. Capturing the essence of what people are doing – talking, laughing, opening presents, sharing a drink – often makes for much more interesting photos.  There is certainly nothing wrong with posed photos but these often lack context aside from the clothes people have on.  What else was happening? Who else was present?  What sort of activities were people doing?  By shooting pictures of people just being themselves you will capture memories that will strike a chord years in the future.

#4 Know when to put your camera down
This might sound counter-intuitive for the subject on how to get better holiday photos, but as the saying goes, "less is often more." There's a time to shoot pictures and a time to just be with friends and family. Rather than 100 photos of your family opening presents, just take a handful and use the rest of your time to simply be with your loved ones and enjoy your time together.  Try to be intentional when taking fewer photos, and the result will be more "keepers" that you'll want to return to in the future.

I hope you enjoy these tips. Until next time, keep shooting!


Quick Tips for Halloween Photos

March 19, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it some quick tips for your Halloween photos may be helpful.

Halloween photo ops abound; from jack-o-lanterns to children (and even adults) in costume and more. It's a time rich in color, emotion and lots of interesting subjects.

Here are a few quick tips for great Halloween photos.

Identify Your Subject(s)
Before you click the shutter ask yourself "what's the focal point (or subject) of this shot?"  All good images must have a focal point, that special something that holds the viewer's attention.  Be sure you've identified it.

Rule of Thirds

Enhance your composition with good placement of your subjects in the shot.  Here's the basic principle behind the Rule of Thirds.   Imagine segmenting your image into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have a Tic-Tac-Toe grid. At the intersection of the grid lines you find four important parts of the image.  Try to place your subject at one of more of these points as you frame your image.

Fill Your Frame

Halloween is a dramatic time.  Add to interest to your shots by getting in nice and close.  This technique is especially effective when taking pictures of people because facial features tend to fade when you back away.  Whether its people or objects – getting in nice and tight will usually add punch to your shots.

Give Subjects Space to Look into
When photographing people, use the space around their faces effectively by giving more room on the side of their face that they are looking into.  If the person you are photographing is looking in one direction, place them on the opposite side of the frame.

Your Holiday Portraits
Portraits make a great Holiday gift or greeting.  Click now to schedule your family’s Holiday photo session.

I hope you enjoy these tips. Until next time, keep shooting!

3 Tips for Great Portraits

March 19, 2015  •  1 Comment


Welcome to another great Fall season in Lakeway, Texas.

You are receiving this email because you registered with Hey PAPArazzi Photography to view photos of Lakeway and Lake Travis residents and activities.  Thank you for your past interest and your continuing support.

Many have asked for ideas and recommendations related to photography.  I’m happy to share my photography tips with you and hope you find them helpful.

Tips For Great Portraits

I love to photograph people and create beautiful individual and family portraits. Many of us know people who don't like having their picture taken.  It seems a few may even prefer to visit the dentist rather than "Say cheese..."

My primary goal is to create portraits where everyone looks great!  (An example is the portrait of the beautiful woman to the right.)  Secondly, I strive to make the experience enjoyable and have fun along the way.

Here are three tips I suggest when shooting portraits:

  • try to keep the eyes in sharp focus
  • find soft, complementary lighting (natural light from a North-facing window is good)
  • and avoid distracting background elements.

Can you spot how these 3 tips are used to improve these other portrait shots?  http://www.heypaparazzi.com/p861166881

Plan Now For Holiday Greeting & Gifts

Photos make great Holiday greetings and gifts.  Plan now and call (512) 919-0663 to schedule your family’s Holiday photo session.  
I hope these tips are helpful.  Until next time, Keep Shooting!

Bill Hawkins


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