Starting Point Photography is Offering Two Live, Online, On Demand Beginning Photography Classes!

P5180145I’ve had several people ask recently about the live, online classes I offered last year so I thought I’d post some info about them.

The classes are limited to a max of five students each. In most cases, they will be one-on-one. They are done live and on demand via the internet using Google Hangouts. You sign up and tell me when the best time to do the class is – you can even do the class in your pajamas! Don’t worry – you won’t ever be on camera. 🙂

“Learn How To Take Better Photographs!”
Whether it’s the camera on your phone or a point-and-shoot or a DSLR, we’ve got easy-to-grasp tips, tricks and techniques we promise will make the next photograph you take better than the last one.

This is a fun, informative and entertaining 2.5 hour seminar for beginners and novices who want to learn how to take better photographs. Often confusing photographic terms and concepts are turned into plain English so you can start making the most of your photographic opportunities and capture those special moments.

The class will include:
“Photography Secrets Revealed!” – do you know the single most important element of every good photo?
“Creative vs Technical” – Learn how to take advantage of all aspects of photography
“Camera Differences” – what are the pros and cons of a smartphone vs a point and shoot vs a DSLR?

DSC_9712 by ShawnKing

“Learn How to Use that Expensive DSLR!”
Lots of people bought DSLRs but have never learned how to fully utilize all those wonderful buttons on them. So you end up using your expensive gear as if it were a point and shoot.

Let’s change that!

I’ve got easy to grasp tips, tricks and techniques I promise will make the next DSLR shot you take better than the last one. We’ll also talk about the features of a DSLR, how the various functions affect, positively and negatively, your images and how to “see a photo” before you push the shutter button and make changes to your DSLR to create that image.

The class will include:
“Photography Secrets Revealed!” – do you know how to capture the single most important element of every good photo?
“Creative vs Technical” – Learn how to take advantage of all aspects you DSLR camera
“DSLR Differences” – what are the pros and cons between full frame and cropped, between mirrorless and not?

And much more!

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Both classes are run by a professional photographer and a “Professional Explainer” for beginners and novices who want to learn how to take better photographs.

Past participants have said:

“Shawn was a great presenter. He was very informed and entertaining as well.”

“I enjoyed that it wasn’t too technical.”

“Inspired me to start taking more pictures and playing around with my settings…and reading my manual.”

“Friendly and engaging instructor! Very visual!”

Signing up for either class is easy. Individual classes are only $75 each or you can sign up for both (and do them at different times) for only $125. Simply Paypal payment to shawn@StartingPointPhotography.com and then let me know a time that is most convenient for you! If unable to use Paypal, let me know and we can make other arrangements.

The only time requirement is that you set aside approx 2.5 hours to complete each of the courses. Also, your computer needs to be able to run Google Hangouts. We can test it ahead of time to make sure.

If you have any questions about either class, please don’t hesitate to contact me at shawn@StartingPointPhotography.com.

Chandelier_stainedglass

Improving Your Photos Without Buying More Gear

Improving Your Photos Without Buying More Gear:

If you want to take your photos to another level, camera equipment is a natural place to look. It’s a very tangible part of photography; we work with our gear constantly. In fact, new equipment often does help you capture certain photos more easily, or it improves the technical quality of the images you take. However, it’s easy to get swept away in this marketing message and forget that there are other, better ways to improve your photos — techniques that don’t require new equipment to put into practice, and tips that are applicable to every photographer.

I try to drill this into my students. One of the “traps” beginners fall into is thinking, “If I just had a better camera or lens, I’d take better pictures.” That’s true – IF you already know how to take good pictures. Not by accident or luck but by intention and design. It’s like, “I really like driving. I drive an automatic transmission car but if I buy a manual drive Ferrari, I’ll become a better driver!” Not how it works. 🙂

5 Pieces of Photography Gear to Considered for your First Upgrade

As a new photographer and/or maybe a gadget geek, it’s tempting to run to your local camera store and buy one of everything they have. But until you master the tools you already own, buying even more gear is a waste of money and a distraction from becoming a better photographer.

That being said, here are four things (I disagree with the writer’s assertion you “need” Number 4) that you should consider buying as a new photographer:

So you’ve been getting into this photography thing pretty seriously ever since you bought that “good” camera you wanted. It turns out that you really enjoy photography, and you think you’ll be doing it for a while. You want to know what cool camera gear is out there, and you know there’s a lot, but what should you get first?

When you’re just starting your photography journey, it’s intimidating how much gear there is and how much it costs. It’s obvious that some photos are impossible without certain gear, and sometimes it’s not obvious when gear has helped a photo.

I’ve been shooting and helping new photographers to get the most out of their gear for years, so I have a few suggestions for great first investments in photography to suit your varying interests and budget.

5 Pieces of Photography Gear to considered for your first upgrade

What do you think? Any of this gear seem more/less important to you?

Image vs Video

Which is better? A still image or a video?

Well, it’s an impossible question to answer. A lot of it comes down to personal preference. But, in some cases, the difference is stark and obvious.

Many of you may have seen this lovely photo of First Lady Michelle Obama give President George W. Bush a hug at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the weekend:

It’s a lovely photo, full of warmth, love and respect.

Today, a video from that same moment has been posted:

It’s a fascinating look at the differences in stance, emotion, feeling, result. Granted, our assumptions and knowledge of who these people are informs our opinions of the moment (would we feel differently if the two people involved were unknown to us?) but it’s still a very interesting example of the difference that can be had with a video vs a still image.

Welcome!

Welcome and thanks for visiting the site! I assume you’ve come to this page because you’ve heard about me from the great team at Finisterra Travel.

I am working with Finisterra to put on an amazing trip. They’ve arranged an exciting vacation to one of the prettiest, most interesting places in Europe – Portugal! My job is to help you learn how to capture images while on your vacation that you can be proud of, show to friends and family and even print off to create artwork in your own home.

DSC_9712 by ShawnKing

It doesn’t matter what camera you have – I will teach you how to create better, more memorable images regardless of whether you have a camera phone, a point and shoot, a mirrorless or a DSLR. You’ll learn how cameras work, how to see a scene better, and how to set your camera up to capture what you see.

While in Portugal, you’ll learn the basics of:
General travel photography tips and tricks
Specific camera tips and tricks
Street Photography
Landscape photography
Editing
Black and White shooting
Street photography
Sunrise/sunset shooting
Photo Critiques

There will be daily classes followed by hands-on shooting at various beautiful and historic locations in Portugal. And you’ll have plenty of time each day to wander around on your own (or hang out with me!) to see the sights, go shopping, visit museums, or just relax and do your own thing!

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If you are a fan of the Flipboard magazine app, check out the “Starting Point Photography In Portugal!” Flipboard magazine!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. My email address is shawn@StartingPointPhotography.com and I’m happy to answer any questions about the trip you may have.

I hope you can join us – I promise it will be a great trip full of fun and photography and you’ll come home knowing how to create better images on your next trip as well!

Our motto:

Taking pictures is easy.

Learning about photography is hard.

We want to make the latter as easy as the former.

We are Starting Point Photography.

Our mission is to help you

take better photographs with the camera you already have.

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Nikon D3400

In the market for a new or first Nikon? This was just announced:

“The D3400 is a 24.2MP DSLR that’s compact and lightweight and features SnapBridge connectivity to easily and quickly share images.”

Nikon D3400

Pete Souza’s 55 Favourites Photos of POTUS


Pete Souza’s 55 Favourites Photos of POTUS

I love Souza’s photos. Many of them capture a good man doing a very difficult job. I’ve often wondered how much of that impression is because of Souza’s eye vs how much of it is Obama vs how much of it is any human being in the same situation.

Top 10 Lenses Photographers Never Leave Home Without

Top 10 Lenses Photographers Never Leave Home Without:

Whoever said the lens is always more important than the camera was right. To this day, even with all the amazing development of digital sensors, nothing beats good glass. A good lens will make your older camera feel like a new one, but a cheap, plastic lens will turn your shiny new camera into a beat up old hack.

Without further ado, here are ten serious lenses loved by photographers worldwide.

Later this month, I’m headed to the Vancouver Flea Market Camera Show and I’ll be on the lookout for good deals on a couple of these lenses.

Cruise Ships leaving Vancouver harbour, headed to Alaska

Photoshop Versus Lightroom Which is Right for You?

Photoshop Versus Lightroom Which is Right for You?
The obvious question is, as a photographer, which software package do you need? Both titles are excellent and carry their own strengths and weaknesses, so let’s drill down and examine them in a bit more detail to discover which one is right for you!

When it comes to software, this is probably the most commonly asked question. My answer is, while I personally prefer Lightroom, if you know and use Photoshop, then use Photoshop. If you aren’t familiar with Photoshop, Lightroom is the way to go.

6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos

6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos


Part of my move to start printing my photos comes from my desire to create and share something tangible and special in this age of digital noise and the culture of “now” and “more.”This post is written to other photographers who might be considering buying and using a photo printer. I’m printing exclusively with the Canon Pixma Pro 100 and couldn’t be happier with the results. Below are some reasons why you should start printing.

I’m a big fan of printing off some of your photos. Along with the reasons included in this post, there’s just a certain “something” about holding your photos in your hand in a tangible, physical form and a sense of pride to be able to take your own work and hang it on your wall or to give to a friend.

There are all kinds of places to do printing online or even locally. Here in British Columbia, I’ve used London Drugs to very inexpensively have some of my shots printed (I also have an Epson R2000 printer at home). Grab a cheap frame from Walmart and a couple of hooks and you’re good to go. I love when friends come over, see the photos on the wall, ask about them and I can say, with no small measure of pride, “I took that shot.”

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.2
  • Camera: iPhone SE
  • Focal length: 4.15mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/15s

The Nik Collection is now free!

From Google:

Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.

If you run either the Mac or Windows version of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Photoshop Lightroom, grab these plug-ins!

East Van Brewery & Blossom Self-Guided Walking Tour

Walking, beer and photography! Two of my favorite things…. 🙂

I saw this on the Inside Vancouver web site and thought it might be kinda fun and different. According to Google Maps, it looks like about a one hour, 5km walk – but we’ll take longer than that!

There are eight East Van Breweries on the tour – I plan on stopping at at least half of them. Wanna come with me? 🙂

Why Asking What Camera Settings Were Used is Not as Helpful as You Think

“Settings are only a small part of what makes up that image. Lighting conditions, post-processing and the outcome the photographer wants to achieve, are just some of the factors that will dictate what settings the photographer uses. It’s akin to having the correct ingredients for a cake, but not knowing the method behind making it, or the reasons behind that method. Relying on camera settings alone does not tell you anything about the environment the image was taken in, nor does it give you an indication of what the lighting conditions were like.”

Source: Why Asking What Camera Settings Were Used is Not as Helpful as You Think

The article makes the good point that, even if you know exactly what an image’s settings are, there is a lot more to what goes into a great photo. Knowing the settings can help but don’t expect that, just because you know what settings a photographer uses, you can create the same memorable image.

How Peacocks Look In Mid-Flight

The peacock is the Kanye West of birds. After all, they do have over 200 colorful elongated feathers that attract not just their potential partners, but many people’s attention and cameras, too.

Source: How Peacocks Look In Mid-Flight

I love images of “ordinary” things doing stuff we don’t see every day. I’ve seen many peacocks but I’ve never seen one in flight.

Firefall: When a Yosemite Waterfall Looks Like Lava

Firefall: When a Yosemite Waterfall Looks Like Lava

For a short time every February, when conditions are just right, Horsetail Falls in Yosemite gets transformed by a phenomenon known as “firefall.”

This is an amazing photograph made all the more incredible by the fact it doesn’t happen every year. You have to be lucky as well as good to get the shot.

The really funny part is this image – dozens of photographers patiently waiting for the shot:photographers during FirefallBetter get there early!