I recently wrote a post about how I'm learning to take insanely great pictures. This is the first follow-up community post on that topic, with more to come as I learn the ropes.
First things first: I'm already taking better pictures than I ever have before. So even with just a bit of motivation, the right camera, and some patience, you can definitely take pictures that are orders of magnitude better than before.
I'm not yet taking world-class pictures -- I know that will take years of practice -- but as an example, here are a few of the pictures I took this past weekend at a friend's wedding:
Here's my setup so far, as well as tips on what I've learned:
2) After I've shot a couple hundred shots, I take the SD card out of the camera and pop it into my laptop, and I import the pictures into Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is the same software most professional photographers use for cataloging their pictures. It can be a bit daunting, so you have to decide if you want to commit to learning it. But I'd say that taking great photos is equal parts photographer skill + the right camera + post-processing in an environment like Lightroom. Or to put it another way, if you're not importing your photos into Lightroom and tweaking them, you won't get the kinds of photos you see above. Also, I shoot in the RAW file format vs. JPG, which gives me the ability to tweak the photos much more in Lightroom (but also produces much larger image sizes). If you want me to write a more in-depth post about how I use Lightroom, please let me know in the comments below.
3) I created an account on SmugMug to showcase the photos I want to export from Lightroom. Lightroom integrates with SmugMug directly from the app and will sync changes to your albums that you make to photos in Lightroom.
4) Sometimes, I take a 5 shot burst of varying exposures for importing into Photomatix Pro. This produces the deep HDR photos, like of this desert landscape in my SmugMug Landscapes album.
I still have to get through the entire online manual for the camera; I have a lot to learn about aperture, shutter speeds, framing the shot and lots more. I also ordered two faster SD cards to test (to write pictures to the camera faster, and without a delay); I'll write a post up with the results of that test next week.
Lastly, here's a little pro tip for the Lumix GX1: The lens cover is small and easy to lose. So I did a little ghetto velcro work to secure the lens cap when I'm using the camera:
photonatrix is definitely the best HDR program I have found. I'm personally not crazy about Lightroom/SmugMug but happy to talk more about that in person.
Let's do that Photoshoot w/your family soon (alterior motive alert: I get to hold her again!)
Will write more about LR & SmugMug soon for all to see...
Lisa, I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to get your comments about LR + SmugMug over here: http://lifewetravel.com/hacking-smugmug-adobe-lightroom -- and especially to hear on that thread about whatever workflow you use.
Looking forward to reading more about your experience with this camera. I've got the same one and have already been taking better photos. I'm still not 100% sold on it though, coming from a Canon background the UI of the Lumix is bit intimidating. I'd still like to toy around with the Sony NEX lines to see how their UI's feel.
I've been using the Kodak Zi8 camera for several years now, and it's been a workhorse of my ability to capture content. I originally reviewed the Zi6, and then reviewed the Zi8 more recently on this blog, and I also did a post on using a wide-angle lens with the Zi6 or Zi8.
But recently, I gave a speech at TJHSST and the Zi8 failed to record the video correctly, so I decided it was time to revisit my setup, since capturing content is so important to me (as per our company manifesto points #13 and #19).
The price of the Zi8 camera has come down so much since its launch (from above $200 to under $100 now) that I decided to use the following strategy:
Here's a video of the entire setup, with pics below that:
Want to see more photos I've taken? Visit my photo gallery.
UPDATE 12/13: The Lumix GX7 is the successor to the Lumix GX1 that I review (and love) below. It's pricey ($828 on Amazon or $998 with lens) because it's new, and you can now get a screaming deal on the GX1 (as low as $227). The two big advantages of the GX7 are 25% less noise in pics + wifi capabilities (including app remote control). I haven't made the switch yet, but I did do a more in-depth comparison on the two cameras here. If you do, let me know what you think in the comments below!
My wife and I are on a quest to learn how to take insanely great pictures. We are just starting this journey and I invite you to share it with us if photography is a passion of yours. The picture above is one of our first attempts at taking the kinds of photos that have a "wow" factor that transcends a regular photo. The photo was taken by my wife; that's my friend Keoni on the left and me on the right.