{inspired} photography class + tips

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending a *Photo Safari* in downtown Portland. Jennifer Costello, a professional photographer here in pdx, hosts Sunday workshops on the streets of downtown. She teaches both how to use your dslr (which even after nearly a year I STILL need help with(!), angles, lines and approaches to photos in general.

It was a fantastic class. There were only five attendants, which gave us all quality time with Jennifer. I thought I'd share a couple of useful pointers I learned from her this weekend, along with some of the photos I shot.

Tip #1
Your LCD screen brightness is off. The brightness that comes standard on the screens is too dark. She explained the math (!?) behind how she's know this, but I believe her because when I uploaded my photos I didn't need to brighten them at all. That's a first. 

How do you change this? If you own a DSLR camera, there is an LCD screen setting. Check your manual. When you find it, set it to -2. So easy!

Tip #2
Get closer. Jennifer believes that most amateur photographers aren't willing to get close enough to their subject. I know this is true for me .... mostly because it looks silly! But, I loved the final product when I actually did get up close and personal with the subjects.

Tip #3
Make it easier on yourself. Jennifer recommends only adjusting one of your settings at a time. She always shoots with her aperture at 4.0 and her ISO at 400. That way she only has to adjust her shutter speed.

My lens aperture doesn't go down to 4.0, it's lowest setting is 5.6. I found that at 5.6 aperture with a 200 ISO, I could easily adjust my shutter speed to get the shot I was look for and not have to worry. You guys, it really is so much easier!

Of course, there are exceptions to this .... namely, landscape shots, or in home blogger's case, full room shots. But it's a great place to start, and makes for quick and easy shooting.

I will definitely be using all these tips to better shoot the details in my house. I can't wait till I'm home in the daylight to try them out!
I hope these are helpful for you all! I love learning new things about photography. What are some pointers you've learned recently about shooting with a DSLR?

If you'd like to check out more of Jennifer's work - she's an AMAZING portrait photographer - you can check her out here.


  1. ahh... I NEED some pointers. I have only had mine since March, and I don't really think I use it propery. I do a lot of editing after the fact...
    Might need to fly to portland to take one of her classes!

  2. Wow, that sounds so fun! Your images turned out great! I have been wanting a DSLR for years now. I need to get one soon.

    Myers Maison

  3. Great tips Jenn - it sounds like a really great workshop and nice that it was so intimate too to get some qt with the photographer. My favorite shot is the third one down of the bench - that's really cool. If I ever get around to it I'd love to learn to take better pictures (and get a better camera). Do you follow Michelle @ Ten June? She's doing a photo challenge that might be something fun for you to do too.

  4. Beautiful shots Jenn! My photography skills are in dire need of help, so these tips are awesome (and simple), thanks for sharing!


  5. LOVE these tips! I don't use my LCD at the moment b/c the guy at the camera store told me not to, and paul yells at me if its on! haha! I looooove getting up close and personal with my subjects too! its just so much more aesthetically pleasing to me!

  6. Thanks so much for these great tips. Sounds like an awesome class. I can't wait to get back home to my DSLR to try these techniques out. Esp. the LED tip.

  7. I took photography classes in college, but always forget to use what I learned - mostly because I'm using a basic point and shoot instead of a really nice camera. However, these pointers work well with any camera and it was great to be reminded! I'm definitely going to be using some of them in my upcoming blog posts. Thanks for the reminders!


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