working on project for wife PLEASE help!!


TPF Noob!
Jan 25, 2016
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Hello. As the title states I'm working on a project for my wife. I want to take pics of our kids that are extremely sharp very clear and black and white.

A few yrs back I bought my wife a nikon p520 I think it is. And I have don't know a single thing about how to use it or photography.

Can anyone please point me in the right direction.
Ok thanks!!! I can learn about the setting and stuff there but how about lighting and things like that?
Go forth and actuate.

In other words, use your camera. You'll make mistakes, but don't feel bad, all of us have (well, except for you-know-who..... but's he's always been perfect!). Then identify the problem, and find out what the solution is to correct it.

Post some of your work here. Don't be bashful. We won't demand National Geographic cover quality. Ask for comments and critique (C&C), and you'll get some. Yes, some of it may be brutally honest and you'll need thick skin, but only by using your camera will you improve your skills.
Wow!!! Ok sounds great!!!! I never really had an interest in photography but after reading up about it and different techniques... its actually really interesting
I'm working on a similar project, although it's just for myself ;) I just bought the frames today, in fact - and have matting material, and printed pictures, at home waiting for completion.

I took these pictures without intending for them to be black and white, but I did learn some stuff while processing them. First, are you able to do some basic postprocessing in photoshop or similar??

Lighting is really important when shooting. Cardinal rule in all siatuations, but can really make a difference in B/W work. You want your subject lit, but the background dark. Fortunate or good postprocessing can help you enhance a situation that may not be perfect.

kols by John Bixler, on Flickr

One of the advantages I found in working with B/W images is there are less complications to postprocessing. Simply using the brightness/contrast slider can go a long ways for you. Push the contrast as high as it will go, at least that works for me.

Image composition is important. You can end up with a lot of negative (empty black space) which can create some really visually interesting pictures

Wren black and white by John Bixler, on Flickr

I like to rely on the rule of thirds - put the subject, or most interesting part, of your picture 1/3 of the way across the pic (not 1/2). I find I naturally place my subject on the right 1/3 line, when looking at the picture.

I purposely went for a more "grimey" look in my pictures, but I've seen others do a very "silky" black and white, that is very effective as well.

Because you are shooting with the intention of doing B/W, I do think that changes how you choose where to shoot. Make sure your background is clean, again this maximizes the negative space and the "POP" you can give your subject. And don't be afraid of manual settings, you want the background to go away and the subject to stand out.

Good luck!

Oh, PS, one last thing. You are shooting your kids. This is both a blessing and a curse. DONT TRY FOR A PRECONCEIVED POSE!!! It does not work with kids, especially your own. Do something spontaneous, make them smile. Get a natural smile. You don't need to see their teeth. They need to be relaxed. Don't make it work.

I like to tell my kids to roar at me, as load as they possibly can. If we are in a crowded public place, even better. Then just snap the hell out of them for the next few seconds. This is why:


rawr by John Bixler, on Flickr

"The afterglow of RAWR"

after by John Bixler, on Flickr
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Wow!!!! Your a genius!! Many great tips!!! Thank you. I planned on hiring someone to edit the pics for me... and currently looking into light (hard light vs soft light) stuff like that. Again I have no idea how to change the camera settings what works best for what I'm trying to do. Guess I'll just have to play around with it and get familiar with the camera
.. extremely sharp very clear and black and white.
Digital cameras can capture B&W as well as color, but for my money you should take them in color and then convert them to B&W later on your computer. Just as easy, and probably easier to get the right pictures to convert.

As for sharp; that is partly skill and partly the equipment, so it's best to consider each in turn. For equipment; give us a run-down on exactly what is on the camera, including any cheap filters on the front of the lens. Take some sample pics of stuff that has some fine detail (doesn't have to be your children).

Digital image files contain hidden, but accessible information about the exposure, called EXIF for short. We can read this file info as long as it's not stripped off prior to your posting the example.
OMG! No wonder those kids are screaming!

One has a hand growing out of his neck, and the other has a hand growing out of her shoulder!

All I have Is the camera nikon p520 I believe it is.. straight out the box.. no extra lens or anything fancy.
I planned on making a makeshift "studio" in my mancave/basement, a black sheet for the backdrop and a few halogen work lights for my lighting
If that's the case, consider having the lights near each other, to give a very dramatic "single light" effect. Play around of course, to see if you like it.
I planned on making a makeshift "studio" in my mancave/basement, a black sheet for the backdrop and a few halogen work lights for my lighting
Those lights are going to make the room hot in very short order. Don't be surprised if the children become hot and cranky.

I know you've thought of setting up a make-shift studio, but until you get one or two electronic flashes, I recommend that you just some outdoor portraits. This style is called "informal portraiture".
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Good idea!!! I like that
trying to upload a few pics I took while playing around with the camera and keep getting a message saying the files ar too large??

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