I like a very Traditional, classic feel to my photos. I also love candid shots, two of the top four were total candids Anybody care to guess which two are the candids?


This is Sarah’s Scenes, Real Life Photographer.

Quick Tips: Weddings

sense of place.

It’s not uncommon for an amateur photographer to be asked to shoot a friend or relatives wedding, a day full of high emotions, fancy decor, and special moments. But first, there’s a few tips you should have in your arsenal before attempting a wedding.

#1: Know your limitations. If you’re just there as a guest with a camera on hand, do not step on the toes of the Official photographer, don’t get in her way. If you are the Official Photographer, know ahead of time where you can be and how much moving you can do.

#2: Give a sense of place in your photos. Is the wedding in a church? On a farm? in a valley? On a hill? where is it? You will want to take a few wide-angle photos to answer this question for those who were not present at the event but will be seeing the photos.

#3: Be Alert. Keep your eyes wide open, try to almost predict when something is about to happen, be aware of what is going on around you.

#4: Be Ready. Anything can happen at any time. It’s up to you as the photographer to capture the events of the day and turn an ordinary photo into a memory and work of art that will be treasured for years to come.

This is Sarah’s Scenes real Life photographer.

Getting Started: ISO levels

Here we are, moving up to the next step in being artistic with your photography. Today we are going to start doing more manual stuff, still in the Program Mode. This will help keep you from underexposing or overexposing your photos (we’ll talk about exposure soon).

The ISO levels will affect how bright or dark and image is, but also how saturated the colors are.

Most cameras, at least that I have handled, have ISO levels going from 100 up to 6400.

Levels 100 to 200 is great for daylight, you only need a little bit. I will usually have it set for 100 unless there’s a lot of shadows, or the image just doesn’t quite look as it should.

400 is good for evenings and moderate light.

800 to 1600 are good for evenings with little, or just not very good, sort of light.

3200 to 6400 are what you use when it’s especially dim light, almost dark out.

Some warnings go with these levels. The higher the ISO levels the more “noise” you’ll get in your pictures.

 Noise is what we cal it when you zoom in on your pictures and you see a lot of little dots (or squares) that aren’t the right color, some will almost look red. When looking for noise in an image you’ll want to look in the shadows where it tends to be very dark, but when Noise is present it shows up as pixely red-ish dots. Sometimes you won’t notice this untill you’ve pulled your picture up an a larger screen, like you computer monitor.

 This noise can make your images look grainy. Pixely is another term I’ve heard used a lot. You want your pictures to be nice and smooth, with a more realistic effect. Here’s a couple of photos showing “Noise” versus “neutral” or “smooth”…

Noise, look in the shadows and you can really see it.

No Noise, nice and smooth colors, the black is totally black..

 Sometimes you really won’t have much of a choice on how high an ISO you want to use, some lighting situations demand a higher ISO. but when you can try to stick below ISO 400 at the highest, this will prevent all that “noise.”

This is Sarah’s Scenes Real Life Photographer.

Lesson: watch the ISO, look out for Noise. Be creative, but be careful, and, of coure, have fun with it 😀

Getting Started: White Balance part 2.

In my last article I covered the basics of working with your white balance in the Program Mode. Today I would like to explain a bit about WHY you need to set it manually.

You see, your camera is like a computer, but only for taking and processing pictures. If that computer is not programmed correctly it will not work correctly. Your eye is the main thing camera developers study to make better quality cameras and lenses, so lets take a look at that for a minute.

Your eyes automatically assess what they are looking at and set a “white balance”‘ so that you almost always see things as white light. You can see a lot of color variations, but you don’t see people under tungsten lighting as being orange as the light they are under, because your eyes automatically correct it. Wasn’t YAH(God) amazing when he created your eyes?

Unfortunately, your camera and lenses are not as good at making automatic adjustments as your eyes are. So you must set the white balance manually to get it just right, although there will be some situations where even setting the correct white balance won’t compensate the colors enough to get it perfect, and that’s when you take it to Photoshop. But, if you control the white balance manually, you should be able to avoid this most of the time.

I failed to include some samples of how the different white balance settings work, I will remedy that mistake now.


Auto white balance.

Sunlight white balance.


Shade white balance.

Cloudy white balance.

cloudy white balance

Tungsten white balance.


White Fluorescent white balance.


Flash white balance.

I do not have a “Custom white balance” here because that will vary from person to person and camera to camera. I hope this helps you all to understand the white balance of your camera better.

this is Sarah’s Scenes Real Life photographer.

Lesson: understand your camera, and you can help it understand what you want to see, and you will have an easier time getting that picture the way you want it.

Getting started: White Balance

all right, in our last post we covered “using what you have to make a good photo” Don’t be discontented and think you can’t do great photography just because you don’t have a great rated camera! well, now were going to start learning about how to use that little camera in your hands to the best advantage!

First, I want to challenge you to stop using Auto! Don’t use the full auto setting, it takes all the creativity out of photography!

Second, start shooting in Program mode, it gives a little more control without scaring you out of your mind with all the controls needing your attention. I would start using this mode by adjusting the “White Balance”.  When you go to the white balance feature you will see the options: Auto, sunlight, shade, cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, flash, and custom.

Auto means the camera will decide the white balance.

Sunlight means that it will leave things that you see almost untouched in the picture, it will appear very much as you see it when you’re shooting out-of-doors.

Shade gives a warm almost orange hue to your pictures, a lot of landscape photographers use this setting to make the colors richer.

here’s a sample of the Shade setting:

Cloudy works in a similar way to shade, but not quite as much.It adds a little warmer color, but not a strong amount and helps to enhance some colors that would be dull without it, but without blowing things out of proportion.

Tungsten is for indoors with the lights on. The regular house lights have an orangey hue to them and that will affect your photos. But this setting will help to reduce that orange glow, and make it less noticeable.

White Flourescent is for when you’re shooting in business buildings or any other type of building tha has those white colored lights, you can also use the sunlight setting for those places if you like.

Flash is similar to sunlight, only you can choose to have the flash on or off. with sunlight it’s usually just off.

and then Custom is kinda hard, it’s for those brave ones out there that want to do a lot of experimenting. you can set that yourself, there are a few tricks to it, but i will save that for another day.

These are some quick sumaries of the White Balance settings, and will help you as you progress away form Full Auto Mode.

But, you can think outside the box with these settings! for instance, with the Shade Mode you don’t always HAVE to be in the shade to use it. You could be in the woods or out in a field, like here…

It was drizzling rain upon us, though we were out in the light it was a dreary sort of overcast day. Using the shade white balance brightened things up, made the color richer, and made it feel like a mid-summers day! My point, once again, is “Be Creative,” and stop using the full auto mode! it takes all creativity out of your pictures, not to mention setting the white balance manually gives a better picture, period. I hope you’ve learned a little from this article to help you as you edge away from using Auto Mode.

Once again, this is Sarah’s Scenes Real Life Photographer.

Lesson: start adjusting the white balance yourself. be creative with it, and don’t be a afraid to explore your options!

Getting Started: a Journey begins…

Ok, now the journey begins, but where to start?

i use a Canon Rebel EOS T3, a great camera for those of us who are just starting out on this journey of photographic art but want more than a point and shoot.

I have three lenses: a standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, a telephoto 55-250mm f/3.5-5.6, and a 50mm f/1.8 II. There are other lenses out in the photography world I would LOVE to get, but am currently unable to take hold of them due to a little thing called “Money.” Yeah, we all know that one. So, being limited on  funds one must make due with what one has. just because you don’t have a two thousand dollar camera or a two thousand three hundred-dollar lens does not mean you can’t make great photos!

When all you have are basics, you should start with the basics, and use them to the best of your ability! Here’s a photo I took this last summer in our backyard of a lovely Daisy…

What did I do to get this great look? I used my 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lense. focused it at an angle on some of the drops of water and…

Camera settings: f/8, 1/200 sec., ISO-100, and zoomed all the way in at 55mm.

Then i took it to Photoshop (i use Adobe Photoshop Elements 8), adjusted the Levels (which i will actually speak in more detail about  in the future), contrast and saturation. i then added the double “S’s” in the corner. i posted it where some friends could see it, most of which were pro-photographers, and they all loved it! my point here is, you can use what you’ve got to make something work. take something and make it special and worth sharing. just because you don’t have the best doesn’t mean you can’t be the best at what you do with what you’ve got. now go and be creative with what you’ve got on hand, and don’t be afraid to explore your options, the most famous photographers are those who’ve made their own style and stick with it.

Hope you enjoyed this first epistle of Sarah’s Scenes Real Life Photographer.

Lesson: use what you’ve got to make something special.


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