IL2009 – Digital Photographer Boot Camp
I had been looking forward to this preconference for over a year, and it lived up to my expectations! Our three presenters (Michael Porter, Amanda Hollister and Michael Sauers) introduced themselves by discussing their ten favorite photographs. It was an effective tool to not only see a bit of their personalities, but also the kinds of photographs they liked to take.
Michael Porter started his part of the presentation with the who, why and how of marketing our library events through photographs. Normally, we are the who – although it can be anyone on the staff who actually enjoys taking photographs. The why is also pretty obvious. Photographs are a great tool to communicate what our library is about – to our local patrons as well as the world at large. The how is a bit more difficult. Michael showed us several slides listing the seven principles of design and the seven main elements of design. Michael and Amanda both discussed the Rule of Thirds, which I should have known about, but I need to obviously research in a bit more detail. One of the really interesting things Michael stressed is to plan to reuse your library photos. Don’t take a photo to use just once – while you’re planning the shoot, be thinking of later ways to use it again
Amanda Hollister was next to give us her great Tips for Taking Great Snaps. Amanda gave us some great technical info regarding sensor size (yes, size does matter !), exposure and using our histogram, shutter speed and aperture. She also showed us how to use a piece of white paper to “bounce” a flash off the ceiling to avoid red eye. She then discussed some basics of composition in taking photos. But her final message was to practice, practice, practice. Don’t take just one picture of a subject, but many. From the many, you may come up with one good one that you’ll want to use. Post processing was a term I had never heard before, but a practice I normally love to do. This involves cropping, changing color or exposure levels to make your photos even better. Software to use can be sophisticated – such as Photoshop – or free, like Gimp. Just remember, when saving your images for the web, keep them under 100kb in size, with a resolution of 72-96 dpi.
Michael Sauers brought up the whole topic of sharing and using photos online. He answered many of my personal questions regarding Creative Commons – give credit to creator and not for commercial use. (Default with Flickr is “All Rights Reserved.”) Michael showed us several groups for libraries and libraians on Flickr and suggested that we join them.
I came away from this session with renewed energy to resume documenting our Library’s life in photographs. I also found the answer to the question “Which is the best camera.” The answer is “the one you have with you!” Thus, the photo in this posting was taken with my “point and shoot” Canon this morning as I watched the skilled chef at Monterey Crepe Compay make my crepe. It’s not a great shot, but it certainly captured his work!! Did I pass the class, guys??
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