I Am A Photography Genius

That’s a total lie. I just got SUPER DUPER LUCKY with the VERY FIRST SHOT I took yesterday morning when I tried my hand at a holiday twinkle lights bokeh photo shoot  (inspired by Jill & Pinterest).

Like I said, this is the very first shot, straight out of the camera. No Photoshop or processing.

Of course, the rest of my shots look like this:

For some reason when I set my camera (Nikon D90) on the A setting (which I am told stands for Aperture Preferred) so I can manually choose to shoot at 1.8 only 1 out of every 3 shots comes out right. The first one is good, the second is dark, the third is darker. Every time. I’m not switching angles or settings or anything, so I don’t know why the camera keeps changing its mind, but if someone could make it just always shoot like that first photo that would be super awesome.

Oh my God I am the WORST. I have this fancy, expensive camera and a whole bag full of lenses and I shoot in auto almost all the time with no real intentions of learning how to use manual. Like I said, THE WORST.

Here’s a couple more I managed to salvage with some editing:

Since I was trying to get photos to use on the mantle for Caroline’s party I went out and bought a silver sparkly dress (because the theme is sparkly snowflakes with lots of silver, light blue and light pink). So now she will match her decorations (CRAZY ALERT DING DING). But I ALSO bought an outfit for her to wear TO the party, because I didn’t want her to be wearing the same dress in the decorations as on the day (DING DING DING DING EFFING DING). I’ll try the twinkly light shoot again this weekend when E is home to a) help get the baby to look/smile and b) help me use my camera since he’s the one who read the instruction book.

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25 Responses to “I Am A Photography Genius”

  1. Nicole says:

    I think they’re fabulous! I loved that photo shoot too, but since I do not have a fancy camera, my pictures tend to look like it. Just once, I’d like to have a Christmas card that do not look like the Clampett Christmas Special. Come photograph my children too.

  2. Virginia Maul (Ginny Peabody) says:

    Have you checked out this website? There is a photography course here that I would love to take, but I don’t have the time between work, school, and two kiddos. I love seeing your pictures. The twinkly lights its awesome. I want to take my own Christmas pictures of the kids this year, but it hasn’t happened yet…probably won’t….will probably run to target or pennys at the last minute.


    • bebehblog says:

      I would love to join Clickin Moms but I don’t think I’m dedicated enough to make it worth my subscription. I have been trying to win one though! That would be awesome!

  3. TMae says:

    Yeah, I hate Aperture setting on my camera. HATE IT. I don’t understand all these people who are all, “Oh, I shoot in aperture priority and all my pictures are gorgeous!” Mine are always blown out, or underexposed, or blurry… I’ll shoot 40 and get 2. Which I guess is the handy part of digital over film. FWIW, I cheat and zoom my lens out all the way which narrows the depth of field so you get that bokeh effect but can still shoot in auto.

    • bebehblog says:

      I bought a whole new lens to help me cheat – it’s meant to be a telephoto so when I shoot up close the background is super blurry. So much easier than learning my camera!

  4. Leah says:

    Read the manual, you say? What a novel idea! I feel your pain though.

    I almost didn’t post my WW yesterday because I was all, “These pictures are crap! All my pictures are crap! Why aren’t my kids cuter?! Just go the hell to bed already!” And then Bruce came home with wine and I felt better.

  5. shoot in manual! promise it’ll help in this situation. and make sure you have tons of natural light pouring in. play around with your f-stop and you’ll find the right setting for this. i know you can do it!

  6. Audrey says:

    I use Aperture Priority 98% of the time. I think what happened between the first and second photo is the focus changed, which changed the light it was reading. You went from being focused in the front to being focused in the back, and since there is a different light hitting C than emanating from the twinkle lights you would have needed to adjust the aperture.

    • bebehblog says:

      Oh no, I know I focused the second one wrong there. Those two weren’t in a row. The problem with Aperture Priority for me is even if I don’t move or touch anything and take the second shot only a second after the first it is always too dark. I suspect the camera is adjusting for some reason but don’t know how to turn it off.

  7. Jessica says:

    So glad I’m not the only one who sucks at using their awesome camera. I even took an online class and I still suck at it. Use auto 99% of the time. :(

  8. molly says:

    Yeah, I have the same problem. The first one turned out great though! I’m going to try these some time soon. But I’ll just be crossing my fingers in the hopes that some of them turn out okay.

  9. Love these! And I love that she’ll match her party decorations. Well-played, my friend. Well-played.

  10. malanda says:

    I’m horrible about only shooting in auto. Actually, I hardly ever pull out my camera it’s always iPhone pics. I think your pictures look great to be honest. I can’t wait to see pictures from her party.

  11. Some of mine turned out like that, too! I just shot eleventy billion of them and came out with, like, 10 great shots.

    You should look into taking Beyond Snapshots. It’s an online class, taught by Rachel Devine. I took it and it REALLY helped me understand how to shoot in manual. Also, the book Understanding Exposure is amazing, too. I really think once you grasp how to properly expose in manual you will have such better luck.

    Honestly, I would teach yourself a basic knowledge of the light triangle, then make yourself keep your camera on M.

    But, I really think what you have here is good! And I love the pretty dress :)

    • bebehblog says:

      The good news is I already own Understanding Exposure, from the LAST time I decided I needed to learn to use my camera. I think the problem is I do know IN THEORY how to use the light to get the right shot but when I try to take the easy way out and shoot in A or P instead of straight up M I get frustrated. I just need to practice. And maybe ask for Beyond Snapshots for Christmas.

    • bebehblog says:

      Although I should point out I’ve only read the first chapter of Understanding Exposure. Maybe it’s time for chapter 2.

  12. Denae says:

    The problem with aperture preferred is that it changes shutter speed to achieve aperture. I shoot (used to when I had my non-digital SLR and developed in a real lightroom) this way manually because then you understand what changed and therefore how to fix it. Your blurry photo looks like its background focused so them the light meter assumed that it had the right settings for the twinkle lights. The baby obviously is not as bright. I agree, make sure the room is well lit. If not it will slow your shutter speed to get more light which is bad for shooting moving babies. Then you get blurry babies (which is prob some of your shots). When shooting to achieve an aperture your light meter is VERY sensitive and will change its reading with the slightest movement. The most common problem is nose-lens tilted (slightly!) down or up which can really skew your results. I hope that helps! I feel so old school.

  13. Amanda says:

    Love them! What a sweetheart!

  14. Tricia says:

    Hey, I actually read a crap-load of instructional books on not only my specific camera, but on DSLR’s in general, and I don’t USE MY CAMERA. Like, ever. Because I always have my iPhone with me, so I always end up just using that. Oh, and because my camera and lenses are bulky and big, and I am lazy, I always leave my good camera at home. So at least you’re actually using yours. When I do use mine, it’s for mundane, everyday boring junk that no one will care to see in 20 years. I am a gigantic fool.

  15. The paper mama says:

    So. I think you should put your camera in manual and just go with it! It’s super scary at first…. But, then you start to get it!

    That photo is adorable! I have a little Christmas photo challenge going on right now. You should enter that darling thing!!!

  16. The last picture is too much. TOO MUCH. Stop torturing the internet with your cute bebeh, Suzanne.

  17. Erin says:

    I think they turned out good! I’ll be doing some of these too on Tuesday. Let me know if you have any pointers.

  18. Sarah-Anne says:

    nooo. those pictures are great, suzanne!!

  19. […] December I tried and failed at twinkle pics of the kids. I declared potty training a success but not necessarily a happy one but having a two […]

  20. […] This was my first attempt at twinkle light bokeh photos, almost exactly 5 years ago.  […]

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