Thurs 31st May Shopping For Clothes.

Your camera or phone can come in very handy when shopping for clothes. If you see a nice outfit you think your other half might or might not like then take a picture of it. You can then show it to them when you get home, or send a picture message using your phone's camera for instant (dis)approval. Your camera or phone can save you the hassle of buying something unsuitable and having to return it. This tip is aimed more at men, as we Alpha Males know only too well that we can never get it right when it comes to buying clothes for our ladies wheras if it's clothes for us men our ladies just buy it anyway, don't they?

Wed 30th May. Dogs, Cats And Other Pets.

Cats and dogs make great subjects for photos. My cat Millie likes nothing better than to curl up in the sun, whilst my friend Louise's two dogs are playful and active. Our pets make great subjects. Rember to use pet mode if you have one as if you're shooting indoors you'll avoid the canine equivalent of red eye, green eye. If your cat often stretches like you see them do in the old cartoons then that's another great photo too. Dogs like to run after sticks, and if you use a fast shutter speed or sports mode then you can capture both dog and stick as if time has been frozen. Or how about a picture your pooch shaking the water off after a swim, or your cat playing with a ball of wool? The possibilities are endless.

Tues 29th May Canals And Cruisers.

Britain's canals and waterways are famous the world over. There's lots of great scenery to be seen walking along our canal heritage. Locks, pubs (don't get too drunk or you might fall in), bridges and even the ducks or swansnmake great photo opportunities. My boss is seriously thinking of buying a narrowboat and renting his house out. There's often lots of brightly painted barges moored on our waterways, and these boats make great subjects, And if you see a cabin cruiser coming along, take a shot of it if you can. If it's travelling at fast speeds, don't forget to use a fast shutter speed, or, if you havent got a shutter priority then use sports mode to ensure a sharp shot. So next time you decide to take the dog for a walk along side the canal take your camera. And if Fido wants to dive in for a cooling swim it's another great photo opportunity.





Mon 28th May Flower Arranging (2)

To see lots of flowers at their best, why not visit a garden centre. You'll see lots of lovely plants on display, as well as stunning statues and wonderful water features. It's better if you go on a sunny day, and make sure you get plenty of good pictures. You might be able to bag a bargain as well, but whatever you buy, don't let your hsband, wife or even your partner make you do some gardening when you could be out taking photographs instead!

Sun 27th May Flower Arranging!

Now then, now then guys & gals (excuse the naff Jimmy Chavile impersonation), I'm not talking about sticking some roses in a vase and taking a snapshot of them, I'm talking about the flowers growing in your garden, and I don't expect you to pick them either. The sad fact is that many gardens (sadly mine included) have many flowers that have been either half eaten by leaf cutter ants and greenfly, are starting to die and have decaying petals or leaves. If we either shoot from an angle that hides this, or, even better try and hide the flowers that aren't quite perfect or remove the ones that are too far gone then we can take a much better photograph.

Sat 26th May. Saturday's Child.

Every Saturday the kids are off school. Why not find a fun filled activity to do with them, like the football match, a trip to the park, or even a trip to the seaside. There's plenty of photo opportunities doing things with the children. How about a photo of them eating an ice cream cornet, with ice cream smiles? A picture of the kids with smiling faces on a roundabout is another idea. Go on, do something with the little 'uns this Saturday.

Fri 25th May The High Life.

Many great photographs are taken from high places. The top of the Eifel Tower, Llandudno's Great Orme, and some great night shots of traffic from motorway bridges spring to my mind. Then there's  portraits taken from above, often used in advertising images. Try taking a portrait looking down on your subject from on top of a step ladder and see the difference it makes. Shooting images from high vantage points like a balcony on the top floor of a tower block or multistorey car park  gives stunning results, especially if taken with a high zoom lens. And you can imitate minature photography as well if you use full wide angle.

Thurs 24th May Heatwave!

Martha Reeves sang about a Heatwave, and Marilyn Monroe starred in the film of the same name. To make your photo's the 'Star' attraction make the most of the sun while it lasts! Summer sunlight gives you the best pictures. Flowers are in bloom, Lambs are bouncing playfully in the fields, the sound of leather on willow on the village green, the bright hazy sun shining through the trees, the blossom on the branches,gently babbling brooks, even sandcastles on the beach. A sunny day brightens up a picture no end. You do have to remember that if you're taking a portrait to have your subject facing the sun, otherwise you'll get a dark portrait. If shooting with the sun behind your subjects is your only option then use the 'Backlit Portrait ' mode, or use a fill in flas so you don't overexpose or wash out your subject. But  above all, remember: Sunny days means get your camera out.

Wed 23rd May Delete Your Pictures.

I've often run out of space on my memory card, and on two recent occasions have almost filled up a 250 Gigabyte hard drive. The main reason for this is because I didn't delete unwanted images. Once you've copied your images you should delete the images from your memory card, as well as all your blurred images, and any ones you don't like. You can delete unwanted images from your card as soon as you've taken them, to keep as much free space on the memory card. You can delete a whole card on camera if you need to, but if you've a few images that you've not coped over, you can protect them and quickly delete the rest by selecting delete all. It's the same with your hard drive. My GE X5 bridge camera took 14 Megapixel images at between 6 and 8 megabytes. 160 images takes up a Gigabyte of disc space, and takeking 300+ images a month meant it took mejust over 6 months to almost fill the hard drive, and over a week of manually deleteing files to recover 40 GB of space. If I'd've deleted as I went along, I wouldn't have had this annoyance.

Tues 22nd May. Going To The Zoo (2). (Tip courtesy of James Hardiker).

If your camera has a Manual Focus setting, then you can use it to remove the bars and mesh from your zoo pictures. It's easy. Put your lense up as close to the mesh as possible. Zoom in to the Lion, tiger or other wild animal you want to photo. It will look blurred. Next, just manually focus on the subject and you will find that if your subject is far enough away, the mesh or bars will have blurred enough to be invisible or virtually invisible.  This works best when photographing amimals a distance away from the fence and have a long enough zoom to do so.

Mon 21st May Going To the Zoo.

Zoo's are a great place to find lots of rare animals in one place. However, most are too dangerous to view up close. The mesh and bars can spoil a picture. There's two tips for getting rid of them in your pictures. If You've a smal point ans shoot camera then if you have birds or small animals in mesh cages or similar surroundings you can poke the lens through one of the holes in the mesh but PLEASE BE CAREFUL TO ENSURE YOU DO IT SAFELY. I did it with turtles which were a distance away, don't do it with ferocious animals, and ensure it's only the lense poking through, not your hands. The second Zoo tip is tomorrow.

Sun 20th May Happy Birthday!

As I write this, the Glover household is celebrating another birthday. Not only do birthdays mean prezzies, parties and cake, there's lots of photo opportunoties too. If you're having a party, then there's bound to be several relations you've not seen in ages. How about a photo with Auntie Edie or uncle Peter? Then if it's a kids party, you can take pictures of the fun and games or use video mode. Cousin Jim looking glum with a party hat on, like you see on the telly makes an intersting photo,as does one of Auntie Mary doing the conga to Black Lace. But probably the most photographed moment is the birthday cake time. Everybody gets their camera out for the blowing out of the candles. If it's in daylight, auto mode will suffice, but in a photo in a club at night with low lighting will need the flash on, but don't get too close, otherwise you risk washing the birthday boy or girl's face out. If your camera has a 'Fill in' flash setting, use it to avoid this. Oh, and don't forget to save me a piece,,,,, I know I shouldn't be having all those calories, but birthday cake IS so yummy!

Sat 19th May. Saturday Night Fever!

You've all seen John Travolta strutting his stuff on the dacefloor with his moves, Well , the next time you and your mates are at the nightclub, get your camera out. Ensure that you keep the flash un, but don't get too close, 6ft away should suffice on a point and shoot model. If you're too far away you'll get a dark image, so judge your distance carefully. Take the picture from too close, and you'll wash the image out losing detail. Remember, the more you zoom in, the more you reduce the aperature and darken the picture, thus shortening the flash range by up to half. If your pictures are still a little dark, switch to Programme Auto (P) mode, and increase the EV (exposure brightness) by one or two steps, and increase the ISO value as well. ISO 200 and above will help. Why not  recreate John's famous pose from the movie and put it on our Facebook page? I'd love to see your recreations..

Fri 18th May Fish on Friday.

Fish make great subjects to photograph. They are colourful, interesting and unusual. Tropical fish make the best subjects, the bigger they are the better. Angel fish loook striking with their nice pointed fins, clown fish are nice and bright, the blue and yellow Regal Tang brightens any tank, and little Neon Tetras darting about give a tank sparkle. It's best to use museum or glass mode for photographing fish tanks, not only to prevent flash bouncing back and washing the shot out, but also to avoid damaging the fish's eyes. Using this mode will give a sharp picture in low light. If you've not got a tank many garden centres have an aquarium section, as do many zoos and sea life centres. Outdoor goldfish in ponds grow very large, and also make a good subject. Go on, put some fish in your photographic diet.

Thurs 17th May. Go To The Movies.

Good movies are great entertainment. Just as we get good movies, we get the forgettable ones no one wants to remember. And then there's the flipside to that, the Iconic movies that everyone loves. Many of the advertising posters from the movies are iconic in themselves, like Jaws, Get Carter, Pulp Fiction,Star Wars and  several of the Bond movies. If you look on You Tube you'll find thousands of cheesy, crappy, boring or plainly horrible fan 'Remakes.' But why limit this to videos? Why not recreate your favourite movie poster or film scene. I don't expect you to go as far as Roger Moore hanging off the edge of a tal building as James Bond, but you could mimic other movies. And if you visit actual film locations you could recreate your favourite scene in Situ. Just imagine driving a motorbike and side car into the bridge at Rhuddlan, North wales like in one iof my favourite movies, Holiday On Yhe Buses........ Maybe not!

Wed 16th May. Spare A Thought.....?

What could be worse? You're at a wedding, party or other important event, and suddenly, your battery or batteries run out or your memory card fills up? Memory cards can be bought quite cheaply, (8 gigabyte cards from £4.00 on Amazon), and if your camera takes AA batteries then you can easily buy them from corner shops and garages, or if you use rechargeable N-imh batteries, you can get 4 Duracell rechargeable s for £6.00 from Home Bargains Branches, which will give you two sets of batteries so you've got a spare set in case one set runs out. . Lithium-ion powered cameras are a different kettle of fish, as they're often camera specific. The only brand I know to Include a spare L-ion battery is Traveller sold in Aldi supermarkets. You can buy spare batteries for most cameras over the internet, just type your camera model and 'spare battery' into a search engine. For Example, a spare battery for a Fuji L55 can be bought on amazon for under £6.00. 

Tues 15th May, Bits, Bobs & Ice Cream Blobs!

Many camera users have accessories that they need to carry around, like spare batteries, memory cards, leads and filters, etc. Many compact camera cases don't have the storage compartments for these bits & bobs. The humble Ice cream tub comes to the rescue! You can store all your batteries, leads and cards in small plastic containers like ice cream tubs or small Tupperware containers. Small plastic tubs can often be small enough to fit in a coat pocket or bag. Problem solved!. And if you you make a nice looking Sundae from the ice cream, why not photograph it before you eat it?

Mon 14th May Museums and Mansions.

Point and shoot cameras have improved over the last few years. One big problem was that when you where photographing objects behind glass, the reflection of the flash will ruin the shot, washing out the picture. If you turn the flash off, the photo will usually come out blurrred as it's often an indoor shot taken in low or artificial light. Many newer cameras now feature a 'Museum' or 'Glass' mode. This mode is designed not to use a flash, and works really well. I've used it for photographing objects behind glass, and even tropical fish in aquariums. Why not give it a try?

Sunday 13th May Run For Home.

Today I went to watch my step daughter, her partner and friends take part in the Blackpool 10k Fun Run. There were several thousand runners taking part in the event raising much needed funds for many deserving charities. Supergirl, Spiderman, Iron Man, Batgirl,  Bumblebee from the Transformers, Elvis, and even a giant dog  were amongst the runners. There's lot's of events going on up and down the country each weekend. Classic car shows, Morris dancing, sports days, school galas, farmers markets, even the travelling fun fair can all provide great photo opportunities. Check the 'What's On' column in your local newspaper to see what photo opportunities arise in your area. Don't forget, if it's a charity event you're going to, check www.justgiving.com to see if there's a page set up to take donations for the event.

Sat 12th May Jazz It Up!

I've just enjoyed two days of a Jazz festival. The music was great, and I got lots of good photo's, but this tip is not about music. Think about how you can 'Jazz' up your photo's. This could be adding colourful things to your images, be it bright, clothes, toys, flowers, colourful pictures, fancy dress, and other interesting things. Don't overdo it though. Remember, you need to keep the main focous of the picture in mind, as too much going on can distract from the central theme of the shot.

 

Fri 11th May Be Like Simon Cowell.

Britain's Got Talent is back, and whether you love Simon Cowell, or like me, hate his smarmy grin, you've got to admire the fact that he knows what sells records and DVD's en masse. Even though he's offering the prize of £500,000 (which is tax deductable) he'll make several times more back from the voting, sales of CD's, DVD's downloads and probably his percentage of the best artistes earnings for a couple of years. The thing is, he always champions the one's he knows he can promote and make money from, like Diversity and Susan Boyle. The flipside of this coin is that he knows just as well as what will sell, what won't sell, and never backs a loser. Before the public auditions start, he knows exactly what he's looking for. To Simon, second rate isn't an option.

The best photographers are like Simon. They know exactly what they want and go out to get it. They know the best way to photograph a given situation, and how to post process (edit it, also called Photoshopping) to get exactly what they want. If you want nice close ups of flowers with insects, you need to go looking for them. If you want nice beach sunsets, then don't leave the seaside at 5pm when the sun goes down at 10.30. Think about what you want from your photographs, then think about the best way to get it. Framing, composition, lighting, and backgrounds can be equally as important as your subject. Make sure you're as ruthless as SiCo when it comes to taking great photo's.


Thurs 10th May Sunshine On A Rainy Day!

As I write this tip, the sun has just come out. It's been raining all day, and the hit song by Zoe is running through my brain, 'Sunshine on a rainy day, makes my soul, makes my soul trip trip trip away-ay-ay!' Not only is there that wonderful smell in the garden after the rain (unless you're standing next to the compost heap), but there's wonderful light and the water drops on the leaves adds to the beauty of your photographs. Get the camera out and go hunting for droplets of water hanging off the ends of leaves, or on a rose petal. If you get up close enough you might be lucky enough to get a nice sharp reflection in the droplet. If you do it looks stunning. You can use macro mode, or if you've a superzoom camera, zoom right in close. Manual focus can achieve pin sharp results. And if you do get some great shots, then remember to post them on our Facebook page.

Wed 9th May Candles And Coal

The right light can often be crucial to the picture you're taking. Candle light, with is soft glow, can look great in a picture. Whether it's a picture of a candle with itt's flame and halo, or if it's just illuminating a picture. Many cameras have a preset mode for candlelight that enhances the glow for a memorable image. Use them to illuminate the background. If you've not got this mode, try night [ortrait instead.  And for a great (not grate) background toi an indoor poartrait, a roaring open fire can look fantastic.

Tues 08th May, Toy Story.

Toys can make an interesting photo, but not as you might think. The best way is to pose your toys against real landscapes as if they they were humans.One of my Fillipino  Facebook friends, Ralph Villaver Cuevo, does this to great effect.  See some of his pictures here. You don't have to keep it to dools, you can mix it up with toy cars,  trucks, and other interesting artifacts. A little bokeh works well too, and if it's done properly, then it looks great. Why not give it a try and post the result on our Facebook page? But, whatever you do, don't tell the kids you're raiding their toy box.

Monday 7th May (Bank Holiday) Go for a day trip.

When we're at home or work and in our usual surroundings, we get used to the same things day in day out. There's only so many times you can photograph the rosebush or the car without it becoming boring, When we go out to places we don't normally visit we have more enthusiasm. Seeing things for the first time exites you, and it's that exitement that spurs you on to take better photo's. The seaside, the theme park, stately homes and the stunning British countryside are filled with wonderful photo opportunities, Whether it's the view fom the top of Blackppol tower, a rollercoaster whooshing past or the mountains and waters of the Lake District, there's grat photo opportunities everywhere. However, to get these shots, you have to get out there and take the pictures. There's no better time than the great British Bank Holiday to get out amd about.

Sun 6th May Bouncy Bouncy!  

There's lot's of great things yoy can photograph with your camera, but try these ideas for inspiration. Bouncing subjects make a great photograph. Imagine two grown adults on spacehoppers, kids on the trampoline, or the dog jumping after a stick or titbit. There's the school sports day sackrace too, though I must admit that when I did it as school sports day in 1974 (aged 10) I ran all the way to second place, instead of bouncing. Yipee! It's these out of the ordinary moments that make great pictures.

Sat 5th May Get Sporty!

There's often times when you take an action shot, only for it to come out blurry. Many point & shoot cameras have a fast shutter speedof 1/400th of a second or faster, but in auto mode it probably won't select this. If your dog's bounding straight towards you, or your kids are bouncing  up and down on the trampoline., the last thing you want is a bkurred mass of brown fur or a blurry bright orange and blue strak that's supposed to be a T-shirt. The solution is to use Sports Mode. This will tell the camera to select the fastest shutter spead it can. Fast shutter speeds freeze the action for a perfect shot if you've got a steady hand. Sports pictures are taken with a fast shutter speed to do this. It's best if the subject is heading straight for you, as the autofocus will not have to move around.

Fri 04 May Get Up Early

If you're an early riser, there's plenty of photographic opportunities available. From the misty mornings, glorious colourful sunrises to dew on the flowers, there's omething that professional photographers love about early morning light. Don't hang about in bed too long, as by 8 Am it's gone. Early morning light has a completely different feel to it. It's unique. Early morning light is fresh and clean. It gives photo's a great look that you just can't get later on in the day. And spring is a great time for early morning light for photography. Why not try it tomorrow morning?

Thurs 03 May Make Your Own Filters

Filters improve photographs in certain conditions. Whilst expensive high end cameras come with threads for filters you can attach to them, point and shoot users aren't afforded this luxury. However you can improvise. Craft centres will sell coloured cellophane, which can be used as a filter. A small elastic band will fix it to your lens, but make sure it's pulled over the lens tightly as creases will show. If you can't get cellophane, disco equipment stockists will sell coloured gel paper which will do the same job, but are thicker and not as flexible. You're better holding it in front of the lense.  To enhance colour a pair of polarized sunglasses will make a temporary polarizing filter, but moce it around 'til you get the clearest image. Blue filters enhance sky, green ones enhance grass, and orange or yellow are great for sunsets. Or if you want to spend a couple of pounds,normalcamera  filters can be bought for under £3.00 and held op to the lens.

Wed 2nd May All White On The Night.

There's many occasions for taking photos indoors or in differing light conditions. Most digital cameras have a white balance selection tool, The average point and shoot user keeps this to auto, but if your indoor photo's have a creamy or red cast then you're better off setting this to the correct lightbulb type. There's usually one for Tungsten, Fkuorescant, Daylight, Shade, and Overcast. Setting this before you take your photo can give better results.

Tues 1st May Switch The Light On.

No, it's not the house lights, most cameras today have an infra red or ultra violet light for assisting the autofocus in low light. It's not always on by default, as many people don't like having a beam of light shone directly in their face. It really can make a difference to your low light photo's. Images are sharper and better exposed. The feature is usually found in the camera's setup menu found by pressing the Menu button, scrolling right or left to the Setup screen and then scrolling down until you find it. It might be called 'Autofocus Assist' or 'Autofocus Lamp'. The letters AF may be used instead of the word 'Autofocus', but it's the same .

                                                                                          April's Tip Of The Day