Photography might just be for you?


A Photo Hobby has something for everyone.

If you’re new to photography, you may have questions like:
“I want to take pictures, but I don’t really know what to photograph.”
Expanding your photography hobby is a whole lot easier than you may think, and doesn’t have to be expensive.  What used to take a mastery in photography, now can be accomplished with a push of a button and he right equipment.  
Sometimes all it takes is knowing that it CAN be done, and not necessarily HOW it’s done. That’s where we can help.
There are many types of photography.  Which type will excite you?

Here are a few that we love:

1.         Portrait
2.         Wildlife
3.         Sports and Action
4.         Landscape
5.         Macro
6.         Black and White
7.         Street

1. Portrait Photography

All types of portraits need two basic things.  LIGHT and FOCUS.  Make sure that you’re in an area that lighting that is appealing to your scene. Also, check your focus frequently throughout your shoot. Here are some styles of portraits that you may want to try.

Lifestyle portrait

Lifestyle portraits capture people in an everyday environment often doing ordinary things.  Sharing a glass of wine, making pasta, playing video games, etc.    
Some tips:  Make your subject(s) feel comfortable and relaxed.  If you use a tripod and a remote shutter release, you can step away from your camera and carry on a conversation with them while you take pictures.  They will act more natural, and you’ll be more likely to capture the feeling you want to achieve.

Environmental portrait

In environmental portraits, both the environment and the subject are important.  The subject is surrounded by elements of their occupation or of their favorite past time (i.e an attorney posing in front of their law books, a hiker posing on a forest trail, etc.)
Tip:  You can see in the above shot, the subject loves to read.  Her eyes and the leaves are in focus.

Candid and street portraits

It’s fun to go someplace and look for people and scenes to photograph.  It can be at a farmer’s market, or at a backyard barbecue.  An interesting scene,a face that has character, and good lighting can create a spontaneous photo shoot.   Be prepared!  Take your camera everywhere you go!

Conceptual portraits

You don’t have to be deep.  All this means is you set up a scene.  You’ll get the concept of conceptual when you see the examples.  Use your imagination and you can create an in an image that will turn into a conversation piece.


Think beyond selfies!!!  Selfies have given self-portraits a bad name.  Have a great idea for a unique portrait?  Make it happen!
If you want to have complete control over your subject, BE THE SUBJECT!    
Tips: Use a tripod.  Put your shutter on self-timer 10 seconds.  After the shot, look at the image.  Do you need to change your position, lighting or focus?  Make your adjustments, and try again.  

Family and group portrait

This category is self-explanatory.   A group is more than one!  
Here’s an important question:  Are you a part of the group?  The answer isn’t complicated.  It doesn’t become a “group self portrait”. It’s still a group.  However, you will need a tripod, unless you have a very very long arm.

Pet portrait

Unless your pet has been professionally trained to star in motion pictures, this can be tricky, but so worth the effort.  Some of your worst shots can end up bringing peals of laughter.  It doesn’t have to be a dog or cat.  Could be a chicken, hamster, or your cuddly pet boa constrictor. (Don’t try to pose your boa constrictor, and your hamster together. That could turn out very badly.)

Traditional portrait

This is what comes to mind when you think of a portrait.  The person is looking at the camera.  The lighting and plain background helps the person look their best. It remains popular because it’s so flattering to the subject.    
Ok, so this example is not what you expected.  We all know what the traditional portrait looks like. Think Audrey Hepburn.  But you have to admit,that is a very flattering photo of the deer.  She is using it as her profile picture on her Instagram account.
Let’s skim over the traditional portrait.  Leave that one to the professionals.  DO NOT as a hobbyist, agree to be the photographer at your close friend’s wedding. You will no longer have them as close friends, and they will not have good wedding pictures.  

2. Wildlife Photography

You don’t have to go to Africa to get wildlife shots.  You can go to the Chaffee Zoo or…..even in YOUR BACKYARD!
When you’re sitting in your living room watching the apocalypse on the cable news networks, and you hear that familiar chirping of a squirrel or see a bird flutter about, grab your camera.


For point and shoot cameras, put your camera on Sports Mode.  DSLR and mirrorless users, you can use shutter priority, and set your camera to anywhere from 1/500 to 1/1000 (which is way faster than you can say, “Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker).  
Position your camera in the area where the critter activity is, then be patient. When the opportunity arises, snap away.  It may take 100 shots to get one good one.  That’s the norm.  
If you find yourself loving wildlife photography, then you may want to invest in a zoom lens that’s capable of getting close up and personal to those photogenic creatures.  Horn Photo staff will be happy to find the lens that’s perfect for your camera, needs and checkbook.   

3.  Sports and Action Photography

Action and sports photography simply means capturing something fast moving. There are two basic ways photograph something moving fast.  You should ask yourself, “Do I want to freeze the action? Or do I want to show motion?” 

Freeze the action

Tips:  Set your camera on the Sports Mode.  DSLR and mirrorless users, if you are using Shutter Priority Mode, set your shutter speed to 1/500or faster (i.e. 1/1000)

To show motion

Tips:  Using Shutter Priority Mode, start with setting your shutter speed to 1/250. Check your images frequently, and adjust your shutter faster or slower depending on how they look.

Tips for ALL action shots:  

Plan ahead.  Figure out the best place to see where the action is.  For example:  It may not be on the sidelines of your kid’s soccer game, it’s probably going to be near the goal.  In other words, try to predict where the action is likely to be.
Shoot in bursts.  Put your camera into the continuous drive mode.
Focus.  If you don’t have a really fast auto focus, come and get a better camera and lens from Horn Photo.  Or...put your camera on manual focus, and pre-focus on a spot where you anticipate the action to occur.  When your shots come out blurry…then come into Horn Photo and get a better camera and lens.  We promise we won’t say “I told you so!”
Don’t miss the face.  The best action shots include the expression of the subject.  
Position yourself down low.  This is a handy little trick that professionals use.  When you shoot from a low angle, your subject will look large.  This creates a more dramatic and powerful feeling to the image.
Shoot with two eyes open.  It is a very effective way of tracking where the action is going and will help you get the shot.  This may take a little practice.  
Zoom in with your lens.  In most instances, you will not be able to be physically close to the action.  That means, you’ll have to have a lens that can get in close to the action.  
If you really get into action photography, come see us at Horn Photo. We’ll find the best lens for what you want to shoot, and the only thing we’ll want in return is your love, respect and money.
Use a fast memory card.  When you shoot in bursts, your camera will slow down if your memory card cannot keep up with the speed of your shots.  Easily solved, but you have to have the right memory card.  Check out our cards here 

4.  What if I want to take landscapes?  Should I hurry up and take some before everything burns up?

Yes!  Get out there quickly!  Unless you like the charred look.  Then, relax, sit back and watch some more cable news.  Or Dancing with the Stars.  
We live close to several areas that legendary landscape photographer shave made a career photographing. Yosemite, Sequoias, Big Sur, San Francisco, Fresno Wastewater Treatment Plant, etc.  Maybe the masters have not photographed the treatment plant, but you could be the first to build your photographic legacy on that local gem.
You don’t have to be in a popular scenic view turnout to get a landscape picture that you love.  It can be in your own backyard.


Composition.  Set your lens at it’s widest point.  Check out your image through the camera and see what you want to include in the picture and what you don’t want to include in the picture. Here are some things to consider when composing your shot:
Often, having a foreground feature can add depth and interest to your shot.
Incorporating leading lines into your frame, will draw the viewers eyes to the main feature of your image.  
Aperture: Use the Landscape Mode on your camera, or your Aperture Priority.  If using your Aperture Priority, set your aperture to f/8 or higher (f/11, etc.). This allows for more to be in focus.
Use a tripod.  Enough said.  You will get the sharpest clearest landscape shots with a tripod.  Once you fall in love with landscape photography, a tripod will be the first thing on your Christmas wish list.  
If you truly are opposed to getting a tripod, there is a DIY solution.  Simply build a three legged structure out of either aluminum or carbon fiber.  Make sure that it can change in height and is collapsible.  When you’ve finished that,then engineer and fabricate a top for this structure that will accommodate your specific camera and allow it to move any way you want it to.  
Check out our tripods here
Filters:  If you fall in love with landscape photography, consider checking into lens filters. They will greatly improve the quality of your shots. They are in the camera bags of most serious landscape photographers.  Polarizing filters cut out glare, make for the bluest of skies, and clear water.  Neutral density filters allow you to take stunning pictures of moving water (such as waterfalls, streams, waves, etc.) on bright sunny days.  Whenever there is a very wide range of light areas and dark areas, filters are your way of capturing the feeling of the scene.  
This picture could not have been done without a neutral density filter.
Wide angle lens.  Landscape photography and a wide angle lens go hand-in-hand.  If you find yourself getting into this type of photography, come in and see us.  We’ll find the perfect wide angle lens for you, your camera and your checkbook.  We have a huge variety of wide angle lenses to choose from.  We also have practical wide angle to telephoto lenses that you can use for all types of photography. SHOP FILTERS, CAMERAS, LENS AMD MORE HERE 

5. What is macro photography?

Macro photography is all about making a tiny object look big.  Anyone can take a macro shot, anywhere and anytime there’s available light.  It’s fun and it’s easy.  Inside and outside, there’s no limit of subjects for macro.  
Here’s some examples of everyday things turned into interesting macro photos:

Tips for shooting macro:

Your digital camera probably has a Macro Mode you can use.  This will allow for close-up shooting and for you to get some fun shots.
You’ll need to stabilize your camera, so it’s best not to hand-hold it when doing extreme close-up work.  You’ll either need a tripod or a clamp.  Use your self timer, or a cable release to reduce camera shake when shooting the picture.
For those of you who have DSLR or mirrorless cameras, you have increased options for taking more intricate macro pictures.  If you have a versatile lens (wide angle to telephoto) it may already have macro capabilities.  
It’s hard not to fall in love with shooting macro.  If you find yourself wanting to get into more advanced macro photography, there are lenses made for shooting macro, but are not limited to just that.  Macro lenses also take beautiful portraits.

There are less expensive options, as well.  You can use extension tubes that attach between your lens and your camera.   For around $100 you can get a decent set of extension tubes.  SHOP NOW

6. Does black & white photography inspire you?

Black and white photography can simply make your images more compelling. This genre has a very long history – as long as photography itself.  
Black and white photography is clearer and cleaner.  Busy, color saturated photos can be distracting.  Sometimes, there’s simply too much going on.  Landscapes can appear more dramatic and powerful when they are in black and white.   
In portraits, black and white photographs can enhance the subject’s expression, emotion and character.  In other words, a black and white portrait can create a clearer picture of the subject’s personality, than a color picture.
Look at this picture of the girls running through the flower garden. What do you notice about the picture? The flowers? Or the joy on the girls faces as they run through the garden?  If this picture were in color, would their expressions still be the prominent feature of the photograph?  

Tips for black and white photography:

Many of your digital cameras will be able to turn a color image into black and white after you take the picture.  If not, then set your camera to the Black and White mode, or Monochrome mode, and start shooting.  
Your most colorful scenes tend to make for the best black and white shots, because they will contain the greatest contrast.  Look for color contrast, as well as texture contrast.  
However, a muted foggy day makes great black and white images.  Scenes with only a smattering of color or texture variety can create a fine image possessing  a softer look.
In portraits, make sure the eye is in sharp focus.
 Print your favorite images!  Try printing them on our fine art paper.   CHECK IT OUT



7. What’s it take to do street photography?

Street photography always tells a story.  It has some of the same characteristics of photo journalism.  It is usually candid photography done in a public place.  
Street photography generally involves people and/or animals in a populated environment, which provides the background for the story.  The photo can tell the story of everyday life, of special or unusual events or people.
When practicing street photography, you can either try to go unnoticed so that your subjects will act naturally, or let your subject know that you would like to photograph them.  
All you need is your camera and your observation skills.  You will want to blend in, and be ready to shoot at any time.

Tips for street photography:  

Use a versatile wide angle to telephoto zoom lens.
Set your camera on Auto or Program mode to start.
No tripod needed!
Pay attention to what’s going around you .
See what your pictures look like in black and white.


Need help understanding basic photography?
For information on basic photography, such as understanding the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO, we encourage you to watch a recording of Aaron Rogers class:
Thanks for reading!