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How to Make Winning Photographs

Updated on September 19, 2014

How to Make Winning Photographs

How to take and make winning photographs! Photographs are an integral part of our lives, a way of communicating, helping others to "get the picture." Capturing nature in an artsy way, running with athletes to capture the moment of victory, being there at the exact moment in time, when something rare and beautiful happened your way. Being able to share with others, inspiring others, showing others something they would never get to see otherwise, are all reasons to capture a photo.

Winning is relevant! If your photos convey to others what you wanted to "say" with pictures, then you have a winning photo. If you aspire to win at contests then it becomes more of a self-motivation to compete with others who are trying to "say" it the best way, too. Either way, you're a winner if you want to learn and improve ~ for surely, one day, holding THE photograph that has folks looking twice will surely be a moment of victory!

All photos by me, Bev Lemley ~ all rights reserved.

Before technical aspects...

...you have to have opportunities...

Make Your Opportunities

Make your opportunities for a winning picture! Flowers such as pentas, sedums, coneflowers, salvias, and other great nectar plants will create a haven of photographic studies. Many times you can find plants on sale; annuals are easy to care for and bloom beautifully all summer. Purples, reds, oranges, and yellows and blues (what's your favorite color?), make wonderful contrasting photos with many types of butterflies. The lovely whites and sometimes yellows have a tendency to "bounce" the light a little on photos, but add white and yellow, too ~ the bugs won't know the difference. Create a haven for bugs to start a great ecosystem, which will encourage them to come back each year ~ put your yard on their migratory path! See my article about the value of a great eco system in Linking to our Future for more info and pictures.

Allow clover to grow in your yard ~ I allow clover one extra week before I mow. Bees and small butterflies love these, and a host of other interesting insects. Allow some patches of "weeds," or nature's flowers, to grow. They can be mowed back down quickly before the majority goes to seed, and in a week you may have an opportunity to capture some great photos of bees and butterflies flying and sipping nectar. Plus, you're definitely helping the environment! Insects in the Garden will perhaps motivate you to keep it simple, and pesticide free!

For the Future

Plant Japanese maples, burning bush and other great trees known for their fall colors, and Nandina for their beautiful red clustering berries ~ and as a food source in winter for the birds. Create a beautiful garden setting for year-round landscape pictures ~ and for wonderful outside enjoyment! The spring-flowering Redbud, azaleas, snowball bush will provide food for bees, early butterflies, and just plain beauty worth capturing against a beautiful spring sky. Cherry trees, even "wild" cherries provide food for birds in spring. The beauty of flowering bulbs cannot be beat as they simply bring a newness to life after a long winter. A Walk in a Spring Garden may give some ideas for making your opportunities in a spring garden.

Flowering summer bushes, such as roses, lantana, butterfly bushes, abelias, will definitely be great attractants for many butterflies and bees, and even one of my favorites, the crab spider ~ I know! A Walk in a Summer Garden shows off my eco system and may give you some ideas for planting your opportunities in a summer garden.

I will sneak in a little technical aspect here: Depth of field. When you are planning and making your opportunities, think about your background for great shots. If the background is blurry, what will the mix of colors look like; if it's not, will the background add to it or detract? Ideally, the background will add to the picture whether the depth of field is shallow or not. More about the technical aspects later.

Of course, There's Family! Human Nature and Nurture...

Go where your heart leads! Family pictures are treasures! Make plans for a full family get-together. A friend recently told me of an upcoming extended family beach retreat ~ 26 family members, from 7 years to 82 years-old! She was excited about capturing pictures from the reunion; they will be treasures in the years to come!

Pets always will capture hearts of others and bring back wonderful memories, too!

Taking Opportunities

There are certain seasons for butterflies, birds, insects, trees, flowers, even dragonflies to come to your area. The time they are there depends on if your yard has larvae-friendly places for them to stick around and raise a brood or two. You may have a food source as they pass through; this could be just a couple of hours! Birds may stay for a week or so or a whole winter (brrr! taking a picture!) Dragonflies are after mosquitos, so maybe you'll be lucky (or unlucky?!) and have them for a while in the summer. If you have planted nectar sources, which brings the bugs, which brings the butterflies, which in turn brings the birds, then you are on your way to capturing winning photographs! How to Attract Songbirds will show you a very happy eco system, birds included!

Even the time of day will create a perfect ambiance for your photo. The morning and afternoon sun can give a glow. Think about how the light will affect your photo ~ and it does! Take the opportunity in the later afternoon, two to three hours, before sunset. Most sources say one hour before dusk. I have better luck a tad earlier. But try different times as they come through the day to find that right twinkle for your photo. The right time can really put a glow, or a certain highlight on a flower, an eye on a bug, or a glint that's not glaring on a wing. It can highlight details without washing them out. The high, noon day sun may be okay if you have a great canopy of trees. If not, and it's glaring, you will probably have glaring photos ~ and that's not too good!

Be Prepared!

NOTE TO SELF:

ALWAYS have a pocket camera with you if possible. If you see a sunset and you're traveling, you will be able to capture the beauty. But not if your camera is at home!

The Sun and Moon...

...may always shine, but at certain times they look better ~ so take golden opportunities! The cycles of the moon afford great opportunities...take the challenge for a great moon shot! No space shuttle needed! And if it's a sunrise over the ocean you're after on vacation, set the tripod up the night before, and the alarm. You will have just a few minutes before your great opportunity is gone. Sunsets are more forgiving, lasting longer ~ but if you are traveling, you better have that pocket camera ready to take out; you can't take a picture if your camera is at home!

Rain ~ A Great Opportunity!

Rain, rain! If you are lucky enough to have rain, and then the sun comes out, jump for your camera if possible, and head outside! Look for drops of rain hanging from flowers and leaves, anything, practically! Even with today's smaller pocket cameras, you might be able to catch a great macro shot of something being reflected in a water drop. This is my absolute favorite personal challenge. There is great art in a raindrop! Again, the lighting has to be just right. So the angle of the drop and the sun is an opportunity you have to take at that moment. Trust me, it won't wait!

Keep Your Opportunities

Once you've created some good opportunities for great pictures, make sure you keep them! Don't use pesticides or herbicides at all. I know this is a bit strong, but the way things are going today, try to go TRUE GREEN! That means you're not halfway, you're truly Green! The life cycles that get started, the ecosystems are incredible. The bonus for you is healthier living, less stress, and a fatter pocketbook!

What you see every day...

...may not be something anyone else ever gets to see.

Don't take for granted what you have readily at hand. Share it with others around the world ~ they may be interested ~ or have to do a report on it!

Crop and Chop!

Learning to crop your pictures to their maximum potential is a great tool. Cropping brings attention, bringing out details that may never be seen otherwise.

The fact that you can see details in a butterfly's wing, a bee's knee, or a Granddaddy Long-legs' eye is pretty cool! Who wouldn't want to look twice at that! Learn to crop ~ and chop away!

A Granddaddy Long-legs' eye ~ up close!

I will have to look for a bee's knee ~ maybe this Granddaddy Long-leg's eye will work, instead! I hope you can see how cropping and chopping will greatly assist in getting those second looks ~ crop away!

With some practice, you can take your shots with the angle and perspective you want, so cropping can be somewhat minimized. But it isn't less cropping that's the goal; it's the perspective!

What's your idea...

What is your idea of a winning photograph?

See results

Your Best Friends!

Digital memory cards and file storage/organizers are your best friends! Take as many pictures as you have an opportunity to take, they're basically free ~ just take and erase! You can learn a great deal from looking at the pictures uploaded, and see what you like and what doesn't work. Practice makes perfect! I use Picasa 3, which really has made many improvements and now is a great system for file storage and organization.

One more thing! I know there are many technical aspects that will make a great picture. I cover some in A Picture Perfect Gift. But one of the best friends for great pictures is to set your camera to autofocus ~ and learn as you have time, along the way. Don't miss the great opportunities while fiddling with your settings.

Learning how your camera works, how to set it, and what works best for you, as far as your understanding and capabilities; even what time of day and how your environment is, all affect the outcome of your pictures. Autofocus is amazing in that it takes all these things into account, and poof, it's done correctly and near perfectly! I have even learned a lot from reading the autofocus settings on the pictures that turned out the best to me ~ Picasa gives the photo properties with photo info. Of course this isn't an exact science, but it's a foothold. There are some great website links I'll pass along to you in a bit ~ these are your best friends, too!

Planning Ahead ~ Entering Contests - So you now have the picture...

...and now you need a plan! If you would like to enter photographic contests, then scour the web, looking for places your work will fit. Pay attention to deadlines, and the size of the picture; both are critical! Learning more about pixels and resizing as you go along will be essential and become second nature. The few contests I've entered, the sizes were clearly stated and so were the deadlines. I've learned the hard way that putting it off to the last few days only makes a rushed product and not enough thought. Putting your work out there in front of others to be judged and critiqued takes time to finalize your decision.

One more thing, rename your picture, so folks having to view them can make notes easier; numbers are harder to keep up with. Make it user friendly. And good luck! I have come out with some top picks, and I've been at the bottom, unrecognized except for an acknowledgement email. Entering contests helps to keep you on your toes ~ and you never know, you may just be a winner! And if nothing else, it's a huge learning experience. Learning to look at your pictures objectionably, as other see them, makes you see the flaws and dings easier. Yes, a great learning tool, indeed!

Know Your Pixels! AND THE WINNER IS?! - Great Resources for Un-perplexing Your Pixels!

Picture Correct Is one of the greatest websites for learning about taking pictures and about camera equipment ~ it's fun, easy to understand, recommends some terrific tools to use, and I'm glad it's there, free to use.

Digital Photography School, lIkewise, is a terrific source.

The following come as recommendations from the award winning editor of the "The Hem-alina", the Region 15 publication of the American Hemerocallis Society, Ms. Linda Sue Barnes. Thank you, Linda Sue!

Linda Sue reports that this is a great video on how to do amazing garden photography, Gavtrain-Photography Training, discussing aperture and depth of field, the blurry backgrounds and in-focus ones, and getting all the flowers in focus.

Photonaturalist has some free articles and some for nominal fees. One article is called "13 Tips for Wildflower Photography," as a pay-download, and one on dragonflies, a PDF file that's free.

New York Institute of Photography, has some free offerings, along with their photography course. They offer a lot of info to photographers at the level they wish to pursue.

I encourage you to use these as online classes, to gain as much knowledge as possible; different opinions combined will give you a better picture of how to take winning photographs!

And to see which ones of these photos in this lens have held a finishing place in a contest, please visit "The Hem-alina" to find out! Look in last year's edition, as well. I think you would be a bit surprised which of my friends made 1st place! I am greatly honored by this recognition, and my hat is off to my little garden buddy!

What's the Best Advice for Capturing "Winning" Pictures?

I'm certainly no expert, especially with technicalities!

I hope you weren't looking for technical answers, as I rely on learning as I go, knowing my camera, and what works, and making plenty of mistakes.

Like the great photographer Steve Kaye said, you can take thousands to get a few good ones!

Here are some suggestions ~ the last one is the one I rely on most:

  • Practice!
  • Explore!
  • Study other folks' work! And study your own, see what works and what doesn't ~ that's the best teacher!
  • Experiment!
  • Know all about your camera ~ experiment with the bells and whistles!
  • Learn all you can ~ the links listed near the bottom are very helpful!
  • Take many pictures ~ it takes many to get a few good ones!
  • Look at your picture as others see it, very critically!!

    Join REDBUBBLE, it's free, for great critiquing from others!

  • Appreciate how light plays on an object!
  • Preserve Nature's gifts ~ learn to use Nature's gifts and educate others, inspire them to be True Green!
  • Take time to take photos.
  • Appreciate your time behind a camera ~ it is probably a blessing to have the time and the place ~ capture the moment as you want to share it with others.
  • Photography is as much about feeling and angles as it is equipment and pixels!
  • Visit my lens NATURE IN MOTION for more ideas!
  • I would be honored to see your work! Let me know where I can enjoy your picts!
  • Who would have thought?!!! That attaching a picture takes on your emailing stipulations. Ms. Linda Sue Barnes, the award winning editor of the "The Hem-alina" our regional daylily journal, kindly pointed out to me that my submissions were basically thumbnail size. I certainly had to figure that one out! Making sure they were sent as attachments and not straight emails, the only thing to try was adjust the email setting. I set it to send as original size, and it went perfect. I would never have guessed sending as an attachment took on the email setting. So be forewarned! Not many people will have an editor so kind as to spend time helping you to figure it out ~ I am indeed blessed to be so kindly helped!

    Before submission, send one to yourself and double-check it. I broke one of my own rules, waiting until the last minute. NEVER a good idea!

  • Don't forget to use prayer ~ it works!

Enjoy the Show ~ Encourage Others!

In this big world, as it spins, pictures are being taken and passed around. They make us laugh, remind us of great trips and memories, they hold a place for us to come back to, make us smile, and sometimes make us cry, even ~ and they certainly help others to "get" the picture!

Scenes from nature can make us restful and help us to unwind and de-stress. Designing with Nature shows just how seeing a rainbow or a scene from a place you have visited, seeing mountains or a sunrise every day in your home can uplift your spirits and become a place in your life that's worth holding on to. Pictures can do all that!

So whether you take a "winning" photograph that gets published in a magazine or online, or you take a photograph that stays on your desk or is passed around amongst friends, bringing great memories and family together, you will have a winning photograph!

Nature is Art!

Just a note ~ Zazzle cards are excellently printed, the colors are vibrant. The card stock is excellent and there is no "smear fear" for writing on the inside. I was amazed at the quality, truly a work of art! These could be framed or put on a desk and enjoyed. Nature is Art, after all! Thank you for stopping by!

Images are available on cards, stamps, kitchen towels, coasters, even men's ties, which are created from nature's art and spun into interesting designs ~ check them out! I appreciate your visit!

...and share your love of photography in any way you would like!

© 2012 Beverly Lemley

May I ask you to sign the guestbook...

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    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @LouisaDembul: Ahh, that sounds lovely! I have not been doing so good lately keeping a camera with me and have missed a lot of beautiful sunsets ~ why do I do that?! Thanks for stopping by. B : )

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      LouisaDembul 4 years ago

      Very beautiful photos! We try to carry a camera with us all the time, capturing nature and city life in a grand mixture as we go along.

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @DANCING COWGIRL: Thank you! I think getting out and taking pictures is the best class there is. Study them and crop in on the best parts, and finding what parts you like best, and what you want to improve on or do more of. Best wishes to you, too! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      Dancing Cowgirl Design 4 years ago from Texas

      What beautiful photos. I love to take pictures and have a zillion of them but nothing like this. I hope I have absorbed some of your great advice so I can do better from now on. Best Wishes

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @takkhisa: Thank you for the great support! Thanks for stopping by! B : )

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      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Amazing photos! Thanks for the all advices.

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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @LittleLindaPinda: Thank you, Linda! You are amazingly supportive and so kind ~ thank you for your kind words and thoughtfulness! Your support means so much! B : )

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      Little Linda Pinda 4 years ago from Florida

      Just had to see your fabulous photographs again. Beautiful detail and so stunning.

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      Little Linda Pinda 4 years ago from Florida

      I just love your photograph.

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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @vinodkpillai lm: Thank you for your kind support and encouragement, Vinodkpillai! B : )

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      vinodkpillai lm 4 years ago

      For me photography is a life long passion, but right now I am only marveling and savoring the stunning beauty in the images that you have laid out on this page. Great lens - no wonder it was awarded the purple star!

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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @rob-hemphill: Thank you, Rob ~ you're very kind! Thank you so much for stopping by! B : )

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      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      These are super photos, you have a great eye for composition and detail.

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @Linda BookLady: Thank you for the kind words! Christmas is coming, you know! A new camera does make a great gift ~ a new camera in the family is a gift to the whole family! See my lens for A Picture Perfect Gift! Thanks for stopping by! B : )

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      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      What an amazing collection of photographs! You're making me want to buy a better camera!

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @anonymous: Yes, you're right ~ having fun usually shows up in the photos, doesn't it! Thanks so much for stopping by, J! B : )

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your lens is very helpful and the best part is having fun at it.

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @DIY Mary: Great! Glad to hear you are taking up a wonderful hobby, that will bring great joy and memories, too! Enjoy the beauty and fun! B : )

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      DIY Mary 4 years ago

      I am a fledgling amateur photographer and I find your tips to be very helpful and inspiring. Great photos, too!

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @vinodkpillai lm: Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, Vinodkpillai! My camera is pretty forgiving on the technicalities, even on the manual setting, so I am pretty much spoiled, I'm afraid! Thank you for your nice comments ~ you certainly made my day! B : )

    • vinodkpillai lm profile image

      vinodkpillai lm 5 years ago

      After seeing the pics on this lens I feel that when you can accomplish such brilliance with your camera, you can as well forget technicalities! Absolutely beautiful pics and overall a great lens that I enjoyed going through. Thanks for sharing!!

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @Andrej977 LM: I hope you will consider the Sony A-55! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      Andrej977 LM 5 years ago

      Nice pictures. I have to buy new camera.

      Thanks

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @gypsyman27 lm: Thank you for stopping by! Thank you for your kind words ~ see you 'round! B : )

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

      You have some good photography here, well done. See you around the galaxy...

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @golfspice: Great! I hope you will check out the Sony DSLRs! They're a personal favorite and I think Consumer Report's top pick in one category, don't remember the category. Thank you for stopping by. Good luck with the shopping, and I hope to see some of your work! B : )

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      golfspice 5 years ago

      Great photos, advice and tips. Just planning to purchase a new camera and get back into photography, so your photos have inspired me to do so even more.

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @nicks44: Thank you, Nicks44! Thank you for signing the guestbook and for those awesome comments ~ that's terrific! Have a terrific day! B : )

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      nicks44 5 years ago

      Just simply amazing! Great tips and stunning pics ... Need I say more, aaa yes ... *signs the guestbook* ... There ya go! :)

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @Mami Design: Thank you, MamiDesign! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      Mami Design 5 years ago

      Simply amazing photographs!

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @anonymous: Yes, God gives us so many wonderful things. I guess that's one reason I get upset to see chemicals and pesticides just used so abundantly, without even thinking, it seems! What's a few bugs, when it feeds another creature?! That's the way it was intended! Ah, don't get me started on that!

      I use the Sony A-55, and the Sony H7, and lately I've added a Fuji, as that was a good shockproof, waterproof, and heatproof to stick in my bag for a trip to the beach. I don't think I've posted any pictures with it, yet. But I did catch a rainbow picture the other day because I did have it with me ~ yeah! As I'm terrible about not sticking it in...

      Thank you, Bugbytes! I will have to go check out your lenses and see if you have any great bug picts or other words of spiritual encouragement ~ I hope so! Thank you for your nice comments and support ~ I will not turn down the LOTD if that should be ~ LOL! That would be really cool! Thank you for that encouragement! And thanks for stopping by! B : )

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks again for this wonderful lens! It appears we both know and love the same Creator who places these wonderful opportunities to capture the beauty of His work all around us. Congratulations on the Purple Star! I actually had a question for you too: what camera do you use? Oh, wait, you already have a lens for that, I'll go read it now... :)

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @getwellsoon: Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words! B : )

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @JoshK47: Thanks, Josh! Think what you could do with all your opportunities at Disney World! Get a good point and shooter and you will love it. Cherish those family memories with some great picts. Some are water, shock and even heat resistant should it need to stay in the car a bit. I got a Fuji for some of these needs, and it takes wonderful pictures, with a lot of different settings to choose from, like sunsets, night time, sports ~ easy to use, too. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your picts! Thank you for the blessing! B : )

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Great guide! I need to get myself a camera besides my camera phone... blessed by a SquidAngel!

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      getwellsoon 5 years ago

      love these pictures and the tips! Thank you!

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @AngelaKane: I'm glad to hear you enjoy photography is a hobby ~ I know you get a lot of enjoyment out of it! Thank you for your kind support ~ and for stopping by! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @JoyfulReviewer: Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind support ~ and the blessing! B : )

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      AngelaKane 5 years ago

      Definitely and this lens is very good. Your picture and suggestions are excellent. My favorite hobbies are taking photos and looking at photos.

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      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Amazing photos and truly helpful tips. ~~Blessed~~

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @purpleslug: Thank you for your visit ~ I would love to have a suggestion for you! I visited your work and it is incredible. Your lovely art work speaks for itself! I will think about it and see if I have a suggestion. Experimentation is key. And what is off that you're not getting? Is the work not presenting itself as you see it through a photo? Try angles and playing with the light. Perhaps you could place the piece on a perfect contrasting piece of fabric ~ I wonder if something as elegant as velvet would be an asset here? You don't want the glass to reflect any light, either from the camera or overhead, it will wash out your details. I suggest you put the piece in a brightly lit room, without any light that could be picked up in the glass ~ though a subtle distant play with light might give "romantic" effect. The lighting issue could be tricky, as you want to highlight your lovely work and not reflect a light bulb, per se. The creativity that I see in your work will carry you through to figuring out what you are looking for, to portrait in the photos what you are able to see. I agree with you, presenting your work is quite critical to making the "awe" happen immediately. I would love to work with this to see if I can help. I have a piece of glass that has colors in it. I'll experiment and see if I can have some more specific ideas. Good luck, and if you get what you're looking for, I hope I can see your results! I enjoyed the visit! Thanks! B : )

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      purpleslug 5 years ago

      I have so much trouble taking the photos of my glass work. I think alot of my problem is the props I use? I am going to try some of the sites you suggested. Any tips would help! You can surely see God's work through your camera.

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @anonymous: Thank you for your kind support! I appreciate the visit! B : )

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens and photo.... so quality. Super.

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @imjens: Great! You'll love keeping a record of your soccer games and friends and stuff. There are some great cameras out there, too, that aren't too expensive! I hope it becomes a lifelong hobby, one that's very fulfilling! Cheers! B : )

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      imjens 5 years ago

      Good tips! I really want to get into photos, and this definitely made me wanna go out and take some snaps!

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @dancerene: I'm glad you have found the online resources helpful ~ I hope you have fun with some of them! Thank you for your nice comments and for the great visit! Thank you! B : )

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      dancerene 5 years ago

      Amazing photography. The photos are beautiful. The list of free online resources is great. Thanks.

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @manutara69: I'm glad you did! I appreciate your visit and the nice comments! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @jayaramas: Well, I don't know about that! Thank you for your great encouragement and it's nice to know others that enjoy the same hobby! Thank you for your kind comments and for the visit! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @MayaIxchel: Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind visit! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @TheMinuteIdea LM: I appreciate the very kind thoughts! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @gatornic15: Thank you so much for your kind encouragement ~ and for the SquidAngel blessing ~ that's very cool! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      manutara69 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I learned something new today. Thanks!

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      jayaramas 5 years ago

      i am doing it as a hobby from 35 years but i am nothing in front of you.

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      MayaIxchel 5 years ago

      Nice lens with great photos!

    • TheMinuteIdea LM profile image

      TheMinuteIdea LM 5 years ago

      Brilliant lens, you are a very talented photographer :). Thanks for sharing this with us

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      gatornic15 5 years ago

      What beautiful photographs. Congratulations on your Purple Star...Blessed

    • BLemley profile image
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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @LeopoldBlatt: Thank you so much, Leopold-Blatt! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @anne mohanraj: Thank you for your kind regards! I appreciate your visit! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @anne mohanraj: Thank you! I appreciate the congrats ~ and thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      LeopoldBlatt 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens, excellent photos. I enjoyed it.

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      anne mohanraj 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! Congratulations on your Purple Star!

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      anne mohanraj 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! Congratulations on your Purple Star!

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @pawpaw911: Thank you for being so kind ~ and for making my day, PawPaw! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @SteveKaye: Thank you, Steve! I have added many of your photography lenses to the lens list for others to check out your great ideas and knowledge and help in capturing the photos ~ I hope you don't mind! Thank you! Thank you for your lovely comments and for stopping by! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @SheGetsCreative: Thank you so much! Thank you for stopping by! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @kimmykova: Thank you, Kimmykova, for your really nice comments ~ and for your visit! I hope you enjoy taking photos, too! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @TheresaMarkham: Wow ~ you just really got me going this morning! Thank you so much for your very kind thoughts and for your visit! I hope you enjoy taking pictures, too! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @jlshernandez: Ahh, you can read about that hummingbird in the list of suggestions. It was truly a God-given moment! When I see the picture, that's what I see! I know you will have many happy moments with your camera and being out in nature! Happy Snappin'! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @LynetteBell: Thank you for the congrats! I appreciate your really lovely comments and visit! I have seen some awesome photos on the mobile phones ~ Especially when they caught the moment! It seems we don't mind fuzzy at all when it's an amazing something going on that someone was there to catch ~ try setting up the tripod for that! Thank you for your visit! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @tfsherman lm: Thank you for your lovely visit! LOL ~ I have very special nectar! Just kidding! Thank you for stopping by B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @GonnaFly: What a lovely comment ~ Thank you! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @mbgphoto: Thank you for your nice comments and for stopping by ~ you're right about there is always something to learn! That makes it fun and challenging! B : )

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @robertzimmerman2: Thank you, Robert!

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      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Beautiful photos. All of them made me say, "Ahhh." Wish you the best.

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      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Lovely lens :)

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      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Great advice, and absolutely gorgeous photographs. I'm a little jealous :) Love the cropped spider.

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      kimmykova 5 years ago

      What a beautiful lens you have here! Love it...Thanks

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      TheresaMarkham 5 years ago

      You are an amazingly talented photographer! Very awesome, very awesome! (And great photography info & tips too!)

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      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      I have only started to enjoy taking pictures of birds and the outdoors. One thing is still a challenge for me, and that is capturing a hummingbird while it is hovering over a flower.

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      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Love the photos! Congratulations on your purple star. Well worth it. My photos are taken with my mobile phone. I'm not very good with my digital!

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      tfsherman lm 5 years ago

      These are so gorgeous! My pictures always seem to turn out fuzzy. I don't see how you get that butterfly to hold still.

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      Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

      Wonderful! Your photos are delightful.

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      Mary Beth Granger 5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I really enjoyed your lens. I love taking photographs and there is always so much to learn. Thanks for the great tips.

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      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      Great tips, thanks!

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @BarbaraCasey: The raindrops were with my Sony A-55 with a macro and tripod, and a lot of tries to get the angle right. It's certainly true about the sun and the angle of everything! It's fun trying! I do use a Sony H-7, that gets fantastic photos without as much effort. I love them both and have learned not to fret if I can't do the same with either camera; they both have their strong points.

      Can you get close to the magnolia? If you could, a regular lens, sort of up close, and angled to where you capture the interesting parts would be cool. You would have to catch it without too much bright sun, or it would probably reflect and wash out the pict a bit. I would go with a midmorning, trying to catch the light just right. You may have to experiment and think about it. This is also a good example of how there are just a few days in the year you can get this shot, maybe a few weeks, depending on when the blossoms still look great. I think the magnolia blossom only lasts one day? If so, the morning, especially, since it will start fading away in the afternoon. I'd bet the seed cone would be a great pict, too, again, playing off the sun's effect(s). Good luck! I would love to see the magnolia pict and/or the seed cone when you get it! Thank you so much for stopping by, and for the wonderful comments! B : )

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      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      You didn't take these photos with a pocket camera, did you? The shots of the flowers in the raindrops are amazing. I stalk the neighborhood when the magnolia trees are blooming, wishing I had a telephoto lens, but still manage to get a few good pictures. Wonderful photo lens!

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      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @kburns421 lm: Thank you, kburns421! I appreciate that you found a bit in the lens that was a new thought ~ that's always wonderful to hear! Thank you for your visit and your kind support! I'd bet you would enjoy taking some nature shots every now and then ~ try it! I would love to see what you find in your "niche of nature"! B : )

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      kburns421 lm 5 years ago

      Really good tips! I'm not much of a nature photographer myself, but I have talked to ones who have mentioned some of the same things you did. Some of these tips though I'd never heard and apply to all photography, like how what you see every day might be something other people never see. As humans we do tend to take those things for granted.