So something a bit surprising and unexpected (wait, those two things are basically the same thing, right?) happened yesterday morning. I got an email at about 7:00am, that I opened at about 8:30am because that’s when I woke up. Now, when I wake up, I usually grab my phone to see what time it is or if I’ve gotten a text from my fiancee or anyone else. I noticed 5 notifications in a row of new followers on Instagram…then it kept popping up. Because I only have 5 notifications at a time popping up on my lockscreen from any given app, I had no idea what was in store for me. I opened my phone and saw that I had a new email. I usually wait to open Instagram because I know it’s going to take up some of my time to check my feed.
The email was from Instagram. Weird. I’d never gotten an email from them. Subject: Instagram Suggested User Feature. Feature? Hm. I’d noticed Instagram was changing the way the explore page is laid out and the suggested users are a bit different now too, so I thought it was an email for everyone letting them know of some new features. The very first line of the e-mail read, “Congratulations, can.dido! You are currently featured on Instagram’s list of Suggested Users.” I didn’t believe it. I’ve looked up to many suggested users. I follow quite a bit of them because they are always inspiring me to challenge myself and to keep taking photos. Sure enough, I opened the Instagram app and I had a direct message from Instagram with the same message! Someone had also opened the flood gates of followers.
This isn’t exactly the most important thing to me. I mean, sure, new followers — and lots of them — are cool, but quality over quantity is always preferred. I do understand that with the large amount of new followers there will be some random people that just want to get their follower count up, but maybe somewhere, maybe 1 out of 10 or 50 or 100 or even 1,000 there will be someone that I can inspire as many suggested users have inspired me and that makes it all worth while.
I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said that now I feel a little more pressure to take better pictures. Over the past year, I feel that the quality of my feed has gotten better and it’s because I’m trying to make it better. I’ve also got to collaborate with some awesome people in the Houston area. I’ve actually felt very proud of my feed and felt my photo taking had matured. I changed my username on Instagram from @kryptonkid07 to @can.dido. I chose the former username in high school and it always felt attached to a younger less mature me. Whatever, I guess that’s a bit silly. Anyway, now I feel like I have more eyes on my pictures and I gotta step it up a bit more.
The Suggested User feature, according to the e-mail, cycles. So, even though I am a suggested user now, I may not be later. That’s okay too. I hope that I can give back what Instagram has given me.
I just felt like rambling a bit on what happened to me. I hope this doesn’t come off as bragging, but it’s something that’s pretty exciting to me. Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you. You have an amazing amount of patience.
I really don’t like saying that I’m that great at taking pictures. I know I get some nice shots from time to time, but I squirm when I get compliments. I guess I really shouldn’t. I should be more confident in my own work, and sometimes I can be, then I cringe and think that I probably sound like a jerk.
Anyway, everything I’ve learned about taking photos, has been trial and error. From my brick-like Canon point and shoot I had from about ages 15-17 to my Canon Rebel XTi that my mom bought me as a graduation present when I was about 18, to the camera I’ve had for the past…almost 4 years, my Canon EOS 7D. Point, shoot, check, adjust, point, shoot… you get the idea.
From time to time I get asked about photography techniques or what things do and mean, and I honestly couldn’t tell you with a lot of confidence, especially when it comes to ISO, haha. I just know what’s going to come up when I adjust certain things.
I got asked today about aperture and shutter speed and I wrote a somewhat lengthy (for a facebook message) response. I thought I’d share it for the benefit of whomever reads this — more likely, no one will ever see this. I’m literally copying and pasting my response. Sorry if there’s any grammatical errors or rambling thoughts.
Sorry, I got really busy. So, shutter speed is basically how fast your camera is taking the picture. The higher the number, the faster it takes the photo. 1/80 is a lot slower than 1/1250. So, the faster the shutter is opening and closing, the less light it lets in. Just a tip: your hand shakes whether you realize it or not. 1/80 is about as slow as you’re going to be able to bring the shutter speed and not get a blurry picture hand holding a camera. Now, if you have a tripod, that’s another story.
Aperture is how wide the hole in your lens opens when you take the picture. It’s like your eye, which widens and gets narrow depending on the light. Aperture can give a photo that cool depth of field and blur the background of subject. Depending on the lens, you can have one that opens really wide (for example f/1.4) or the lens that usually comes with the camera which only opens as wide as about f/3.5.
Shutter speed works hand in hand with aperture because if you have your aperture really low (let’s say 1.8) you’re gonna get some super awesome depth of field. But you have to remember that because the opening in the lens is a lot larger, it’s letting in more light so you have to make the shutter open and close faster.
The third basic thing is ISO, but that’s a whole other subject. If you use ISO 100, you’re going to get crisp, clear pictures. Now, sometimes you might have your aperture open all the way to f/1.8 and the shutter speed is as low as you can get holding your camera (let’s say 1/80 or 1/100) but it’s still too dark for a decent picture! Now you gotta mess with your ISO. The higher you go, the more grainy your picture will get — especially if you’re going past ISO 800.
Okay, I just typed a lot… I might copy and paste this on my blog haha. I hope that cleared some stuff up… or possibly made it more confusing (I hope it’s not the latter).
Now I might be wrong about multiple things, but that’s basically how I see those particular things.