Because her Hubs are all-around masterpieces, you might not initially realize that stephhicks68‘s Hubs are filled with gorgeous, original photos, but they are! In addition to being an excellent writer and Hubber, stephhicks68 is a brilliant photographer, which is why we are so excited to have her on the poetry panel of the HubPatron of the Arts contest.
Whether you’re intent on submitting winning photo galleries for this month’s, or simply interested in adding more original photos to your Hubs, you’ll find the following interview with stephhicks68 to be interesting. She offers some great advice!
HubPages: When did you first start taking photos?
stephhicks68: I remember first experimenting with photography when I was at Girl Scout camp. I was probably 11 or 12 and I used one of those old fashioned “Brownie” cameras my grandfather had given to me. He was an excellent photographer who won local contests and often had his work published in tourism guides and on posters in his hometown. Grandpa was definitely my inspiration.
What sort of camera do you shoot with?
Today, I use three different cameras (not including video cameras), depending on the subject and often logistics! I have a digital SLR camera, a Nikon D60, that I’ve owned for about 4 years. I have two lenses, a tripod and various filters. I love the quality of the images, but its cumbersome to carry about. For travel photographs, I often use my smaller Nikon Coolpix S6000. It has a 7x zoom and 14.2 megapixels. Good quality for a small camera. Plus, I can mount it on a tripod, and it takes video as well. With the improvements in cell phone cameras, I’m finding that they can often take decent photographs as well. Often, my subjects are less intimidated by a cell phone, rather than a camera pointed in their direction. And you can use some very interesting applications to make cell phone photographs quite artistic.
What do you think is the most common mistake beginning photographers make when taking photos?
Probably the most common mistake beginning photographers make is to wait for the “perfect” shot. Now that most cameras don’t use film, you should just shoot away, changing your angle, zoom, perspective and experimenting with different lighting. It’s easy to delete images that don’t work. Change the settings on your camera from auto and see what happens. Use of flash often washes out and flattens subjects, so unless you know how to bounce the light and stay the proper distance from your subject, I’d say turn off the flash. In lower light situations, you’ll need a tripod because the shutter speed will slow down to allow for more light to enter and you don’t want a cool photograph ruined by shaky hands.
You have done a lot of travel photography- what sort of advice would you give to folks who want to take gorgeous photos while traveling abroad?
I love travel photography! Its not very hard to capture beautiful images with just a few tips in mind. Snapshots – poses in front of a building or landscape are not my favorite, but if you position people to the side of the viewfinder, or at an interesting angle – looking up from the base of stairs, etc., you might like the results better. Photographing landscapes, vistas and natural settings should always be done without a flash. If you have a portable tripod, I’d recommend using it to improve the sharpness of images. When I’m traveling, I’m always looking for an interesting shot. Perhaps some colorful awnings in a shopping district, or local people engaged in work. Think of your photograph telling a story in a single frame. What will your image convey? Pull your subject in as close as possible and, if necessary, crop out distracting background.
As a judge on the photo panel of the HubPatron of the Arts contest, what will you be looking for in entries?
As a judge on the photo panel for the HubPatron of the Arts contest, I will be looking for excellent composition, compelling images that tell a story, creative use of light, and interesting use of digital image editing software. I am excited to see the entries, and hope that Hubbers will have fun with this contest!
What tips would you give to Hubbers who would like to use more original photos in their Hubs?
For Hubbers that want to use more original images in their Hubs, I would say, just do it! Often, we are our own toughest critic. You might be surprised at the positive responses you will get when you publish Hubs with your own images. Plus, using your own images makes you more of an expert on your subject. If you are writing about a specific location, for example, using your own photographs will show that you were there and given your readers a reason to trust what you are saying in the Hub.
Cooking and recipe Hubs are a great place to showcase your own culinary skills. Taking your reader through a step-by-step process of baking an apple pie, or making homemade ice cream with your own images will inspire your readers to follow your instructions, perhaps even more than a “generic” recipe article on the Internet. The same is true with gardening Hubs, or any how-to Hub! Once you get started, you may wonder why you ever used someone else’s images for your Hubs!
For more information on the HubPatron of the Arts contest, visit the official contest page.