Brengman Photography: Blog en-us (C) Brengman Photography (Brengman Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:32:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:32:00 GMT Brengman Photography: Blog 120 67 My thoughts on shooting people! I really like to do photo shoots involving people. The hardest thing to do is to get people to get out of the “oh I have to get my picture taken” mode. Some people just don’t like to be photographed. I am one of them. I really don’t like to shoot in a stuffy studio unless the session requires it. I have used a couple of techniques in the past to get people to loosen up.

One of my techniques I use is “blending in”. I use this anytime I am shooting families or couples. My goal is for them to feel natural and not even know I am there. While shooting weddings I have told the bride and groom to meet me outside and I have them sit down and talk. After a few minutes of this I start taking pictures. I have ended up getting some really great captures. No fake smiles, real emotion, real laughter and most importantly real people. Here are a couple examples from a wedding I shot recently. The first one is the bride and groom and the second is the bride and her father.




These pictures were setup but as real as they get. I also use this while shooting families. I like to meet at a park and just spend some time with them. I try to make it a fun event, like hog pile on dad!! Have fun! Once again I get real emotion! I try to do a fun event and then say everyone on the bench and take a somewhat serious photo. By mixing serious shots it doesn’t seem to be as boring to kids. Here are a few examples.


Another tip for shooting the young ones is scheduling very short sessions. Maybe 30-45 min maximum in length, this way you can keep them entertained. Also I try to schedule it around their nap time.

Next time I will get in to some technical aspects of shooting people.

That is all for today and remember I am not a writer.

If you have any topics that you would like discuss email me HERE

Also if you are interested in any of my work you can purchase it right here on the website. It will be mailed directly to your house or business.



(Brengman Photography) Fri, 22 Mar 2013 12:02:43 GMT
Things I wish I knew when I first started in photography! I have been enjoyed photography in some form my entire life. When I really began to get serious about photography I dove in the deep end. I learned a lot by trial and error. Now after several years of photography and I sit and reflect back on the things I would have done differently and the lessons that I have learned from my mistakes.

One thing that I learn early on was about your equipment. I was at the camera store and I ran into a seasoned photographer and we began to talk about equipment. He asked me what I was looking at in the camera section. I told him that I wanted a new camera. He asked me what I had and what lenses I had for the camera. He told me that the camera was a fine camera and that I needed to invest in glass (lenses). I didn’t buy a new camera that day I bought a new lens. The lesson that I learned is that most of the DSLR cameras are adequate for our needs in photography. To really improve your images get some new glass and I have been on this path since. When I did upgrade my camera the person I sold it to wanted to know why I would not sell the lens with the camera. The reason was that my Canon 40d body was worth about $300 but if I would put a lens with it I would have to sell it for at least $1000. Speaking of lenses I another lesson that I learned was about filters. When I started out I would buy a lens and then run to the camera store and buy a cheap filter to protect the glass. After doing some research I stumbled upon something. Why would you put a $15 piece of glass over a $1000 piece of glass? It made sense; the quality was being degraded by the filter. Now I only use high end filters or in many instances no filter at all. I just make sure that I am careful.

The next thing I learned was about controlling the quality of my images. The first thing was that white balance can really change the clarity of an image. Study it and make sure you know how to control it. It will make a huge difference. I shoot in RAW and edit most of my images afterwards which I would recommend you look into software like Lightroom or Aperture. The next thing was exposure. I learned that you can brighten a under exposed image but you can’t really fix an over exposed image. It is burned!! So if you can choose under exposure is better. The other component is ISO. The lower the ISO the less pixelated the image will come out. Shoot as low as you can to maintain enough light and enough quality.

The other thing is the most important. Practice! Practice! Practice! Get out and shoot. Try something new. Try shooting from a different angle. Like the example below.  Shoot higher and shoot lower than eye level and see what happens to your images. Another thing to do is to shoot like I did when I was just starting out.  Go out for a day of shooting and limit yourself to 24 images, one roll of film. Make every image count by taking your time.

Rails - Limited Edition


Have a wonderful day. Remember, I am not a writer so I am sorry for the grammatical errors.



(Brengman Photography) Wed, 20 Mar 2013 00:18:02 GMT
Lights Camera Action!!! I often have people telling me “you take great pictures what kind of camera do you have”. I saw tweet one time that said “you take great pictures what kind of camera do you have is like telling a cook that you make a great turkey what kind of stove do you have?” I can’t lie it does make a difference in the quality of the picture but I have a received compliments from pictures that I have taken with my cell phone. Taking a great picture is really about the setup and seeing it in your head. I see things different than most people and that is why I always have a camera with me. When I take a walk or go for a drive I am always framing pictures in my head. I look at angles and textures. It is much more than seeing a beautiful sunset.

There are differences in cameras. Your basic camera line comes in three form factors with each of them having different levels within the form factor. These are cameras that you can go and buy at your retailer like Best Buy. They are your cell phone, point and shoot and DSLR cameras. We all know what your cell phone does and really if you’re just going to post pictures on Facebook, Twitter or any website you don’t need much more. They do fine if you can keep finger prints off the lens. So I really want to focus on the point and shoot cameras and next time I will focus on the DSLRs. Who knows maybe I will even do a study on camera phones.

Point and Shoot cameras come in several forms from a cheap camera that cost twenty dollars to a high end cameras that can cost around one thousand dollars. So what makes the difference? Let’s start with the build. The bodies on cheap cameras are made of plastic. The inner parts of the camera are also made of plastic which includes the lens. Try shooting through a piece of Plexiglas and see your results. Cheap cameras also don’t have many features. These missing features include timers, zoom lenses, HD video and rechargeable batteries. The next level of Point and Shoot cameras are you main stream cameras. They range from about one hundred dollars to several hundred dollars. What separates these cameras from the low end cameras are the features and build. You can even purchase a waterproof camera. They are built out of heavier plastic, a good image sensor and have glass lenses. Now we are talking my style!!! Shooting through glass!! Finally you have your high end point and shoot cameras. These cameras have all of the features. They are made from very good materials, and very good glass. These cameras can keep up with some of the DSLR’s and are packed with features. Real high end point and shoot cameras have the same image sensor as the DLSRs. Some may even have interchangeable lenses which is a very nice feature.

If you’re in the market for a point and shoot first set your budget. If you can only afford a cheap camera then you may want to consider just using your cell phone. It probably has a better lens on it. If you are looking at a mid-range camera buy for the features. I personally would stay within the main camera manufacturers, (Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus and Sony) these cameras have a good reputation. My favorite is Canon and there isn’t really a good answer why. Now if you want a serious camera like the Canon G1x or Coolpix A you get a bunch of features. For me the main features give me the ability to control the aperture and shutter speed. These features bring the point and shoot even closer to the DSLR. Also the image sensor (that is what makes the image) is the same. My belief if that the manufactures were a little afraid to make these high end cameras because they did not want to lose sales in the entry level DSLR market but, actually it opened another market. Professionals and semiprofessionals have purchased high end point and shoot cameras so that they don’t have to carry a big camera bag around all the time and I still have great flexibility. For me this is my fun camera, although I have fun will all of them!!!

This is it for today!!! In part two I will discuss DSLR’s and go into the difference in image sensors.

Please feel free to leave and questions or comments

Remember I am not a writer so as always I am sorry for any grammatical errors.



(Brengman Photography) Mon, 18 Mar 2013 12:55:03 GMT
How I shoot landscapes Setting up your landscape photos

Landscape photography is probably my favorite type of photography! Every weekend I get into my car and just go for a ride and find new places to shoot. But when you are shooting landscapes there are a few things to remember. For me the main three are camera settings, horizons and the rule of thirds! Let’s start with the easy one.

Horizons – One simple mistake and one easy fix to better landscape photography is making sure that your horizon is straight. If you are shooting a sunrise on the ocean make sure that the horizon is straight across the viewer in your camera. It really isn’t that complicated but, it will improve your photography.

Rule of thirds – This principle is used in all types of photography. Actually it is used in all types of art. While setting up a picture think of three vertical sections; a left section, a middle section and a right section. You can add a more dramatic feel to your pictures by placing the main subject on the lines of one of these sections. Meaning from left to right put your subject 1/3rd from the middle. You don’t need to have it centered. The rule of thirds also works horizontally. Your picture is set up in 9 sections with four intersections. By putting your subject on one of these interactions you will create a picture that is very pleasing to the eye.

Use the rule of thirds in landscape but also shooting portraits. Put the person to the left or to the right of the viewer.

Here are a couple of examples.

Peggy's Cove





The last thing to worry about is your tool, the camera! There are many variables while shooting landscape photography sunny days, cloudy days, rainy days, structural, architectural and many many more! I often just carry my camera and shoot. But when you are shooting a still object such as a sunset you may want to consider a tripod. This is because you typically want a large depth of field (portion of the picture in focus) while shooting landscapes. To achieve this you will want to have your camera on a higher aperture. I like to shoot around a f10 and I may sometimes I go higher. Using a higher aperture lets in less light so your shutter speed will also be slower so that your image is properly exposed.  We humans seem to shake a bit so by putting the camera on a tripod we are able to eliminate the shakes. Experiment with higher aperture settings and check out the results, you will like them.


So in review Horizons, rule of thirds and using a higher (really middle) aperture will improve your landscape photography.

As always please feel free to ask any questions. And again I am not writer so I am sorry for any grammatical errors.



(Brengman Photography) Fri, 15 Mar 2013 15:41:25 GMT
So you bought a DSLR Part Two Exporsure and your lens! After reading part one you should have a basic understanding of the AV(A) Aperture, TV(S) Shutter Speed and M the manual modes on your DLSR. The best way to get a better understanding is to get out and shoot. Shoot your dog, kids, husband or wife. Just practice. For me, I often practice by shooting cars driving by in the evening. This will teach you how to combine shutter speed and aperture. Your goal is to get them both correct and get a properly exposed photograph

When you look through the view finder on the bottom (Canon) there is a scale with numbers. It starts a three goes to zero and then back to three. This is shows your exposure and it is indicated by a line. Zero to the camera means that your exposure is correct. If the indicator is to the left that means your underexposed (Not enough light) and if your to the right of zero your overexposed (too much light). If you are off the scale in one direction or the other you will get a flashing indicator by either of the threes. This means your off the scale and you need major adjustments.

Ok, so how do you fix this? The issue is light, either too much or not enough. Let’s say that you don’t have not enough light, you can fix it one of two ways on the camera. You just have to decide what is the more important to you. You can fix it by changing the shutter speed (TV,S), by slowing it down. If your set at 1/250s and you lower it to 1/120s you will add more light but, if you’re shooting a dance recital you may not be able to freeze the dancers. So you may want to change the aperture (AV, A) from f5.6 to f2.8. This will also allow more light into the camera. One downside is you can’t always add light by lowering the aperture because your lens may not go to the aperture you need at the focal length you desire. WOW, I may have lost I am going to explain this a litter better.

Look at your lens, most likely it is a 18-55mm zoom kit lens that came with the camera. There are a few markings on the lens.

18-55mm is the focal length of the lens. The lens 18mm is wide and 55mm is zoomed in.
f2.8-f5.6 is the minimum aperture of the lens.

What that aperture marking is saying is that at 18mm the lowest aperture (Lets in the most light) is f2.8 and at 55mm you lowest aperture is 5.6. Not as good!

You have to give up is your zoom to get more light. Bummer! This is why sports lenses are usually expensive. They typically have a 2.8 or lower at all focal lengths (on your lens 18-55) or they are prime or fixed focal length (one length like 200mm no zooming in or out), we will talk about that at a later date.

So in conclusion you have some need to figure out what is best. I would rather have clearer pictures with enough light and have to zoom in by cropping.

Since we are talking about your lens there are a few other switches
IS means image stabilization – you want that on
Focus M or AF – Manual or Automatic – you want that on AF for now.l  

I hope this was helpful and like I always say I am not writer so I apologize for grammatical errors and I really try to keep things simple and not get all technical!

If you have any questions you can post them here or email me HERE

Have a great day.

(Brengman Photography) Fri, 15 Mar 2013 13:41:23 GMT
So you bought a DSLR I hear people say they have just bought a new DSLR and they don't know how to use it. So I have decided to give you some basic tips on using this new camera. First off if you don't move it from the green button or fully automatic mode you just have a bigger point and shoot camera. The DSLR has many features!! Photography is basically capturing light. Thinking of photography this way may help you learn how to use your camera.

I want to focus on three modes on the average DSLR on a Canon Camera they are TV (Time Value) AV (Aperture Value) and M (Manual) on a Nikon they are S (Shutter Priority) A (Aperture Priority) and M (Manual).

Let's start with AV or A, Aperture controls the amount of light that comes into your camera. This is the mode that you can use to get that blurry background effect that everyone asks me about. Aperture is scale on a basic camera kit lens goes from f2.8 - f22. This is the size of the opening the lens has when you press the shutter button. To me the scale has always seemed backward because a f2.8 aperture is a very large opening and a f22 is a very small opening. I don't know why they did decided to do it that way but I am sure that I could Google it! Anyway, a f2.8 aperture lets in a lot of light quickly so it is considered fast. This is the aperture that you want to use in low light situations. It will also give you that blurry back ground which is called "bokeh" or depth of field. Depth of field is basically the area of a photograph that is in focus.

Here is an example of a narrow depth of field.

The flower is in focus and the background is blurry!

To get this image I used a f2.8 aperture in AV mode on my Canon camera. The down side of a f2.8 aperture can also be the depth of field. When I am shooting landscape I use higher aperture in the area of f10. The higher aperture lets in less light but it increases the depth of field needed for landscape photography.

Here is an example of a higher aperture.

See how everything in the distance is still clear?

The down side of using a higher aperture is it lets in less light. But it will give you very nice and clear landscape photographs.

Remember to keep the the horizion straight when shooting landscape photography.

There is a lot more to learn about aperture but this is a basic overview.

AV (A) Mode Summary - When do I use it? I use AV (A) when I need to control the light. My main uses of AV (A) mode are for portraits and landscape photography. Your lens that comes with your camera may not let you go to a 2.8f while zoomed in it may only let you go to a 5.6f, this is normal. Higher end lenses will allow you to go faster.

Next is TV(A) Mode. This mode controls the shutter speed of your camera. The main uses for this mode are to shoot sports or chasing that two year old around and trying to capture a them in a still shot. On the other side of the spectrum it is used to capture a long exposure at night. Most cameras range superfast like 1/4000s to super slow like 30s. 

To shoot high shutter speeds in situations of sports or chasing that two years old you need to remember a few things. If you use a 1/4000 inside you will a nice black picture. This is because the higher the speed the less light comes into the camera. So your going to have to lower that a little bit. To stop or freeze a moving subject you will need to be at a 1/125 to 1/250 depending on how fast the subject is moving. Even at these shutter speeds you need a lot of light. We will cover that in Manual mode.

On the other end of shutter speed is a slow. I use this when I am shooting on a tripod and I need to capture alot of light. The subject has to be still. Your camera has setting usually up to 30s. This will keep your shutter open for 30 seconds and let in ALOT of light. Here is an image that I took of the Lighthouse on Tybee Island in Georgia. Some cameras have what is called "bulb" mode. In which you can control how long the shutter is open 10 seconds, 20 seconds or even 10 minutes. In this image I used my tripod and left the shutter open for 90 seconds.

Tybee at Night


As you see the lighthouse is pretty clear. That night it was very dark and really the only light was from the houses below and the actual light house.

TV(S) mode Summary - Controlling the shutter speed will help you capture subject in their tracks or capture still subjects in the dark but you give up the control of the amount of light that comes into the camera.

Quick Ground rules from slow to fast.

30s - 1/20s - Very low light to no light at all. You will need a tripod.
1/40s - 1/80s - Indoor setting without a flash. You may still need a tripod and you will not be able to freeze motion.
1/120s - 1/250s - Brighter indoors and low light outdoors. On the faster end you will be to start to freeze motion
1/250 and faster - Motion stops and you will need a lot of light, use this in the park or outdoor events.  

AND! That is where M mode comes in it allows you to control both the light and the shutter speed!! My camera really never leaves this mode. I like to be in control of both the aperture and the shutter speed. In example when I am shooting a basketball game for the newspaper. The gym has decent light and the players are fast. I know a few things. First off I am going to have to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the players and secondly I need to control the amount of light. My setup would need to be something like a 2.8f aperture and a 1/250s shutter speed. I am letting enough light in and I am freezing the action.  Remember the depth of field that the aperture controls? Well, you have to be spot on with your focus to capture the players.  

Use the M mode to control both or when the TV(S) or AV(A) just do not work. In the beginning what I would do is put my camera in AV mode and see what the camera chooses for a shutter speeed and then put it in M mode and adjust of the shutter speeds and see what happens. 

Overall summary- AV(A) = Light let in the camera and TV(S) = Speed of the shutter

Of course this is just a general overview! There is so much more to go into beyond the basics. Also I tried to use layman terms so everything is not so technical.

We still have so much to cover!! Like using your flash!


Please feel free to ask any questions! Or you if you have a topic you want me to cover you can always email me HERE


Have a wonderful day - Ben


(Brengman Photography) Thu, 14 Mar 2013 13:09:38 GMT