Wednesday, February 16, 2011
O, little remote shutter clicker, how I love thee! Let me count the ways!
Valentine’s day might be over, but I (Beckie) still have MAD LOVE for my little remote. What is this magic little device, you might ask? It’s a simple little button that lets you remotely activate your camera’s shutter. Not impressed? Well keep reading – it has more practical uses than you might realize!
The idea is simple…securely position your camera (rest it on a table, on a tripod, etc), then frame up your shot, focus on your subject, and then walk away. Trust your little remote to use infra-red technology to fire your shutter for you from up to 16 feet away! There are many types out there and you need to be sure to do a little shopping to get one that works for your make and model!
Why would you use a remote? There are many reasons! Let’s take a look at a few:
So you’re the designated family photographer, eh? When’s the last time YOU were in a photo?? And I’m not talking about that time you pushed the button and jumped over Aunt Sally and busted the seam in your pants to get in your spot before the timer went off, either! There’s a very relaxing way to quickly get a series of group photos – even when you need to be part of the group!
- Secure your camera on a tripod or other sturdy surface, like a table. Get the group assembled, frame up the shot, make sure everyone can be seen, etc. Designate your spot in the group and ask someone to hold that place for you :)
- Set your camera to remote/timer. Mine has options for either a 2 second delay or a 10 second delay. This is the setting where it knows to “look for” an infra-red signal to fire the shutter (consult your camera manual to see exactly how this works for your model).
- Take a test shot, then look at the photo on the LCD screen. If all is well, grab your remote and join the group!
- Fire away! Give the group a warning, ask them to hold the pose, etc. Take a bunch!! Remember our head swap tutorial? Having a series of photos to work with is the best way to create a perfect group shot when you don’t capture one.
Look! I’m actually in this photo! That’s me in the black sweater. Three generations of my husband’s family!!
I’ve been dabbling in macro photography for a few months now and having lots of fun with it! But I often have to close my aperture way down in order to create a focal plane that is large enough to capture an object in focus (high f-numbers). This creates quite a challenge for allowing in sufficient light, which can result in slow shutter speeds. A slow shutter speed poses a huge risk of motion blur in a photo, which is one reason why many photographers use a mini-tripod for macro photography. In fact, you often have to manually focus on an object to achieve the exact shot you’re after. When I’m shooting things that don’t move, I go the extra step and use my remote. I really value the peace of mind that comes from knowing I’m not introducing an additional opportunity for blur from moving my camera when I push down on the shutter.
f5, ISO800, 1/125
I love this shot of a cool old marble my hubby had in his collection from when he was a kid. The imperfections in the surface of the glass and the cool swirl of color are so interesting when photographed through a macro lens! (I use a Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens). Notice how only a tiny portion of the surface of this marble is in focus? There’s no room for error in getting the macro shots you’re after, so relying on a tripod and a remote is a great way to eliminate the chance for motion blur from you touching your camera.
:::Slow shutter speed photos:::
Similar to the example above with macro photography, there may be other types of artistic photography you’re interested in that require slow shutter speeds. Remember the fireworks photography post from a while back? I used my tripod and remote for the shots in that post. By using my remote, I could get out there and show my kids where to stand, help light their sparklers, etc – and still remotely activate the shutter to take the picture! Here’s another of my favorite shots from that night!
f11, 1/5, ISO160
My kids may very well be the most photographed children on the planet. Seriously. They’re completely immune to my pleas for “just one more! Smile! Look here!”. But when I set the camera up the other day and asked my 6 year old to come over and take pictures of herself with the remote, she was super excited! I got the camera all set up, then turned my back while she did her thing. She proceeded to give me a series of about 15 silly, kooky, funny, and sweet faces that perfectly capture her big personality. And she giggled the entire time! She got the biggest kick out of surprising me with her faces and showing them to me when she was done. No matter how many times we take their pictures at home, there’s just something about a photo booth opportunity to have their picture taken that most kids seem to love.
- A remote is a wonderful way to get YOURSELF in front of the camera! Again, do everything as described above (position the camera securely, focus in, etc) – but this time you need to find a proxy for yourself so that you can frame things up and check your exposure. Simply grab a baby doll or a stuffed animal! These toys are great because you can still use the eye as a nice high-contrast area to use for setting focus on the desired position.
- As an alternative, you can find an assistant. I did a self portrait session and asked my daughter to tell me if the “little red box” was over my face when I took my first sample photo with the remote. She helped me scootch into the right position, and then I clicked away!
That wraps up today’s little crash course on remotes! Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments below. Be sure to come back again tomorrow to see a fabulous scrapping inspiration post from Kylie!