Who am I and what is the intent of this blog?

Hi, my name is Grey Darrah. My wife, Kaysi, and I run a family and children portrait studio outside of Atlanta, GA. I’ve been a professional photographer since getting out of the Marine Corps in 1985. If you’re interesting in seeing some of the work we do (I wouldn’t want you to think I was making all of this up!), you can check us out at www.darrahphoto.com I’m not a professional writer, so if you find a few misspelled words or the occasional grammatical error (I do love a good comma), I apologize and encourage you to make fun of me.

I have a couple of reasons for starting this blog, but the primary one is to help educate others in taking better photographs. Some might say that this is a direct conflict with the business that I’m in, but I disagree. There are times (check out this post) when only an established professional photographer can provide you with a certain type of image (like a classic portrait to hang proudly on your walls), but for preserving the everyday life that you, your children, your friends (and even your pets) live, much of what you want can be accomplished on your own. I love what I do and I want to share the information I have so that all your snapshots, albums and scrapbooks will look even more amazing than they already are.

I’m also working on a book (technically, this now makes me a professional writer…wow, it happened so quickly…but that doesn’t mean I’m a good one) that goes into much greater detail to insure that you capture every image you want, in every situation possible.
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From discussions on camera equipment (even how to get great shots with your cell phone camera), to handling specific situations, such as: at a school play, a soccer game, a pool party, or playing at the park, and even retouching your images with some free editing software. The intent is to go into enough detail to give you a “normal” persons perspective of how best to use everything, without crossing the line of becoming a technical manual that makes you feel more confused (and sleepy) than confident. I want your suggestions (specific or general) regarding photographic questions and situations that give you the greatest challenge.

I also hope to have you upload some of your own photographs to the blog so that you can either revel in your photographic prowess, or ask me pointed questions, like, “Why can’t I get this right???”

In the end, I’m going to help you take better pictures of the people and things that mean the most to you.

What I’m not going to do is discuss complex lighting setups involving thousands of dollars in equipment, or go on and on about f stops, shutter speeds and light metering, or try to tell you how to do anything that goes beyond whatever camera you already have. OK…OK…we are going to discuss f stops and shutter speeds a little bit. There’s a number of reasons why they may have a huge impact in your pictures (under certain situations), but I’m going to explain it in a way that’s easy to understand, use, and remember. The difference between a terrible picture (we’ve all seen them…in our friend’s/neighbor’s scrapbooks) and a great picture, comes down to 3 things:

1. Understanding how the light around you will effect your photo
2. Knowing how to best compose your shot

3. Knowing how to get the most from your subject (how to relate/communicate with them while taking their picture)

We’ll learn them all here and have fun doing it!

I’ll let you in on a little secret…if your life and business revolve around photography, having all that expensive gear (also known as gadgets and dew-dads) can be useful, but it’s in no way required to create beautiful photographs. I can take a great picture with a $5 disposable camera, and when we’re through here, so can you. It doesn’t matter if you use your cell phone, a point and shoot, or a digital SLR (like the Canon Rebel…I’m neither for nor against this camera, it’s just a name that most people are familiar with), I’ll show you how to use any of them to get incredible shots that will have your friends asking you which photographer you hired.

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