Don’t forget to enter to win a $25.00 gift certificate from Pixiekids Toys:  Click on the sidebar picture for more details.
Take part in this amazing photography class and you’ll also get another entry :0)

As you can see from my blog, my photography is spotty as best.  The only reason why I get any decent shots at all is the voice inside my head that sounds just like by dear friend Michelle.  She has prodded my along and offered unerring encouragement (actually she does this in all aspects of my life).

I was able to talk her into being a guest blogger here once a month to teach a beginner’s class.  I know!  I’m excited too.  Here’s the first edition!
She’s even set-up a flickr group for you all to take part in and will offer individual feedback!!
Yes, free photography lessons!
All you need to do is:
  Follow {Adventuresindinner} and Michelle’s amazing photography blog.


My name is Michelle Barbeau and I’m a natural light Family photographer in Ottawa, Canada.  I’m so very honoured that my friend Jane has asked me to teach a photo segment on her blog every month.

I think it’s important to document one’s life in photos, especially family and children…time goes by way too fast!  The lessons i’m going to be teaching can be done with any kind of camera and anyone can do them!

When I was in University, a couple of friends and I would often bring cameras to parties to document our silliness (not always a good thing :)).  After one such party, my friend Dayalini gave me copies of her photos (loved the days of film when you could get doubles for free :)) then when I would put them  in an album with mine, her’s seemed so much better!   I sat down and studied them and realized exactly what it was!  This leads me to your very first lesson and I believe the best lesson I have ever learnt….

1. Get in close to your subject

Often people will pull out their camera and take a quick picture of the scene.  The majority of the time there are lots of distracting elements in the background and you can make the photo way better just by moving up closer to your subject or zooming in if you have a zoom lens.  note: This isn’t always the case though as some times you want the background to set the scene and tell a story.

I was out for lunch with my friend Janet yesterday and she was kind enough to be a model for me so I could do a quick demonstration.  The restaurant we were at wasn’t in a very nice location for photos but by just getting in closer to her with the camera, we managed to get some nice photos that Janet liked (and she does not like her picture taken).

We found this area outside the building with a bit of shade so the sun wouldn’t be in her eyes:

As you can see, I was somewhat far away from her so you can see quite a bit of the background.  Do you like the nice garbage area behind her?

I moved in closer which helped get rid of some of the background and make the focus more on Janet but…here’s lesson #2 (i’m making you work hard, two lessons in one post :)):

2. Watch your background.   
I wasn’t paying attention to the background and now poor Janet looks like she has a green pole growing out of her head.    By just changing my position (janet didn’t even have to move) and walking towards Janet’s right hand side, i was able to eliminate the distracting background.

Much Better!  Doesn’t she look lovely?

I was over at the lovely Adventures in Dinner blogger Jane’s place on the weekend taking pictures of her adorable daughter (and getting fed very well :)).

I thought little miss “M” looked as cute as can be in her purple dress and hat but to me the background was a bit distracting in this photo.  My eyes tend to look at the red candles and that bright green thing instead of her adorable face.

Moving my own position didn’t help with the background so in this case my daughter got her to play a game sitting on the ground which lowered her and eliminated the distractions.  Now the focus is on her face….isn’t it a cute one?

I hope you enjoyed today’s lessons and I would love to see what photos you come up with trying them out.  I’ve set up a flickr group for anyone that would love to play along.  

Just go to  and upload your photos into the pool.  For this lesson, I would love to see an example of a picture you would normally take then one where you get closer to your subject and try and eliminate any distractions in the background.  Your subject doesn’t have to be a person, it can be anything (I especially love food photos)

Have fun and happy shooting,