Photo Q&A and Some Pictures

Recently lots of questions have been coming in related to photos.  I love all your questions, and I do my best to answer each of your questions directly.   I thought it would be fun to share your questions and my answers as a blog post too! So here are some recent questions and my answers:

Q.  What camera do you use while at the pool?

A.  I use either my iPhone 4S or my Canon EOS 60D .  I don’t have a water proof cover or casing for either one. I am just very careful!  I will get in the water with my cameras (strap around my neck for my DSLR)  if there are not many people at the pool.  I always bring my Case Logic Camera Backpack and put my camera and/or iPhone directly back in the bag after I shoot. Even if this means I am taking it in and out of my bag a lot.  I also try to keep my equipment in the shade if possible.


Q.  Can you explain a bit more about your process for printing pictures? 

Sure! I send my pictures over to Walgreens weekly. These pictures go into my Project Life Album.  I process my Walgreen pictures in two different ways.

  1. I send my Instagram pics via my iPhone using the Printicular app (read more about that here).
  2. I upload my DSLR pictures to Flickr (also how I link pictures to my blog).  Then from Flickr, I order the pictures through Snapfish (Flickr partner) and send them over to Walgreens for developing.

So when I go pick my pictures up at Walgreens I have two orders to pick-up, one from Printicular and one from Snapfish. 

The 4×4 prints through Printicular are 39 cents a print. Which I don’t think is horrible. But does add up week after week. I usually print  20 to 25 4×4 prints each week.  Recently the nice people at Printicular sent me a coupon code for 30% off my order (enter the code MEAM at check-out)  and that helps with the cost.  I find that the convenience of driving down to my local Walgreens is worth it! And don’t forget 1 – hour service. Hello!

I can also order my Flickr pictures through my iPhone using Printicular.  I will use the Flickr to Snapfish to Walgreens route if I make collages – I make collages in Snapfish. If I am just printing 4×6 (no collage) I will go directly from Flickr to Walgreens via Printicular.

I have tried the printing from home thing, and constantly buying ink cartridges was driving me nuts.  I also have no patience for the mail when I am trying to get my weekly Project Life layouts done, so using a developer that is not local does not work for me.  I go to Walgreens so much, the  ladies at the photo counter know me. I don’t even have to tell them my name – I just walk up to the counter and they hand me my pictures. HA!

There have been some hick-ups with Walgreens – like once I got Lisa’s pictures and she got mine.  Or I felt that the pictures printed dark or splotchy.  Or the fact that the closest Walgreens to me has super old photo processing equipment and sometimes their photo processing machines are not working causing me to drive across town to another Walgreens.  But I have overlooked these issues because of the convenience,  customer service and because two new Walgreens are being built closer to me right now (new equipment!!)  and so I am just dealing with it.

One thing I want to point out – that while I use Walgreens developing for my scrapbooking/project life pictures, I do not use them for pictures I am going to print and put on my walls, or for gifts, photo cards, etc.   I recommend Mpix for that.  I have recently set up a site for my photography clients to order directly through me on Zenfolio.  Zenfolio orders are processed through Mpix.

While I think that Walgreens pictures are “good enough” for my  Project Life (pictures I cut, write-on and stick things onto) , I believe that for gifts and pictures you hang on your wall, its better to go a developer like Mpix.  It makes a big difference on the quality of your prints. Truth.

Q. How do you get your DSLR pictures on your Instagram feed?

I don’t know if this is the most efficient way – but it is how I do it.

  1. As noted in the previous answer, I upload all my DSLR pictures to Flickr via my home computer.
  2. I then go to the Flickr app on my iPhone.  Select the picture I want and save photo to my phone.
  3. I then open the Instagram app and upload the picture from my camera roll.
  4. If I want to avoid the Instagram crop (square), I will  first bring the picture into the Pic-Tap-Go app  (which gives the option to not crop my picture to instagram square) and then upload it to Instagram from there.

Did that make any sense at all?

Q. What filters do you use in Pic-Tap-Go?

I love the clean look of the Pic-Tap-Go filters. On most pictures I use the “Lights On” layer with the “Crispity” filters.

Change of scenery for tonight's swim #summer #iowa  #pictapgo_app

Q.  What do you normally shoot at in terms of f-stop on your DSLR?

I like my f-stop low… most of my everyday pictures I shoot on a f-stop of 2.5 to 3.5.  My new lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 ) goes down to f/1.4, which is new and exciting me to me! Here are some pictures on f 1.4 with my new lens:


I do know that shooting at a low f-stop can cause not so sharp photos, especially if I am taking pictures of a large group of people or if I am not so close to my subject.  So if I am doing a photo session with a large group, or I am worried about getting “fuzzy edges” to my pictures in general I will bump that f-stop up. A good rule is to keep your f-stop to the same number or one above the number of people you are shooting. So if you are shooting a group of 4 people, set your f-stop around 4 or 5.  Low f-stops are nice when taking pictures of something up close or just one person very close-up.

Below are some pictures I took at a little fishing/swimming pond not too far from our house I have noted my camera settings and each lens I was using.

For the pictures below I used my: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens.

1/1250 f /3.5  ISO 125

1/1250 f/3.5 ISO 125

1/640 f/3.5 ISO 125

1/1600 f/3.5 ISO 125

1/640 f/2.8 ISO 100

1/800 f/ 2.8 ISO 100

1/320 f/3.5 ISO 100

For the pictures below I used my: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 lens

1/640 f/3.5 ISO 125

1/2000 f/3.5 ISO 125

1/1000 f/3.5 ISO 125

1/320 f/ 3.5 ISO 100

1/250 f/3.5 ISO 100

1/80 f/3.5 ISO 100

1/160 f 3.5 ISO 100

For the pictures below I used my Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 lens 

1/400 f/7.1 ISO 125

1/320 f/5.6 ISO 125

1/640 f/ 3.5 ISO 100


I love all your photo related questions! If you have more questions (photo or not photo), let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

You can see my last Q&A post here. And a list of frequently asked questions here.

In addition, you can visit my Photography page to read more posts about photos, photo tips, my photo biz, and my equipment.

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4 Responses to Photo Q&A and Some Pictures

  1. madeline says:

    As I am new to phone photography, I’ve learned some things here. thanks!
    I’m still struggling to get sharp photos with my dslr. Either it’s old eyes or old camera, but I’ve read everything on the subject and my photos just don’t please me. sigh.

  2. Christine says:

    These are some pretty awesome photos. I agree, I love the lights on in Pic Tag Go, my favorite! I do have a waterproof camera but it’s still not the best quality looking at your pictures, I need a DSLR!

  3. Jen says:

    Great post! I also love the “lights on” filter, it’s my favorite. I also use Walgreens for my PL photos. I’m curious why you go through snapfish instead of the Walgreens uploader, or is it because of the tie-in with Flickr?

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