Ronda Del Boccio, Now Award-Winning ARTIST

I, Ronda Del Boccio, a mostly blind author, am not an award-winning artist. See the winning work and find out more about the contest in this post. #BLISSfulLife

Having a BLISSful life means doing what you love to do, whether as a hobby or as your vocation. I am so grateful to do both. I adore writing, and I also enjoy singing and creating art. Being around animals and good friends are also a big part of my bliss, and I get those too!

I've never entered an art contest before now. I entered the Ozarks Writers League Art and Photography Contest this year. We had a number of excellent entries, and I am honored to be among the winners.

I guess I should point out that I'm mostly blind, so when I paint, my face is VERY close to my work. I entered a couple pieces made with Sculpey clay and painted, a candle that I made and painted the glass, and an incense burner.

Here is my prize-winning suncatcher.

Suncatcher on oval plexiglass background with flowers, leaves, butterflies, and a dragonfly - 3rd place winner, Ozarks Writers League Art Contest

Here are all the contest winners. Continue reading "Ronda Del Boccio, Now Award-Winning ARTIST"

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5 Photography Tips from a Mostly Blind Award-Winning Photographer.

At my recent Lions Club meeting, one of our members gave me a TShirt from Leader Dogs for the Blind, where I am going to get my next guide dog hopefully sometimes this summer or fall. All 3 of the photos sent to me for posting on our club's Facebook page were blurry.

Perhaps you've noticed that most people can't take a decent picture. I'm really not sure why. I mean...if you're fully sighted, you can see what's in your frame and you can see whether the resulting digital photo is blurry, right? So what's the issue?

As an author, it can be handy to take good photos. You might be able to sell pictures with a story and earn more money. Or you might be able to sell the images outright.

As with so many things, you probably haven't thought through or been taught a few basic tips that will make you a good photographer. So let the blind girl help you see more clearly and take excellent photos!

This is the photo from the WriteOnPurpose.com header. The butterfly was kind enough to strike a post for me!

ButterflyPalace2015-e1427135154107.jpg

I'm mostly blind. Blind enough to travel with a white cane or a guide dog. Yet I managed to take pretty decent pictures. I usually manage to get a clear shot without a junky background, and have  even won two award for my photos and had another selected for a book cover.

While I am by no means a big-time photographer, perhaps I can help you be a better photographer, so please allow me to share a few tips that work great for me.

1. Don't be afraid to take a lot of pictures

The vast majority of people have either a phone, tablet or digital camera, so who cares if you take 20 or more photos to find a couple of great shots? Just delete the rest. If you only have 3 shots and they're all blurry, there's nothing you can do once the moment has passed.

The winner will be the one with smiling faces, good lighting, and an uncluttered background.

2. Watch Your Lighting.

Who hasn't seen photos that are so dark you can't make things out? A little common sense helps you get a good result.

  • If a window is behind the person you're shooting (photography, folks, not guns!), then they'll appear in silhouette. If that's the effect you want, great. But if you want to see the facial expression, then be sure to put light in front of and preferably to the side of the subject.
  • Watch for shadows. If the lighting isn't working, either add more light or switch to a different location.
  • Natural lighting makes it easiest. If you need to open the curtains to let the sunshine in, then do it.

3. Watch Your Angle

Pets: If you've ever seen pet pics that aren't great, often it's because the human towers above the pet and takes the photo from that angle.

  • The best pet pictures for taken at the PET'S eye level rather than from the human's. Squat or sit down to get at or near the animal's point of view before taking the photo.
  • Remember to use red eye reduction to avoid what I call the "demon eye" effect. Your dog probably isn't possessed, even if s/he acts that way sometimes.
  • See Tips #1 and be patient. It's not easy getting a great bright-eyed, perky-eared pet photo. It takes a lot of photos and...
  • Patience!

Humans: It's just as important to be aware of your angle when photographing human people. Most people don't like being photographed. I'm one of those, so please follow these tips so they won't be disappointed more than usual.

  • Never take a photo of someone eating. You'll just irritate people. NOBODY likes that and nobody looks good hewing. Who wants chewing immortalized until the end of time?
  • Never photograph upward so that you're looking up the subject's nose. That's never flattering.
  • Don't take a nos-to-nose photo. Have the subject at a 45 degree angle. This helps people look slimmer and feel better.
  • Frame the shot and then raise the camera a little above your head and angle it down toward the subject. This is the most flattering angle for anyone.
  • Use red-eye reduction so it doesn't look as if your subject went on a bender or took a redeye flight.
  • Instruct your subject to think of something that brings them joy to get a true, bright smile and happy eyes.
  • Shoot from the angle that is most flattering or that brings out the essence of the plant, animal, person or whatever.
  • For good crowd shots, get up above the crowd. Stand on a chair or shoot from the balcony. This gives the view of the group, not just the people in front.

Carver Chet Mainard of Missouri

4. Pay Attention to Background and Foreground

How often have you seen or taken) photos where there is all sorts of clutter in the background. It may not be bad housekeeping, but often the image includes stuff that doesn't belong there. It's like someone telling a story and including a bunch of trivia and extraneous material that doesn't help move the story.

I've seen photos where someone has a bunch of beer bottles or wine glasses in front of them. Chances are, it was a small table, but nobody wants to look like a lush! Likewise, nobody wants the platter of ribs or the dessert tray right in front of them in that image frozen forever in time.n

When taking photos of my mom's roses, right behind them is a fence with a raised plant bed behind it. Getting that fence in te background ruins the beauty.

Rose 2015

Here's what you can do to get the right background.

  • The subject of the photo is the star of the show. Make THAT look good and eliminate or minimize the rest.
  • Zoom in on the subject. Any digital camera or phone allows this. Your phone r tablet lets you use the "pinch and zoom" feature to adjust the zoom. Give it a moment to focus once you have the desired zoom level.
  • Move anything that's in the way out of the way whenever possible. I can't move the fence, but if you're inside, you can move plates, glasses, toys, etc. out of the view.
  • Put the focal point just off from center, not dead center.

5. Ninja insider Tip; It's about Breath!

This is a tip I figured out myself. I've never seen it mentioned, though I'm sure someone else does somewhere. Do this one thing and you'll get rid of ost if not all your blurry photo issues.

Breathe normally while setting up the shot, but just before you click the shutter, hold your breath.

Holding the breath improves aim for shooting, whether you have a gun like my grandfather, who shot skeet, or a camera. It's breathing that causes most of the blurry shots in the world.

I hope these tips help you take better pictures.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 Amazon best selling author, speaker and mentor

Find all my books on Amazon

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