Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Photography - 102

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Recently one of the all time Rock Stars of blogging told me the two most important things needed for bloggers to improve and to gain a wider audience are photography and finding your tribe. Somehow, I already knew that photography was key to reaching a greater number of people, but hearing it from a super Rock Star Blogger turned my instinct into a pressing reality. 


What creates stunning photography?

While a good camera is what most people believe is the most important factor in taking excellent pictures, there may be one thing even more important than a good camera.

A good eye. 

Money can buy a good camera, but training eyes to create stunning photos is much harder and more subtle than shopping for good hardware. The photo above could be better. I know that background is critical to good photos. The blurred greenery is good, but the vertical wooden post and the metal ladder are distractions that do not add to the overall composition. 

Nonetheless, good equipment makes photos from photographers with a "good eye" even better. Photography ~ 101 is all about what to look for in buying a good camera. 

Photography ~ 102 is how to improve photos taken with good cameras. 

Blogging Rock Star after Rock Star testify that the next big leap in their photography came with using a tripod. Crisp, clear photos require no movement of the camera while taking the photo. Shaky hands cause blurred photos. As hard as you try, you cannot keep your hand perfectly still while taking a photo. 

The photo may look crisp, but the same shot taken with a tripod will be even crisper. 

A tripod has been on my wish list since buying my first DSLR camera, but other things in the budget, like replacing a falling-down deck, kept moving a tripod down the wish list. Recently my brother-in-law casually commented that he had a tripod that he no longer used and wondered if I would like to use it. 

GASP.... would I like to use his tripod? How fast could I say, "YES, thank you?" 

Today he found the tripod and showed me how to use it. Just look at this beauty. As he explained how to use each feature, I was overjoyed. The long wand allows the angle to change vertically and horizontally. Pure excitement in seeing how to use the tripod increased with every new feature. 

There are two levels on the tripod. How exciting is that? I can still focus on training my artistic eye since the levels take the guesswork out of my leveling eye. Will my photos be stunningly SQUARE without needing to straighten them in editing software? These two levels make it sound like it is possible. 

Even more exciting features... the tripod has a vertical extender. 

Learning how to use the timer feature on the DSLR camera will take tripod photos up one more notch. 

Dear readers, remember that a good DSLR camera and a tripod will improve photographs, but do not promise stunning photography. A good eye is needed. 

Good eyes take beautiful photographs with simple point-and-shoot cameras, including phone cameras. 

Photography ~ 102 is all about improving photos... 

using good equipment and good eyes.  

Just wait until you see my photos of the new deck under construction at my house! There is a sneak peek of it in this post. Most of the before and during photos were not taken with a tripod, but you better believe the after photos will include shots taken with a tripod. 

I am taking the advice of my Blogger Rock Star friend, and I am working to improve my photography. What about her second recommendation ~ finding my tribe? I am working on that, too. There is exciting news coming soon about a new feature each week at Botanic Bleu. 

For you see, my dream for Botanic Bleu is for it be beautiful in images and words, and to offer readers content worth reading, with a little French inspiration. 

Thank you for reading and for being a part of "my tribe." If you are not already following Botanic Bleu, I would love to add you to my tribe. Follow me by getting every post delivered straight to your email or follow me by Bloglovin'.  See the top right to enter your email or to click on Bloglovin'. 

Feel free to share my Botanic Bleu button on your blog, Facebook page, Pinterest, or Instagram with a link back to Botanic Bleu. 

What are features of blogs that you like, features that keep you coming back for more?


  1. This is good advice. I take mostly nature photos so I have to be quick and take as many photos as I can take while I have the subject on hand. Those I posted today were some of the best I've taken and they were from a bright area, into a dark tree! I was hoping they would turn out. Can't wait to hear about your feature ideas. I've enjoyed your 'blue hour'. (hope I said that right) Hugs, your tribeswoman, Diane! heehee!

  2. Hello Judith! YES YES YES. I took a photography 101 class a few weeks back, and I've been practicing what our teacher gave us to do. My goal is to get through all the challenges of staying out of AUTO MODE as he indicated, and I am really learning how to adjust my light meter, my ISO and shutter speeds. Today, I used my tripod, and here's another thing we photographers have to work with: STYLING. I dismantled my dining room, set up my table and vignettes and tried something new: the light from the window in the BACKGROUND. I am happy to say it worked. I am stoked because I adjusted my camera according to the light. However, I won't share those photos because after I assessed my photos, there was one thing I didn't like: the styling.

    I am going to do it over again this week, but instead of using pinks in the scene, I will be using more of our trusty BLEU. It's fun to make the mistakes that lead you to where you wish to go. HAPPY SNAPPING! Anita

  3. I was astonished when I started using a tripod at the difference it makes. Now if I could only make myself do it every time. :)

  4. My daughter turned me on to the tripod and I agree, big difference. I am still lazy sometimes when I need a quick shot or when I want that camera in my hand, but I am learning. Looking forward to your new feature!! :)

  5. I'm getting a tripod this week - been putting it off but no more - think we may have read the same rockstar post. By the way your photography is already amazing so I can hardly wait to see the improvements you implement. I also agree it's a good eye - I'm still using my canon snapshot but after we move I'm finally going to upgrade. I have decided to stick with canon - that only took me six months to decide. Now to decide on the camera. Thanks for this was helpful. Always enjoy stopping by and love how you put things in perspective.

    Carole @ Garden Up Green

  6. Thanks for the reminder to use the tripod! I look forward to more tips on photography.

  7. Features that I like to see on blogs:

    1) Positivity and the golden rule. A pet peeve of mine is reading about the horrible decorating choices made by a prior home owner. Everyone has different tastes, different budgets and different interests in life. One can still make changes without ridiculing the choices made by others.

    2) Sharing a special interest or skill. I love to see creative endeavors, or your experience in trying something different. I have been personally inspired by several blog posts!

    3) I do enjoy good photography especially highlighting what is out your "kitchen window." Viewing differing climates, geography and wild life (mountains, ocean, urban, rural etc.) is always interesting to me.

    I've always enjoyed your photography, and I'm looking forward to you experimenting with the tripod! :-)

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  8. Marilyn,
    Thank you so much for your gracious support and compliments. They mean more than I can adequately express. I also appreciate you giving concrete examples of what you enjoy. That is so helpful when trying to decide "do I or do I not" post about something that interests me.


    1. Judith,

      You are very welcome! Your blog is one of my favorites and I appreciate the time you spend on both the written content and the photography. Your attention to detail is apparent in every post!

      Have a good day!
      Marilyn (in Dallas

  9. Judith, thank you for reminding me to use a tripod. I am still learning, looking forward to your next installment!! Pam @ Everyday Living

  10. I just ordered a tripod a few days ago :) I'm looking forward to playing with it.

  11. I've been using a tripod since last October and it has made a huge difference. I love it. I use the timer on it too so that there is no shake. Now if I could get the lighting figured out, I'd be almost there. Thrilled with your news and the building of your tribe! I can't wait to see the completed deck.

  12. Love tips from a Rock Star blogger. :)

    So happy you have a new tripod and the level (priceless)!

    Can't wait to follow along with all your new and exciting changes!

    1. Thank you!!!!! Glad to have you following along! There are so many photos in my head that I plan to shoot using the new-to-me tripod.


  13. Such great tips Judith! I've taken an old school photography class in the past and hope to take a digital class in the future. Have a wonderful week!

  14. A good eye is way more important than a good camera. After all it is the photographer who takes the picture not the camera, that is just the mechanism. Good luck with expanding your photography repertoire


  15. I enjoyed your post. You are so right about using a tripod. What a difference it makes. I also like using the remote switch also. I always tell myself, practice makes perfect.

  16. woo - woo - woo....
    I'm tribal too!! :^)
    PS: I already thought your photography was beautiful, so I can't imagine improvement :^)
    Many thanks for your time to teach/share information.

  17. Great tips Judith! I never think to use my tripod. Need to try that! Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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