An A-Z of Photography Tips

Mario Calvo Bartolomé

I decided to have a little fun and make an A-Z list of camera terms. I came up with most on the spot, but a couple (looking at you X and V) I had to google and see what even fit!

  1. A – Aperture Priority (Av) Mode! This is a great mode to shoot in if you’re starting out. Nothing will compare to full manual (I promise!), but this is still a great one. You set your aperture and your camera will figure out the rest.
  2. B – Back Button Focusing! This is a game changer if you’re focusing on moving subjects, especially. You use your thumb to focus and just continue holding it to continue focusing. It takes some getting used to, but once you get it, you won’t go back!
  3. C – Cropping! Always give yourself a little wiggle room for cropping. So DO NOT crop in camera or shoot too tightly. Shoot a little wider and adjust later. It’s always good to have some room than to be too close and next thing you know, someone’s head will be getting cropped off for that 8×10.
  4. D – Distortion! Different lens focal lengths cause different levels of distortion to your subject. Always run a corrector in your editing program of choice to counter act it.
  5. E – Extras! Always have an extra battery, memory card, light stand, etc. Murphy’s law, man.
  6. F – F-stop! Pay attention to your f-stop number and make sure you’re not too shallow for the amount of people in the photos. I cheat and try to match up with however many people there are. So 2 people = f/2.8, 4 people = f/4-5.6, etc. It’s not exact, but it’s a good start!
  7. G – Grain! Good news is grain is back in fashion. Bad news is, that too much can kill a photo. Be mindful of your ISO and try not to let it get too high. Better equipment will help significantly with ISO issues. If you’re running into this a lot, it might be time for a body upgrade.
  8. H – Hot Shoe! This is that mount on the top of your camera. Most times an external flash goes here, but they make all kinds of accessories, too!
  9. I – Inkjet Printers! Ew! Please stay away from inkjet printers. They do not look even half as good as a chemical printer. That means CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and pretty much any big-box store are out! Check out a local print shop or even for insanely better looking photos.
  10. J – Jpeg! This is the final format that your digital image will take. If you’re sending files to friends, family, or a client – this is the format you’d deliver them in.
  11. K – Kelvin! This is the scale used to measure the colour temperature. 5000 K refer to normal daylight.
  12. L – Lenses! Have a well-rounded collection of lenses that you’ll actually use. Not everyone’s bag will contain the same thing.
  13. M – Memory Cards! Get good memory cards! My preference is high-speed 32GB cards. I shop at Peoria Camera for these, because they offer a lifetime warranty on their cards. Cards WILL go bad. At least this way, I can swap out the bad one for a brand new one.
  14. N – Neutral Density Filter! These are fantastic for landscapes (especially of water or clouds) and metal objects, like cars and motorcycles. It reduces the amount of light that passes through your lens, because if it’s super bright outside, you might not be able to set your settings to get the desired effect.
  15. O – Overexposure! This is when your photo is washed out. Too much light has reached the sensor for the shooting conditions. You can increase your shutterspeed and/or aperture to try to compensate for how bright it is. Or even get a Neutral Density filter.
  16. P –  Prints and Products! Print your photos! There’s nothing like holding a print your proud of or displaying it on your wall. Make prints and products of your favorites.
  17. Q – Quiet! Most cameras have a silent shooting mode that makes your shutter click softer. This can be useful for things like ceremonies where people are very quiet.
  18. R – Reflector! These are great when you’re shooting and need to bounce a little more light onto your subjects.
  19. S – Shutter Speed! Shutter speed is what captures or freezes motion. The lower your shutter speed, the more motion blur (and camera shake) you can get. Usually, I try not to go less than 1/100th if I’m holding my camera in my hand. If you’re on a tripod, you can go as low as you want to get the desired effect.
  20. T – Tripod! A tripod can come in very useful in many situations. It allows you to up the shutter speed (see above) and focus more on your overall photo rather than making sure it’s perfectly level and composed each shot. It’s completely necessary for video, if that’s something you enjoy doing, too.
  21. U – Used Equipment! Don’t be scared to buy used from reputable sources! Good camera equipment is made to last, so get yourself something for a better price.
  22. V – Vignetting! This occurs naturally with certain lenses. You don’t really pick up on it, but it’s there. This is great and I love when this happens. What I don’t love is people adding vignetting after the effect. It’s an outdated look, just skip it!
  23. W – Wide-Angle Lens! Anything less than 50mm is actually wide, but most people think of the ultra wide angles in this case, like 10mm. Under 10mm, and it starts going fish-eye. Wide-angles are great for landscapes and shooting in tight spaces.
  24. X – X-Sync Flash! I tried really hard to find something more exciting for “X,” but this is the best I’ve got! X-sync flash is when the flash fires at the instant the shutter is fully open.
  25. Y – You! You are the most important factor in your photography. A better lens or body might help a little, but you knowing more about your equipment and how to use it will help 100x more than the latest and greatest.
  26. Z – Zoom lens! A zoom lens is actually any lens that is not one focal length. A lot of people assume a zoom lens only refers to a telephoto lens. So that 18-55mm is, in fact, a zoom lens. And of course, that 70-200mm is, as well.

Woo! All finished! That was harder than I anticipated. Do you have any that you’d do differently? I’d love to hear from you!


Harry Potter Tag on Youtube | Video

Favorite book?
Favorite movie?
Least favorite book?
Parts of the books/movies that made you cry?
If you could hook up with any HP character who would it be?
Favorite character?
What would your Patronus be?
If you could have the Resurrection Stone, Invisibility Cloak or the Elder Wand which one would you choose?
What House would you be in?
If you could meet any member of the cast who would it be?
Have you played any of the video games?
If you were on the Quiddich team which position would you play?
Were you happy with the ending?
How much does Harry Potter mean to you?

Date Ideas in Peoria

Do you ever feel in a rut with nothing to do when you’re trying to think of something fun? I know I do! I sat down and really thought about some of the fun things you can do around Peoria during certain seasons and all-year-round. Besides dinner and a movie, ya know? I’m sure I missed some, so please comment with your suggestions!


Peoria Zoo – The zoo is often overlooked, but a fun way to spend a mild spring day! The animals are much more active when it’s not hot, so this would be a good fall activity, too. The Africa exhibit is the heart and joy of the zoo. It was completely redone some years back and looks amazing. I can spend hours here, mainly taking photographs of the animals.

Wildlife Prairie Park – Another activity for animal and nature lovers! Wildlife Prairie Park focuses on the native species to the Peoria-area. Again, the animals are more active when it’s not too hot or too cold so go in the Spring or Fall. You can walk a ton and see bison, bears, bobcats, farm animals, and more.

Dog Park – Do you have a pup? Head to one of the dog parks in the area and relax and let your dog have some fun. I love the Pekin dog park. There always seems to be an abundance of wiener dogs whenever I go, so of course I love it.


Riverfront – The Riverfront is great Spring through Fall and has many activities going on! Check their website for music, art shows, festivals, and more!

Taste of Peoria – Typically in August, the Taste of Peoria is a great way to get outdoors and try lots of food from local restaurants!

HOI Fair – Catch some rides, eat some carnival food, and see some bands! It’s a fun way to spend an evening in Peoria when it comes around in the summer.

4th of July Fireworks – Go Downtown 4th of July and see the fireworks. There are usually some activities going on during the day, as well, but the big show starts after dark.

Peoria Chiefs – Go see a minor league baseball game! They have Thirsty Thursday specials and promotions that go on throughout the season.

Luthy Botanical Gardens – Gorgeous greenery! There is both a greenhouse and an outdoor area with beautiful flowers and plants.

Wineries – The Peoria-area has several wineries to choose from. You can do tastings all the time and they frequently host events throughout the year.


Fine Art Festival – The Fine Art Festival is held downtown on the Riverfront. I love seeing all the different artworks from both local, regional, and national artists. You can buy items there, so bring money!

Grandview Drive – Drive along the “World’s Most Beautiful Drive” and admire the view and the houses as the leaves change color. There are public areas with benches and tables, so why not bring some snacks and have a little picnic!

Tanners Apple Orchard – I love this place! This is a great, all ages activity to spend a few hours outside in the amazing Autumn weather. I like to hit up their market and buy some food and apple cider. Oh, and obviously the apple cider donuts are where it’s at. Seriously, get a half dozen and pig out. You can also pick apples and pumpkins. My boyfriend and I have started a tradition of coming here to pick out our pumpkins to carve. They also have some barn animals that you can pet and feed, like goats, bunnies, ponies, and more!

Haunted Houses – There are many haunted houses that happen every year around Halloween time. I love haunted houses. Try to go before it gets too cold or dress in lots of layers if you can’t avoid it. Most haunted houses in the area are outdoors.


WinterFest – Head down to WinterFest and skate on the outdoor ice rink! Last year there was an ice slide and a little shop with coffee and hot chocolate. I will warn you that the ice was pretty choppy, so just be aware of that. Otherwise, it’s a fun thing to do that puts you in the winter spirits!

Festival of Lights – Hit up the parade (but please dress very warmly) or go through the driving-through attraction (my preference). It’s something unique to the Peoria-area and screams Holidays.

Fired Up – Again, Fired Up is great all year, but I particularly love doing it when it’s too cold to be outside. It’s great for marking special occasions or for creating a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one! And you can bring your own booze to drink while you paint! Can’t beat that!

Peoria Rivermen – The Rivermen are Peoria’s minor league hockey team! They play at the Civic Center and frequently have promotions going on for discount tickets or ticket/meal deals.


See a show – Check out the local music venues and see if you recognize any names. There’s the CivicCenter, The Limelight Eventplex, The Rail II, Crusens on Farm, Pizza Works, and many others!

Jukebox Comedy Club – Get your laugh on with your honey.

UFS Wine and Beer Tastings – They frequently have tastings at UFS! Some have an entry fee, but they always go towards a purchase.

Peoria Riverfront Museum – With permanent and traveling exhibits, the Riverfront Museum is a nice way to have fun and learn in the process.

I’ll add to this if I think of anymore, but I’d still love to hear your suggestions! Comment below!