Our pal Andy Biggs, of Gura Gear fame, appeared on the NBC Today Show last week to give folks some photography tips. You can view his segment right here:
You can find out more about Andy, his safaris, his blog and his images at his website: www.andybiggs.com
Hoda: At least memory cards give us more room for making mistakes, but who wants to spend valuable vacation time erasing photos when you should be taking them. Well, travel photographer, Andy Biggs, has all the advice you need. Andy, welcome.
Kathie Lee: Hello, Andy, you world traveler you.
Andy: Thanks for having me.
Hoda: What beautiful pictures you take.
Andy: Thank you.
Hoda: They’re all behind us. A lot of these were taken in Africa, right?
Andy: Most of them, yeah.
Hoda: Tell us about these photos and how you decide what to take.
Andy: Well, I travel around the world. Primarily in Africa is where I spend most of my time, and I’m just seeking out fun, remote places to introduce my photography to the world.
Kathie Lee: Is this the Masai tribe?
Andy: It is. That was in Tanzania.
Kathie Lee: My friend, Eva, goes almost every year, and they know her so well there that when she shows up in their town, they go, “Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Moore.”
Hoda: They know her. Do you just catch these at the exact moment because can a lay person do what you’re doing?
Andy: They can. You just have to know your subject, and you have to be patient. The best photography doesn’t happen with drive-by shooting. You need to just sit and be patient.
Kathie Lee: Yeah. But you’ve also been there so often you’re not afraid of this environment. A lot of people, I think, for the first time are like I didn’t get that elephant because I’ve never been here before.
Hoda: They’re too quick about it.
Andy: Yeah. You really need to know your subjects though.
Hoda: Let’s talk about some mistakes that some people make. We actually have two examples of pictures from a recent trip that the Nichols and Dean family took. They went to Legoland in California. So, these are some pictures, right? Tell us what they did wrong.
Kathie Lee: That’s the shade, right?
Andy: What I would have done here is try to figure out a way to get the light on both of their faces and eyes, because the eyes are really the connection to the viewer of the photograph. So, maybe use the fill flash.
Hoda: That’s the whole thing.
Kathie Lee: How about go to a different place than the pool where the sun is shining a little brighter?
Andy: Or just use the fill flash.
Hoda: What about this one right here?
Andy: Use the fill flash, again. It’s all about light, because the subject isn’t the background, all that blown out sky. It’s actually the three subjects.
Kathie Lee: You should never have the sun in the back of you, right?
Andy: You can. You just need to use a reflector or a flash to get the face illuminated.
Hoda: A lot of it people just think it’s the camera, like I’ve got to just have the right camera.
Andy: You don’t.
Hoda: They have so many ones that all you have to do is push the button and it goes.
Kathie Lee: Everything is too complicated now.
Hoda: Tell us about the ones you have on the table.
Andy: I’ve got three cameras here, three recommendations. The blue camera is a Panasonic TS10, and this is a great camera for the beginner to throw in your purse or your pocket for the man, and it’s shockproof and waterproof.
Andy: That’s really neat.
Hoda: And the flash goes off when it needs it. You don’t have to do anything.
Hoda: That’s what I like.
Kathie Lee: It’s a dummy, like for idiot’s camera.
Andy: It’s a great camera though.
Kathie Lee: That’s what I need.
Andy: This is my camera, by the way. Here’s a Sony NEX 5, and this is the smallest SLR, which means you can change the lenses on it, but it’s really small. You can actually put it in a small purse or a small pouch.
Hoda: Now, who should have that type of camera? Do you have to be kind of a little bit of a pro?
Andy: You know, you want to be into photography a little more. The investment’s a little more, around $700 including the lens.
Hoda: Look at the guy on the end.
Kathie Lee: That’s almost paparazzo boy.
Andy: That’s the Nikon D3X. That’s the go for broke, shoot for the Holy Grail. That’s the camera I use to try to make really, really big prints.
Hoda: How much is it?
Kathie Lee: Is that the one that you took these pictures with?
Andy: Most of them, yes.
Hoda: How much is that camera, the Nikon, the big daddy?
Andy: It’s a lot. It’s around $8,000.
Hoda: $8,000, and how about the other two?
Kathie Lee: But you’re a professional.
Andy: This is around $200, street.
Andy: And the Sony is around $700, so a little variance here.
Hoda: Now, sometimes with family photos, I think a lot of people, they take scenery pictures, and I understand why you did in Africa, but often on family trips they take so many scenery pictures and leave the people out, like here’s another picture of the Eiffel Tower.
Kathie Lee: But everybody’s standing there, like the same group of dumb . . . it’s the same, no matter what’s in the background. It’s the Eiffel Tower. It’s the Pisa.
Kathie Lee: Mix it up, right?
Andy: Mix it up. Put people in your photographs. I think everybody knows what the Eiffel Tower looks like, what the Grand Canyon looks like. Let’s be real. Most of the people who look at your photographs are your friends and family.
Kathie Lee: I hate posed pictures though. Let out with the candid shots.
Andy: Act goofy.
Hoda: You take beautiful pictures, by the way.
Kathie Lee: Even though you’re a goofy guy.
Hoda: Yes, you are.
Kathie Lee: Thanks so much.
Hoda: Thanks for being with us. Thanks, Andy.