Photography Basics: 5 Tips to Being a Better Photographer

Coppola Photography-CP160538-0001-2.jpg

So you bought a new DLSR camera, you've got a bunch of cute kids that you want to take pictures of, and now you have to learn how to use that camera!  There's a lot to learn but take a deep breath... Adam's got a few tips to help you start your journey to become a better photographer.  Here you go:

  1. Auto Mode does everything OK.
    • The photos you take in auto mode will be fine and I know it's the easy way out, but with a little bit of work, you really can step up your photography game! 
  2. Learn Aperture Priority & ISO
    • Shift your camera from Auto to Av mode.  Here, you have control over Aperture and ISO and the camera will figure out the best shutter speed.
    • For portraits, open up your aperture to create a shallow depth of field (These are the shots where your subject is in focus but the background is blurred out).  Remember, big opening = small f-stop number, like f4 or f2.8(that's the aperture number). 
    • In low light situations, try a high ISO (3200 or 6400).  Standard light conditions 800 ISO is safe.  Sunny day, 100 ISO.
  3. Pay Attention to Light
    • First off, I could devote a whole textbook to this, but I'll try to leave you with one good tip to get you started.
    • Whoever told you that the sun should be at your back when taking a photo, told you wrong.  I always prefer to shoot into shadows from 9am-4pm, which means the sun is at the back of your subject. Try direct light (sun at photographer's back) only at sunrise & sunset.
    • When indoors, pay attention to light spilling in from windows and use that light.  Remember, north facing windows will provide softer light (like a soft box).  South facing windows may be harsh light.
  4. Learn How to Focus
    • Hold the shutter down half-way to focus.
    • Once you feel confident in this, learn the difference between one-shot (portrait, non-moving subject) and AI Servo (movement, like a 3 year old going down a slide).
    • In one-shot, you can focus first, then, while holding your finger half way, you can compose and then take the photo.  Works great if your subject isn't moving.
    • In AI Servo, press the shutter half way down and keep your focus point on the moving subject.  Your lens will continue to focus on that subject while they are moving.  When you are ready for the shot, just push that button!
  5. Finally... my best advice is to come and take our Intro to Photography Class
    • It's best to learn with others in a smaller group setting with an instructor who is knowledgeable, experienced, fun and in a setting that allows you to practice with your camera.  We'll be offering classes throughout the year here at CTPS so you can sign up for the next class here, or you can sign up below for our mailing list to be notified about upcoming classes and specials!

Good Luck! 


Settings for Featured Photo:

Shot in Av Mode (Aperture Priority)


1/2000 sec

ISO 1250

Natural Light, Rim Lit w/sun



Open for Business

Coppola Photography-CP168552-0002.jpg

For any of you who have been through major remodeling work, we are sooooooo sorry!!! Ugh!! We get it now!!!

It’s been one full year since we started working on our Connecticut Photography Studio renovation project.  A year full of arguments and tears and hard work and workers on the property and painting and visits to a million and one hardware stores and we can allllllmost finally say, we’re done!! Wahoo!  Yay!  Cue confetti & ballons & noisemakers!!

Sooooooooo, now what?

Now for the fun part!  We’re hoping to finally include you in on one of the many ways that we’re hoping to use the studio in the future. 

We’ll be offering photography classes for beginners to professionals taught by real actual live awesome local photographers.  Our first Intro to Digital Photography Class is here if you want in!

We’ll be hosting events and invite you to dream up whatever possible event you may want to hold in our beautiful barn, if I do say so myself.  And if you know me at all, you know I’m pretty clueless about how to do this, so the barn is just begging you to come have your event here so it can live up to it’s full potential!!

We’ll also be renting the space out to other photographers so if you have always wanted to have a kick arse photo shoot in a seriously cool remodeled barn, then let your photographer know about our space!! Or hire Adam!

But the biggest most important thing that we want here is to be photographing.  So let us know how we can use our space to help you with your photography needs!!

Hope to see you here soon!


CTPS class 1-CP160008A-Edit-0001.jpg
CTPS class 1-CP160016A-0002.jpg
CTPS class 1-CP160085-0009.jpg
CTPS class 1-CP160221-0016.jpg
CTPS class 1-CP160235-0017.jpg
Coppola Photography-CP160012-0001.jpg

Dream Big - Old Barn

Coppola Photography-1643.jpg

I've always dreamed of having a photography studio.  A studio centered around inspiring the photography community.  A place where photographers can dream big and create big!  A place where photographers can learn, collaborate, share, and get inspired. 

So when Christy and I first started looking for a home over 4 years ago, our studio dream drove the search criteria.  We started our Zillow and Realtor searches with the keywords "barn," and "studio," and "commercial space."  It was a tall order with a small budget.  When we found this property in Killingworth, it was just right!  Zoned for cottage-industry-commercial, a barn, home, & property that needed A LOT of work; so the price was right. 

Despite the fact that the barn looked like it would fall over if a gust of wind hit it and the obvious fact that we had about 20 squirrels living in the barn, it was love at first sight.  And with a deeper look (a very emotionally skewed look) the bones of the barn (the timber frame) were BEAUTIFUL!  See the images below... beautiful right!?!? 

We are still learning about the history of the barn but we have heard that it is one of the original Killingworth barns that served as the town butcher's barn.  The barn was moved 2 properties over in 1982 (our birth year) to it's existing foundation.  The whole barn was sold for $500 in 1982 and converted into an antique storage barn.  The barn is listed as one of CT's historic barns.

The barn is filled with classic timber frame joinery, hand-hewn beams, and thousands of board feet of barn wood.

On the other hand, there were giant holes of missing roof, some rotted beams, and some post and beam chewed up by termites and powder post beetle.  We had our work cut out for us!... so we set the goal to be in the barn in 5 years and I think we may actually accomplish that in 4 1/2!

We've been hard at work remodeling our barn for over a year now but really kicked into gear in early 2017.  I'm excited to share the details of our remodeling but I thought it would be best to share the first stage of the Barn prior to our work.

Coppola Photography-1641.jpg
Coppola Photography-1647.jpg
Coppola Photography-1648.jpg
Coppola Photography-1649.jpg
Coppola Photography-ALC_1652.jpg
Coppola Photography-1650.jpg