How to take the perfect picture (even without Steve Carell)

How to take great pictures -- even without Steve Carell.

How to take great pictures — even without Steve Carell.

As the editor of Vegas magazine, I organize photo shoots and pick pictures for publication all day long. Another part of my job includes representing the magazine at the very best of Las Vegas events that in turn require having my photo taken, something I have loathed my entire life. But since I now have to run 3-4 of those pictures in every issue (oh, and I have a blog!), I have learned how to take good pictures or at least do the best I can. More and more lately, I’ve been asked for tips, so these skills must be improving… I promise you, it’s not about looking like a model or having the most expensive clothes, as evidenced in the following photos. In fact, there are several easy tips that make all the difference in the world.

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Sony Hidden Project: A bit of detail

China PoblanoI go to so many amazing foodie events like this one at Bar Masa (and am such a foodie myself) that I always wanted to learn how to take good food pictures so I could share them with you. Well, I am finally on my way! It turns out that my favorite part about being asked to represent Las Vegas for Sony’s Hidden project was getting to know the NEX-5RK’s macro lens. I am obsessed! As part of my job as editor-in-chief of Vegas magazine, I do photo selects of yummy food pictures all the time. Finally, I am learning the tech-y side of actually taking the photos! Here are just a few of my favorites, which ran during my photo exhibit at the Sony Store at Forum Shops.

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Sony Hidden Project: a day in my life as an editor

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Now that my Hidden Vegas photo exhibit at the Sony Store at the Forum Shops is winding down, I wanted to share my series online. My assignment: use my new Sony NEX-5RK to capture a day in my life as editor-in-chief of Vegas magazine. We decided I’d go “day to night,” from putting together the lifestyle magazine all day in my suburban Nevada office to racing to parties and events at night. I found it a bit challenging to get behind the lens and make my job look fun — after all, a good chunk of my day is spent at my computer editing. I hope you like this inside peek! (From there, I showed  bit about what it is like to get ready for the big events, and then some whirlwind nights on the Strip, but I’ll save that for the next post.) The catch: the folks at Sony really pushed their “hidden” agenda, to share our cities not only from the eyes of a local, but from a special point of view, showing no faces. Meanwhile, I was learning to use a brand-new camera.

I have always loved creative challenges! This time, I got to attack a technical one as well.

Here is the “day” part! Early mistakes and all…

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Hidden Vegas project for Sony: my first published pics!

Emma Trotter

At Vegas magazine, we spend quite a lot of time in our photo studio.

One of my goals this year was to work on my photography skills, so how excited was I to participate in Sony’s “Hidden” project? For two weeks, two amateur photographers in cities across the country snapped photos of their everyday lives. Right now, our photos are on display in our local Sony Store, mine at the one near the main valet of Forum Shops at Caesars (near Joe’s Stone Crab). I had a blast doing this project, even though I was so nervous to be so public with my mistakes as I learned how to use the Sony NEX-5RK. It was worth it! Largely thanks to the super-helpful pros at the Sony Store, I have been experimenting with the macro lens (my favorite), focusing, and lighting.

I can’t wait to study photography as much as I can!

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Whenever I head to the tropics and someone hears I got a little rain, they groan, “awww.” But I love it! The smell of rain and the feel of humidity make me so happy. It’s hard to capture that slice of nature in a photograph, but I liked this picture. Being cold makes me feel so tired, but warm tropical waterfall makes me feel so alive and safe. This photo looks like it could have been taken on a chilly day, but instead we were blanketed by hot, humid air. I took this during an early morning walk in Playa Guiones, a fun surf town a few hours south of Coco.

This is why I travel

This is why I travel.

After a full day laughing with friends on Lisa and Mau’s boat, drinking, snacking, swimming, weathering a rainstorm, hiking alone on an island, exploring the cave on Playa Juevos… Then this magical sunset as we headed home. With not another soul in sight for as far as we could see, we took in these bright colors, changing from pinks to yellow and orange from horizon to shore. We were all in awe! 

Shown here: Guanacaste’s famous Monkey’s Head Rock, outside of Coco, Costa Rica.