Everyday Photography

Photographing Thanksgiving

Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians! For my friends around the world not celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, you can tuck away the information below for another time!

As I went to prepare this post, I looked back in my archives for some Thanksgiving images; certain, I’d find a few. I found plenty of Autumn photographs but very few Thanksgiving specific pictures. I know that past Thanksgivings have held many wonderful family memories, but in the hustle and bustle of those moments, it appears I forgot to pick up my camera. So my lesson here for myself and one that I want to remind you of is that everyday moments matter. No matter how trivial those moments seem, taking the time to pick up your camera and capture at least one meaningful memory every day, or as often as possible, is worth it. You’ll be glad you did.

Here are a few ideas I have about how you can infuse Thanksgiving into your photographs this year.

1. Included a seasonal item in your image

Make it bold or include a subtle hint of the season and holiday in your photographs this Thanksgiving. Autumn is in her glory during Canadian Thanksgiving, so my home is decorated with touches of fall. Including these touches within your images adds an excellent seasonal feel in addition to the sentiments the time of year evokes.

ISO 200, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

ISO 200, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

2. Get creative

Don’t be afraid to get creative. I adore sparkle and bokeh and enjoy infusing colour into my frames. In the image below, I used fall garland and a decorative pumpkin to capture a Thanksgiving-themed image. Creatively using seasonal props is fun for myself and my children when we photograph Thanksgiving.

ISO 1600, 35mm, f2.5, 1/250SS

ISO 1600, 35mm, f2.5, 1/250SS

3. Capture the details

My family typically spends Thanksgiving with extended family, but last year we enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving at home. Take a moment to capture the festivities, including dinner preparation, the meal, dessert and other traditions that are favourites. When you look back over the years and are transported to those memories and emotions, it’ll be worth the time it took to stop and capture an image.

ISO 1250, 35mm, f3.2, 1/200SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, f3.2, 1/200SS

4. Capture outdoor activities too

Do you have an outdoor Thanksgiving tradition? Maybe it’s a wagon ride or visit to the pumpkin patch, or perhaps it’s just a walk in the park during the evening exploring the beauty of Autumn nature? Don’t forget to bring your camera along with you to record these moments too. I know my family always enjoys a fall walk in Autumn’s pretty evening light!

ISO 800, 135mm, f2.8, 1/1250SS

ISO 800, 135mm, f2.8, 1/1250SS

Regardless of whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving or not this coming weekend, I wish for you a wonderful weekend filled with family connection!

5 Must Take Autumn Images

Happy Autumn! It’s officially Fall! There are so many reasons to love Autumn. I can hardly count the ways this beautiful season captures my adoration. The cooler temperatures and the need for warm cozy sweaters, the fresh scent of foggy morning air, and the gorgeous colour begging to be photographed are a few of the reasons I love Autumn. I live in a climate where I’m fortunate if Autumn lasts beyond a couple of weeks. So you can bet that I’ll have a camera in hand and be out photographing all things Autumn before this season becomes covered up under a blanket of white snow.

Today I’m sharing my list of must capture Autumn images that I know you’ll want to incorporate into your fall images too!

1. Colour

My top priority when it comes to fall images is photographing the beautiful colour that occurs when the leaves change. There are so many different ways a photographer can incorporate Autumn colour into their images, and it’s super fun to get creative during Autumn. Don’t be afraid to think outside the norm and get creative with colour!

ISO 1000, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/400SS

ISO 1000, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/400SS

2. Weather

Where I live Autumn seems to have some pretty serious weather mood swings. We get the entire mix. Sun, rain, fog, sleet and snow are all thrown into the mix. I really enjoy incorporating weather as an element within my Autumn images. When the weather shows off I like to head outdoors and capture the display.

ISO 1000, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

ISO 1000, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

3. Leaf tossing

No Autumn is complete without a few good leaf tossing images! These are some of my very favourite captures during the Autumn season. As a bonus, these are some of my children’s favourite images too and they have so much fun tossing leaves up into the air.

ISO 800, 130mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

ISO 800, 130mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

4. Details

Don’t forget to fill the frame with all those beautiful Autumn details. There are so many different options here. Leaves, berries, wild mushrooms, apples and pumpkins are all great items that are reminiscent of Autumn.

ISO 800, 90mm, 3.2F, 1/2000SS

ISO 800, 90mm, 3.2F, 1/2000SS

5. Autumn Indoors

With all the beautiful changes occurring outdoors during the Autumn months it can be easy to forget about all the fun fall activities going on indoors. My children love to bake fall cookies and treats. I enjoy photographing these memorable moments.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

Autumn falls away quickly so enjoy photographing your beautiful moments this fall!

Simplify the Frame

I embrace simplicity in my images. For the most part, I enjoy simple frames that are free from clutter and what I think are distractions. There are many photographers, especially documentary photographers, that infuse themselves beautifully within a scene capturing every little detail as a means to help tell a story. My style is much simpler than that. However, is my environment free from clutter or what I view as possible distractions? Absolutely not! There are a few techniques I use which help me create simplicity within my images. Here are those tips: 

1. Shoot from above

Shooting from above, or bird’s eye view, is one of the easiest ways a photographer can simplify the frame. Top-down images can exclude a lot of external environment and can help isolate a detail or moment. The closer you are to your subject, the less context in the frame and the less potential for distractions.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

2. Fill the frame

Filling the frame is similar to shooting from above. However, this concept is not about the angle in which you capture your subject; rather it's about moving close to and photographing only your subject. You want to fill your camera frame with only the intended subject. In these types of images, the background and environment are often excluded from the image. This is a beautiful way in which a photographer can isolate a single details within an image or create a stunning simple portrait.  

ISO 800, 105mm, f3, 1/3200SS

ISO 800, 105mm, f3, 1/3200SS

3. Pull your subject away from a background

The closer your subject is to a background, the more in focus your background will be, especially if you are not shooting at a wide aperture. Pulling your subject away from a background helps the details in a background blur more. This helps isolate your subject when focus is set to him or her and simplifies the frame.

ISO 800, 105,,m 2.8f, 1/2500SS

ISO 800, 105,,m 2.8f, 1/2500SS

4. Shoot with a wide aperture or freelens

For those who have a solid understanding of aperture and depth of field this point probably goes without saying; anytime a photographer chooses to use a large aperture the smaller the plane of focus. Images taken with a large aperture (2.8 or lower) will have more blur, which simplifies an image, as humans tend to ignore areas within an image that are not in focus. Images that are captured with a small aperture (f4 or higher) are likely to have more in focus within the frame, which often results in less simplicity.

When you freelens an image, there is a tiny slice of focus. This is also another good way in which to blur out potential background distractions and simplify a frame.

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

5. Use an object or creative effect to block a distraction

Composing your image in a way that blocks distractions is a fun exercise in observation and creativity. When composing your image, look around your scene to determine if there are elements you can use to hide potential distractions or use in a way that simplifies the frame.

In the image below, to the right of the frame, is my daughter’s closet. Her clothes and toys were visible in the frame until I used the bokeh from a handheld chandelier lampshade to cover those distractions.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/200SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/200SS

6. Don’t be afraid to use post processing tools

Post-processing is powerful and can help a photographer execute their vision for an image. It's a good idea to become comfortable with the tools in image processing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop. The clone stamp tool is one of my favourite post-processing tools. This tool can help me eliminate potential distractions and simplify my image.

The image on the left is straight out of the camera. I didn’t love the tree on the left of my frame, as I found it pulled my eye away from my subject. So I decided to clone it out. This tweak resulted in a simpler image, in my opinion, with less distraction.

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 800, 105mm, 1/2000SS Edited

ISO 800, 105mm, 1/2000SS Edited

If simplicity is your style I highly recommend the above suggestions in order to eliminate possible distractions in your scenes. Give them a try! I’m certain you’ll find a favourite!

A Stunning Combination: Water and Your Camera-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 2

In last week’s post I discussed 6 Fun Elements to use in your Summer Images. As part of The Sensational Summer Photography Series I’m going to dive deeper into each topic and provide inspiration and a few tips on how you can go about capturing these specific elements.

Since it’s summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere I know we are all welcoming the glorious warmth of the sunshine but sometimes that heat is in need of a little taming. The cool refreshing touch of water sounds like the perfect way to cool off those hot summer days. I’m always really cautious about my camera gear around water. Who wouldn’t be, right? Cameras and water don’t really mix well…or do they? Seems to me like so many rules in photography are meant to be broken and this is certainly one of them. So rule breakers, here’s some advice when it comes to incorporating water into your photography this summer!

1. Protect your gear

There are many different options out there when it comes to water and photography. Most of my images taken in and around water are while I’m at a beach, lake, river and in and around sprinklers. I don’t have access to a pool all that often so I haven’t had the opportunity to be exposed to a lot of submersion photography. Regardless, protecting your gear or having a camera system that is underwater friendly is a necessity when shooting in and around water.

There are a couple of ways I protect my camera gear when mixing the element of water into my images. If my camera is poolside or sprinkler side and there’s the risk that a small splash or a few droplets might come flying my way I simply protect my gear with a rain sleeve. These sleeves are readily available and are inexpensive. I highly recommend them. In situations where there’s the potential for a lot more water exposure or when we are going to the beach where I’m bound to encounter sand I use my DiCAPac. This bag provides excellent protection for my camera from both water and sand. I must test the bag prior to each use and look for leaks and it is a bit cumbersome when it comes to changing my camera settings when my camera is inside the bag but overall this bag works really well for the types of water images I’m shooting in.

ISO 200, 35mm, 5.6f, 1/3200SS

ISO 200, 35mm, 5.6f, 1/3200SS

2. Split View or Submerge

As I mentioned I haven’t had a lot of opportunity for full submersion water photography but when I’m brave enough to venture into a cold river or lake I like to play around with split view images. In these types of captures my bagged camera is only half submerged. When the water is clear I get a fun underwater view and can capture my subject above the water too! This is such a fun technique to experiment with!

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

3. Give me all the water bokeh

Who else here has a bokeh addiction? I know you’re out there! If you love bokeh then you my friend are meant to be one with your camera and water! As mentioned, my bodies of water are not warm. They are glacial cold even on the hottest of summer days. However, my slight obsession with water bokeh sparkle has me jumping right into that frozen water! I’ve found that the best water bokeh is created when light is hitting the water and when water is moving, so a splash, rushing river, sprinkler or even a water gun will give you bokeh delicious images. When the water droplets are in motion they catch the sunlight creating that bokeh you crave or soon will be craving once you give it a try!

ISO 200, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

ISO 200, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

4. Reflections

Next to bokeh, reflections are another favourite element to capture when I am around water. Your subject doesn’t even need to be in the water. Angles are everything here and it’s a really good idea to move around the scene to determine how you can best incorporate or capture a reflection. Static water reflects the best and provides beautiful crisp reflections. Also, if you happen to be at a beach, wet sand reflects in a beautiful way as well. Keep an eye out for those reflections as you capture your summer in and around the water this summer.

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

This summer don’t be afraid to use the element of water in your captures! I think water and photography result in some stunning summer captures! The current theme at The Photographer’s Notebook on Instagram is #tpn_water until July 22, 2019! I look forward to seeing how you’re using water in your own summer captures!

Part 3 in The Sensational Summer Photography Series is next week! I talk about how to incorporate food in your summer images! Talk to you then!

6 Fun Elements to use in your Summer Images-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 1

I’m really excited about the summer! Up here in Canada, we finish up school a little later than most of our friends in the United States, so we have only just started to settle into our summer routine of outdoor play and adventures.

I know I’m super excited to start photographing all things summer! As a means to inspire and provide you with tips on how you can go about capturing your summer memories, I’ve created The Sensational Summer Photography Series which I’ll be sharing with your over the next seven weeks! This week, to begin this series, I’m sharing my favourite fun elements to incorporate into my summer images!

1. Water

Water and summer are a perfect pair. With the hot days of summer who wouldn’t want to cool off with a little water? I really enjoy experimenting around water and take my camera with me to the river and beach all summer long. If you’re not around natural bodies of water there is lots of fun to be had around pools and sprinklers too.

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

2. Food

Good food and summer go hand in hand.  There are so many opportunities to incorporate food images with a summer theme.  Messy, gooey and sticky faces and fingers are always enjoyable signs of summer.  BBQ meals, ice cream cones, popsicles, watermelon, marshmallow roasts, strawberry fields, to name only a small few, are all moments that can be photographed and incorporated into your summer captures.

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

3. Adventures

My number one reason for my love of the summer months is the ability to be outdoors. We spend a significant amount of time out exploring the Canadian Rocky Mountains during the summer. I love capturing my children when we are out hiking, biking, and adventuring in the Rockies. I feel very inspired by the beauty within the outdoors, and I enjoy capturing our everyday outdoor summer adventures.

ISO 500, 35mm, f9, 1/1000SS

ISO 500, 35mm, f9, 1/1000SS

4. Weather

Summer weather is spectacular! From the hot sun to wild summer storms, I enjoy capturing it all. When the weather puts on a show, I most certainly grab my camera.

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/320SS

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/320SS

5. Details

I know I say this a lot, but details really are the best and summer details are no exception. I want to remember the dirty knees, the sandy faces, the frog that brought the biggest of smiles to my children’s faces, the tiny bugs, and muddy fingers. Attached to these details are beautiful memories that I never want to forget.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/250SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/250SS

6. Landscapes

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know I’m incredibly passionate about landscape photography so you’ll find it no surprise that I enjoy capturing my children while immersed in a beautiful landscape.

ISO 100, 105mm, 2.8, 1/4000SS

ISO 100, 105mm, 2.8, 1/4000SS

Be sure to stay tuned friends! Next week I offer my best tips on how to capture images in and around the water during the summer months as part of The Sensational Summer Photography Series!

Happy summer friends! I’m thoroughly enjoying all the incredible summer images being tagged to #thephotographersnotebook so far this summer!

Tweens and Teens: 9 Tips for Photographing Older Children

With summer approaching very fast I’ll soon have my children all to myself all day long and I’m super happy about that! With our busy school season schedules it sometimes feels like I hardly see my children, especially my almost teenager and preteen. So I’m looking forward to some down time over the summer and I know I’ll certainly take advantage of the time we have together to capture some, or perhaps a lot, of images! But capturing preteens and teens can sometimes be a challenge. As my children grow they become increasingly opinionated about my camera. For those of you with preteens, teens and older children here are a few tips that make it easier on my children and myself when it comes to photographs that I know will be helpful to you.

1. Aim to capture a relaxed portrait

I love a good portrait however for the most part my teens are not interested in dressing up in stylish outfits and posing in the forest in pretty light with beautiful smiles. This sounds like torture for both of us. My approach to portraiture is much more relaxed these days. When we’re out and about if I’m able to snap a quick cooperative or even unknown relaxed portrait then I do so otherwise I don’t push for it. I’m also okay with lack of eye contact or a portrait that incorporates a moment of fun or play. I rarely ask for a pose or give direction. I always want to choose genuine expressions and authenticity over stiff and forced smiles.

ISO 400, 125mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

ISO 400, 125mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

2. Take on a lifestyle approach

My main goal when capturing my children is to capture them in the moment preserving little memories. The same is for my teens. I want to remember moments of play and childhood so I’m not necessarily looking for the perfect set up. Instead, I want moments in time that trigger fun and playful memories.

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/2500SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/2500SS

3. Use a longer lens

I’m partial to long lenses anyway but I find the use of a longer lens valuable when I’m photographing my teens. Maintaining distance between myself and my teens allows for them to feel more independent and they don’t have a camera in their face. I find this increases authenticity as they get to be themselves while I go about capturing their moments.

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/500SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/500SS

4. Be ready

Even when I do have the cooperation of my teens I find their interest in my camera is limited so I’m ready with settings all dialled in before I start capturing a scene. I don’t want to bore or annoy them as I change and play around with settings. I know their attention spans for my camera won’t last that long.  

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/400SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/400SS

5. Incorporate their ideas into a photo shoot

Occasionally I’ll suggest a photo shoot to my teens and ask them how they’d like for me to capture the idea. They are really good at coming up with ideas and are typically excited and cooperative when I’m photographing their ideas.

ISO 500, 35mm, f4, 1/1600SS

ISO 500, 35mm, f4, 1/1600SS

6. Capture what they love

Preteens have opinions about what they like to do.  I find my preteens are more likely to participate with my camera if they are involved in something they enjoy doing. My daughter is a super star soccer player and her passion is soccer. She was more than willing to pose for this image because it was about her love of soccer.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/800SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/800SS

7. Make it fun

We all know our children best and know what they like and don’t like. My daughter was happy to have this image taken of her because she was enjoying swinging back and forth in the hammock. The moment was fun for her too.

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

8. Always ask permission

There are two parts to this point for me.  First, I always ask permission before capturing my children.  I might say something as simple as, “I’m going to bring my camera along on our walk for a few photos,” or “Mind if I take a few pictures of you throwing rocks?” I rarely get a “no” if I forewarn my teens that my camera is around and I intend on capturing images.  Second, before I post anything on social media I ask permission or let them know what I’ll be posting.  My children are all over the internet and as they become increasingly private about their lives and understand that what I post might be seen by their peers, teachers, coaches and even strangers they have opinions. I want to be respectful of that.

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/2000SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/2000SS

9. Take no for an answer

Everyone likes cooperation but that’s not always the case especially with teens.  Their opinion matters and if they are not in the mood or say no to my camera I put it away.  No questions asked.  After all, I really want them to agree to my camera the next time around.  

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

Do you have any other tips for capturing tweens or teens? Let me know by posting in the blog comments below! I hope with the summer you’ll have lots of opportunities to capture your older children!

Outdoor Composition: 3 More Techniques (Part 2 of 2)

Last week I mentioned how I enjoy incorporating foreground elements, framing and leading lines into the composition of my images in order to create stronger and more dynamic images. This week I’m sharing three more elements of composition that when used well will strengthen the quality of your captures. Composition is really easy to use as you go about capturing your everyday. It’s about being aware and shooting with intent.

Here are three more composition techniques that will bring attention to your subject and help you create stronger photographic images.

4. Centre composition  

One of the first rules of composition I learned as a new photographer was the rule of thirds, which specifies your subject placement should not be centre composed rather it’s more pleasing to have your subject placed within the first or last third of a scene. However this rule is meant to be broken. Nature has a way of being incredibly balanced. When I see a scene in which nature is balanced or mostly balanced I will often use centre composition. I find so much calm in nature and I think a nicely balanced image helps infuse a sense of harmony and peace.

ISO 200, 200mm, 3.2f, 1/200SS

ISO 200, 200mm, 3.2f, 1/200SS

5. Perspective changes

This is a super fun technique!  I’m drawn to a certain type of image and I thrive on simplicity in my images so there are times I feel like I’m repeating the same image over and over again just in a different location. This is my favourite compositional technique to add uniqueness, variety and even creativity.

Try shooting up at your subject. I adore the sense of height and freedom implied within this composition. Sometimes shooting up means laying on your back and shooting directly up towards to sky and your subject. Just make sure you’re safety outside of a potential collision path!

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/500SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/500SS

Or try shooting down at your subject! There’s a wonderful feeling of protection and caring infused into this composition perspective.

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

6. Scale

I adore the feeling of little in a great big world.  I often use this technique to capture my children when we are out in nature.  Nature can be big, bold and oh so beautiful and I like to showcase how grande the world around us is.

ScaleOutdoorComposition.jpg

Remember these composition techniques when you are outdoors capturing memories. If you take a moment to compose your images thoughtfully you’ll immediately elevate an image.

In case you missed the first three outdoor composition tips you can find that here: Outdoor Composition: 3 Techniques (Part 1 of 2).

Enjoy being creative and exploring different types of composition when you are out shooting!

Outdoor Composition: 3 Techniques (Part 1 of 2)

Despite a couple of weather hiccups this spring, involving snow storms, we are slowly warming up and I know that many of you are well into summer like weather. With spring blooms on the horizon, where I live, we are venturing outside a lot more often. Heading back outdoors has rejuvenated my creativity and I’ve started to look for new but familiar places to photograph my children. With that, I’ve also become excited about exploring composition outdoors. Composition is an important tool in photography as it can attract a viewer’s attention, lead a viewer through a frame, help tell a story and infuse intention into what you the artist is trying to visually convey. Intentional use of composition will help you become a stronger photographer.

Here are a few techniques and elements of composition, that I like to use in my outdoor images.  

1. Incorporate foreground elements

Incorporating foreground elements within a frame can help add depth to an image which creates a more three dimensional and lifelike feeling.  There are several ways foreground elements can be infused into an image.  One of my favourite ways to layer an image and create that foreground is to get down low, and by low, I mean really low, often laying on my stomach in order to capture an image.  This results in a nice blurred foreground if you are shooting at a reasonably wide aperture and focusing on your subject in the distance.

ISO 200, 200mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

ISO 200, 200mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

A second way foreground elements can be incorporated into an image is simply by shooting from behind an element like a tree, shrub, grasses and so on.  This technique is a favourite of mine when I backlight my subjects because the foreground objects typically catch the light creating beautiful sparkly foreground bokeh and glow.

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS

A third way in which to incorporate foreground elements is to use creative techniques like a prism.  I really love how a prism can reflect surrounding natural elements into an image or how a beautiful rainbow like flare can infuse a little creative magic into a capture, making it fun and unique.

PortraitPrism.jpg

2. Framing

Framing is a fantastic way to bring attention to a subject or subjects within an image.  Outdoors, I find opportunities to frame exist everywhere!  Subjects can be framed in park play structures, doorways of tunnels, in doorways of buildings, through windows of a structure, through fences, between tree trucks, amongst tree branches, between grasses, and so on.  Being aware of naturally occurring and structural objects and using them in a way that frames your subject can really elevate an image in a creative way.

ISO 400, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/1250

ISO 400, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/1250

3. Leading lines

Leading lines not only help bring a viewer’s attention to your subject but can also add depth to an image and lead your viewer's eye through a frame, helping tell a story.  I like to look for elements like pathways, man-made and naturally occurring, shorelines, logs, tree branches and anything that helps lead my eye towards my subject in a fun and creative way.

ISO 400, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

ISO 400, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

I hope you’ll enjoy incorporating some of these compositional techniques into your own outdoor images! Part 2 of this mini series on outdoor composition is on its way next week so be sure to keep an eye out for that!

How to Take Stunning Photos in Overcast Light

Light happens to be one of my favourite photography topics. I adore all things light. Finding light, manipulating light, capturing light…it’s a passion of mine. I also happen to love a good challenge so the more challenging the light the more enticing it is for me to work with and capture it in a technically strong and creative way. In the past I’ve found myself a little disappointed when the outdoors has given me overcast light. However, in time I’ve found ways to work with overcast light in ways that can be beautiful too. Here are some of my tips for working with overcast light.

1. Create portraits or environmental portraits

Overcast light can be beautiful portraiture light. The dynamic range or difference between the highlights and shadows in your scene is lessened as compared to shooting in stronger light. This creates more even lighting in your scene. This even lighting falls beautifully across a subject resulting in smooth and even skin with little worry about distracting highlights or shadows.

When creating portraits in overcast light I make sure that I’m still aware of where the sun should be. If you are unsure of where the sun should be you can look for soft shadows around you. The sun is always opposite the direction in which a shadow is falling. Or there are numerous free apps such as Sky View Lite, Sky Guide and others that will superimpose the sun’s placement when you hold your phone up to the sky when using the app. Knowing where the sun is will help you still use overcast light in a good way. I like to have the light behind me, falling flat over my subject. This creates beautiful catchlights in your subject’s eyes, especially if your subject’s head is tilted upwards just a touch, and soft and even skin tones. 

ISO 400, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS

ISO 400, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS

2. Embrace the mood within overcast light

Overcast light emits a certain type of mood. Usually one of peace, tranquility and calm or sometimes even moody drama. Play this up! Capture images in a way that enhances the calm or moody drama in your surrounding.

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/4000SS

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/4000SS

3. Incorporate juxtaposition

As just noted overcast light typically suggests calm or moody drama within an image. Incorporating elements into your image that are contradictory to these moods will likely draw attention to your image. Think energy within a moody scene, like a dancing child or movement of any kind.

ISO 2000, 120mm, 3.5f, 1/1600SS

ISO 2000, 120mm, 3.5f, 1/1600SS

4. Focus in on detail

Another favourite technique of mine in many situations is to simply focus in on details. When the light is not dynamic drawing attention to a simple detail can still contribute to a powerful and stunning image.  

ISO 200, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/1600SS

ISO 200, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/1600SS

5. Use interesting compositions

Overcast light is for the most part flat. Incorporating elements of composition that enhance depth can result in a more interesting and dynamic image. Challenge yourself to find creative composition after all you’ll be working with light that isn’t all that hard to manage so now is the time to take risks and challenge yourself with experimenting in composition.

CreativeCompOvercastLight.jpg

6. Incorporate a creative technique

I really enjoy thinking up ways in which I can push my images creatively. By using natural elements around me like shurbs, tree branches, flowers or other products like a prism or by freelensing a bit of artistic flair can be infused into an image making it unique and captivating even in overcast light.

ISO 200, 105, 3.2f, 1250ss

ISO 200, 105, 3.2f, 1250ss

Next time you are given overcast light remember these tips! Stunning images can be captured in every lighting situation!

Easter-3 Must Capture Perspectives

In my home Easter is a fun time! My children always request Easter egg decorating as an activity this time of year. They literally sit for hours perfecting their egg masterpieces while I snap images on my camera. After awhile though I begin to realize I’ve taken the same image over and over again just with a different egg. Ha, ha! Okay, I better mix things up! In situations like this where my children are still and engaged in an activity I like to add variety to my images by changing my perspective. This allows me to get several different captures out of a single photo shoot.

1. Eye Level

This is certainly the most traditional perspective when capturing an image. This straight on, at eye level, capture is a must have. You can also try for variety in this perspective by capturing different facial expressions and maybe an image or two with eye contact as well.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

2. Bird’s eye view

I really love this point of view. This is certainly a perspective that us parents can all relate to as we often view our children from this view point. Whenever I see images captured from above a child I find I’m filled with that parental feeling of nurturing.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

One way you can add variety within this perspective is to capture the bird’s eye view point from in front of but also from behind your subject.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

3. Details

Details are beautiful but so easily overlooked. I am making a more conscious effort to capture the details around me. You can certainly vary how you capture your details as well and use various different perspectives. Also, don’t be afraid to shoot at a wide aperture which will draw attention to your subject and blur out your background.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

There! All done! Now I have at least 4 or more Instagram worthy images ready to be posted! That sounds like a win in my books! Happy Easter friends! I hope you have some fun and relaxation planned with your family!


all content and images © Gina Yeo Photography, 2019