Colour

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!

7 Must Capture Spring Images

Now that winter is over, so says the calendar. (I’m choosing to ignore the snow that remains and is all too slowly melting away). I’m ready to capture all things spring! I always enjoy some inspiration so here are a few of my very favourite spring elements to incorporate into all my images.

1. Outdoor Adventures

I think winter is beautiful. I adore the fluffy white snow and sleepy frozen landscape but it gets cold here, very cold, often so cold it’s hazardous to venture outside for any longer than a few minutes so come spring we embrace our outdoor adventures enthusiastically. I wager a guess that, like me, you have been heading out into nature more. I love going for walks along our city pathways, venturing into the woods and parks, playing down by the river and stopping in at the park. These adventures all make for fantastic opportunities to capture everyday moments of childhood in a genuine and authentic way.

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/1000SS

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/1000SS

2. All Things Flowering

With spring comes new life. I’ve already seen green grass sprouting up through the thawing winter earth so I know it won’t be long now and the flowers will begin to bloom. Fields of flowering weeds, dandelions and flowering trees all begin to blossom over the next few months. I adore infusing the colour spring flowers have to offer both into my child images and landscape images.

ISO 400, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/2500SS

ISO 400, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/2500SS

3. New life

Spring is about new life. I’m certainly partial to the earthy smell of moist soil and green growth and I enjoy watching my children nurture tiny seedlings that will eventually be transplanted outdoors but for now need tender care and attention.

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

4. Bugs and Baby Animals

I don’t know about your children but mine adore bugs. Wiggly, squishy, fast, slow, slimy, hopping…all are excitedly scooped up and gently played with. I treasure these childhood moments because there’s so much joy found in such a simple everyday moment.

When my children were a little younger we used to visit a local farm around the Easter season. I have many capture of them petting the baby goats and holding tiny baby chicks. All wonderful sentimental moments that I cherish to this day.

ISO 800, 105mm, 4f, 1/800SS

ISO 800, 105mm, 4f, 1/800SS

5. Weather

Spring is truly about the full four seasons for us. Snow, rain, fog, sun we get it all. I enjoy the variety these weather elements offer and aim to incorporate weather into my spring images from both outside and inside.

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/4000

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/4000

ISO 320, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/320SS

ISO 320, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/320SS

6. Spring Vacation

Our spring vacations can range from sun and beach to snow and ice and somewhere in between. Holidays are always inspiring and I want to capture all the images all the time. Outside of everyday routine I always find myself inspired by scenes and the newness of my surroundings.

ISO 400, 16mm, 10f, 1/320SS

ISO 400, 16mm, 10f, 1/320SS

7. Colour

Winter where I live is either white and pretty or dried brown bland so I fully embrace the colours of spring. The brighter the better! I love to capture nature’s beautiful colours but I also embrace colourful clothing and accessories too! I find beautiful colour so refreshing and rejuvenated after a long white colourless winter.

ISO 640, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

ISO 640, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

Have you picked yourself up a Photographer’s Notebook yet? Take 5 minutes or so to brainstorm some spring themed images after reading this post! Jot down your ideas for images you can capture and be inspired to capture all the beautiful moments spring offers because this season often moves on in the blink of an eye! Happy spring friends!


4 Tips to Capture Fun-Filled Outdoor Images

Today’s blog post is incredibly exciting because I get to introduce the first featured artist here at The Photographer’s Notebook. I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce Jillian Baudry who is a photographer residing in the south of France. She truly captures the most stunning images of her daughter and family in beautiful and colourful ways! Her use of light is both breathtaking and inspiring! I know you will enjoy what she has to say so without further ado lets dive into Jillian’s expertise on capturing fun-filled outdoor images!


Featured Photographer Post By: Jillian Baudry

Whatever the weather, our little family is at it's happiest outdoors and there's nothing I love more than being able to capture those adventures with my camera! Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way to make our outdoor time fun, avoid meltdowns and return home with images I love.

1. Plan a fun activity

I discovered early on that little ones don't have much patience for sitting still and posing! My little girl is constantly on the move and it can be a challenge to slow her down enough to be able to take some shots. With this in mind, when we go outside and I intend to take photos, I plan a fun activity. Something such as collecting shells, flying a kite, or throwing sticks in the river not only means she enjoys her time outside, but it also keeps her occupied and in one area for long enough to let me take some shots. She's now learned to associate my camera with having fun outdoors rather than standing and posing for boring photos, so it's a win-win !  We are creating happy memories at the same time and after all, aren't these the moments we all want to record, the reason why so many of us picked up the camera in the first place? Activities don't have to be complicated or costly. There are so many things you can come up with. It can even be something as simple as examining a pine cone for really young children, anything that slows them down a little bit and means they don't feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. 

ISO 500, 20mm, 4f, 1/2500SS

ISO 500, 20mm, 4f, 1/2500SS

2. Move around

I rarely shoot posed images and I don't direct my subjects, but the scene as it appears right in front of me isn't always perfectly photogenic. My solution is to move myself, so much easier than trying to move my little subject and disrupting her play! Try walking around your subject and moving closer or further away. That way, you can utilize different kinds of lighting, include more or less of the surrounding environment to tell your story or find a less cluttered background for your subject. Don't forget to get really close to preserve those important little details too, such as a tiny hand holding out a found treasure or the way your little one's hair blows in the wind. Shooting from above or below can also minimize background distractions, provide variety and help focus on the details.

ISO 250, 20mm, 2.8f, 1/1600SS

ISO 250, 20mm, 2.8f, 1/1600SS

ISO 800, 20mm, 3.5f, 1/1000SS

ISO 800, 20mm, 3.5f, 1/1000SS

3. Add some color

A quick glance at my images will tell you that I'm a big fan of color! I love to add a pop of color whenever I can, as it not only helps add contrast and interest to my images but also helps me capture the fun-filled mood and energy of our outdoor adventures. Although she's only 4, my little girl already insists on making her own decisions on what to wear. We avoid arguments by me offering her a choice of brightly colored tops, boots, umbrellas etc. leaving the exact details up to her. Along with my beloved wide angle lens, using a pop of vibrant color helps me to create images with a fun, dynamic feel.

ISO 200, 20mm, 3.2f, 1/4000SS

ISO 200, 20mm, 3.2f, 1/4000SS

4. Be prepared

We always dress appropriately for our trips outside but very often, we need a dry change of shoes and a towel too. We've fallen in puddles, Daddy wades into the river when necessary to rescue an escaped shoe, our dog has fallen in the canal...In fact we've found a whole host of ways to return back to the car wet and muddy! A dry change of clothes, a hot or cold drink and a snack for everyone helps the adventure end on a happy note amid promises to do this again soon!

ISO 320, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS

ISO 320, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS


Jillian Baudry

Jillian is a natural light photographer, living in the south of France, creating colorful, light-infused imagery of her family's outdoor adventures. Living between the Mediterranean and the mountains, you'll usually find her out and about, camera in hand, exploring with hubby and her little girl with their rescue dog Hector leading the way.

You can find Jillian on:

Instagram

Website

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