The Photographer's Notebook

 

A BLOG TO LEARN AND GROW

Secrets for Powerful Black and White Images: A Black and White Photography Series, Part 1 of 3

There’s something timeless and captivating about a black and white image. With the absence of colour, a viewer is forced to pay attention to certain aspects within a frame. Creating a strong black and white image is much more than a simple post-processing conversion. There are many ways in which a photographer can create a strong black and white image. In this three-part series, I will be sharing with you my secrets for creating powerful black and white imagery.

1. Be aware of how colours convert

Not all images are meant to be black and white, and a photographer must always ask herself if an image is stronger in black and white. A photographer should learn to see a scene in black and white. This is super tricky, though, because humans see the world in a range of colours.

Colour in a black and white conversion is represented along a greyscale. Each colour is assigned a tone of grey from pure black through full white. A scene with a wide range of colours is likely to convert...

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Long Exposure Landscapes

Several weeks ago, I wrote about My 3 Favourite Landscape Photography Techniques. A few weeks after that, I discussed How to Capture a Static Landscape Image. This week, I want to elaborate further on that first post and talk about long exposure photography. Long exposure, in landscape photography, is a creative technique in which movement is showcased. Most often, long exposures showcase movement in clouds and water. Long exposure photography is gorgeous, and once you try it, I think you’ll fall in love with this technique. If you are interested in trying long exposure photography, I have a few tips to get you started.

1. Use a wired cable or wireless shutter release

I think when you are learning a new genre of photography that you should jump right in and get started even without having all the fancy tools. If landscape photography is something you find you enjoy, I highly recommend your first landscape photography specific purchase be a shutter trigger release. Wired...

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Freelensing: Technique and Tips

I’m super excited to talk about the creative technique of freelensing this week! It's one of my absolute favourite ways to great creativity behind the lens. I came across this technique years ago when I began to dabble in creative photography, and it has stuck with me.

The very first lens I purchased, beyond my kit lens, was a Nikkor 50mm 1.4. Over time, as I expanded my lens collection, my 50mm started to collect dust. I contemplated selling it until I discovered that I could freelens with it. Freelensing is also known as the “poor man’s tilt-shift” because it captures images with a similar look. When a photographer captures a picture with a lens attached to the camera body, she can control the depth of field or focal plane only through aperture choice. Freelensing disrupts the plane of focus because the lens is detached from the camera body. This technique results in a thin line of focus that is not necessarily only horizontal as well as extreme blur...

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How to Capture a Static Landscape Image

A few weeks ago, I wrote about My 3 Favourite Landscape Photography Techniques. In that post, I talked about my three favourite techniques for capturing a single landscape scene. One of the methods I mentioned was static exposure. Static exposure is essentially photographing a scene as it is, and freezing it, as you see it, in time.

When I began my landscape photography journey, I had very little knowledge about how to capture a good landscape photograph. I had never photographed a landscape scene before. Also, I'm a mom photographer and was used to chasing my children around snapping images with wide-open apertures. My child subjects didn't stand still like a landscape scene. As I explored landscape photography, I quickly learned that my approach to capturing a landscape image was different than the approach I took when photographing my children.

Static, or regular exposure, of a landscape scene, is the most basic of captures when it comes to landscape photography. However, this...

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My 3 Favourite Landscape Photography Techniques

There are many different approaches a landscape photographer can take when capturing a single scene. This is, in my opinion, where much of the artistry in landscape photography is born. I’ve been asked before if I ever get bored of shooting the same scene over and over again, and my answer is always, “Absolutely not!” Weather conditions, light, and seasons change. Those changes add beautiful differences into a scene. However, a photographer does not necessarily need to wait for a different day to capture a scene differently, as it unfolds. There are three ways in which a photographer can capture a single scene that will yield a different look with different results.

In the below three images I’ve captured the same scene, the iconic Three Sisters in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. However, I used a different technique in each of these images, which resulted in different looks. Below are three different ways a landscape photographer can capture a scene with...

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Inside my Landscape Photography Bag

Landscape photography is no small feat! I’m usually weighed down by an incredible amount of weight as I trudge out into my beloved mountains. You see, I like to be prepared just in case I need this lens or that lens or this filter or that one. Part of my enjoyment when capturing landscapes is when I explore creative techniques, so I like to have some tools to do that.

If you are interested in landscape photography, I think the equipment you have is enough for you to start learning and immersing yourself in nature. So don’t let gear limit you when you’re first starting. Over the last several years, I have built up some lenses and tools to help me capture landscape images with my vision for a scene. Here are some of what I take with me while I’m out capturing landscape images. 

1. F-Stop Guru Backpack

Having a great backpack to hold all my gear is essential when it comes to landscape photography.  I wouldn’t get far without this. I must be...

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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 to create stronger and more dynamic images. This week I’m sharing three more aspects of composition that, when used well, will strengthen the quality of your captures. Composition is 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.

1. 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...

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Outdoor Composition: 3 Techniques (Part 1 of 2)

Despite a couple of weather hiccups this spring, involving snowstorms, 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 essential 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 the artist is trying to convey visually. 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...

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Break the Rules and allow Creativity to Flow

One of the things I quickly realized when I was a new photographer is that there are many rules in photography. Do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. Gah! It can be overwhelming, right? Rules are essential, though, and they help you create stronger images and messages within your photographs. Rules, however, are meant to be broken. Intentional rule-breaking in photography can result in very impactful images. Rule-breaking is also freeing, and in that freedom comes enormous creativity. My advice is to learn the rules and then learn to break them. Here are a few photography rules I think are meant to be broken.

1. Compose using the rule of thirds

Finding good composition in photography is essential to creating a strong image. One of the most basic rules of composition is that images should be composed using the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a simple technique in which your frame is divided into thirds on the horizontal and vertical axis....

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8 Mistakes I Made as a New Photographer

When I first began my photography journey, I made a lot of mistakes. It's those mistakes, though, that have helped me develop into the photographer that I am today. I believe that a person can learn a lot by making mistakes. I also think that mistakes can be avoided by listening to others who have been there and solved these issues. I want to make your photography journey a little easier and share with you some of the mistakes I made as a new photographer in the hope that you can skip these challenges. 

1. Shooting at slow shutter speeds

Choosing a slow shutter speed is probably the biggest mistake I made when I jumped from photographing in auto to manual mode. I didn’t quite understand the importance of a fast enough shutter speed. Shutter speed controls motion in your images. It is essential to ensure that you maintain a fast enough shutter speed to freeze not only the movement of your subject but your camera shake. 

Playing around with shutter speed can be...

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