The Photographer's Notebook





Start a Photography Project this Year

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the value of setting goals to grow and develop as a photographer. In that article, I discussed some essential tips to keep in mind when setting development goals.  One of the points I mentioned was how important practice is to the developing photographer. Practice will help you grow in your technique and as an artist. 

Before starting a photography project, it's essential to consider how much time you have to dedicate to your project. Any attempt at the process of learning will result in positive gains but remember it's a lot more fun when it doesn't feel overwhelming. Choose something that you're passionate about. If you can commit to one passion project, you're more likely to be motivated to pick up your camera even on days when you don't want to. Passion is a powerful motivator! 

Here are a few ideas for photography projects this year: 

1. Daily or weekly project

Project 365s or Project 52s are fantastic ways in which...

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How to Capture Stunning Winter Landscapes

Don’t let winter keep you away from doing what you love! Winter offers beautiful and unique opportunities for the landscape photographer. Snow-kissed mountain peaks, frost flowers, ice bubbles and more! It’s all stunning and begs to be photographed.  Here are a few ways you can capture stunning winter landscapes. 

1. Don’t shy away from the cold

Winter is cold. I get it. I live in a climate where 15 degrees Celsius is considered balmy enough for a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I know what it’s like to be cold most of the year. I’ve learnt to embrace the cold and become comfortable photographing in cold temperatures. The trick is dressing for the weather and layering. It is a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort. Some of the most beautiful atmospheric elements come hand in hand with the cold. Clouds, fog and steam off feezing water are all prevalent during the winter season and can create stunning winter scenes. 

ISO 400,...
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A New Year with New Goals

I think the development of a photographer is quite incredible. The embodiment of being a photographer has two correlating journeys, one in technique and one as an artist. Photography techniques can continuously improve through practice. Art is also ever-evolving. I think that's exciting and it is also one of the things I love about this never-ending journey called photography. The ability to continuously learn and grow is attractive to me. 

The beginning of a New Year is undoubtedly a time for self-reflection and one in which personal goals are often set. As a means to help you move forward in your development as a photographer, goal setting is an excellent idea. Here are a few things to think about this year as you begin to set your goals.  

1. Set small goals

As noted, the development of a photographer is never-ending. There's no finish line, and there's a lot to learn. Set small, attainable goals. This will help you from putting too much pressure on...

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The Magic in Winter Series: Post Processing: Part 4 of 4

It’s always an excellent idea for a photographer to capture technically strong images in-camera. However, I think that there’s also an artist in each of us, and post-processing not only allows us to tweak components within our pictures but also provides opportunities for creative freedoms. This week, which is the final installment in The Magic in Winter Series, I’m sharing with you tips for tackling some common winter image problems so that your final winter photographs will ooze magic.

1. Tweak underexposed subjects

If you have exposed for your snow and not blown out your highlights, sometimes your subject in your photo will be a touch underexposed, especially in strong backlit situations.  If I’ve exposed well in the camera, brightening up my image globally in post-processing can sometimes result in blown-out highlights within that already bright snow.  To tame this dilemma, I selectively brighten up just my subject.  My favourite...

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The Magic in Winter Series: Winter Light: Part 3 of 4


With Part 1, gear considerations and Part 2, technical concepts covered, I bet that you cannot wait to head outdoors and start capturing magical winter images! So let's go! In this week’s blog post, Part 3, of The Magic in Winter Series, I’ll be chatting about winter light. The topic of finding and using beautiful light is undoubtedly one of my favourite conversations within photography. Here are some of my tried and true ways of managing gorgeous winter light in a way that infuses magic into winter photographs. 

Winter Light

As in everything with photography, finding and using good light is probably the most critical factor in capturing magic. I adore winter light! It’s often buttery and soft due to its lower position in the sky all day long, and when it is sunny, there are often atmospheric clouds diffusing all that winter light.

Here are some of the most common lighting situations you’ll likely come across during the winter months and a...

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The Magic in Winter Series: Technique Considerations: Part 2 of 4

Last week I shared with you my best tips on how you can prepare your gear and yourself for outdoor winter photography. If you missed it, you could find that article here. This week, in Part 2 of The Magic in Winter Series, I want to get specific about technique. Several different technical photography components are essential when photographing outdoors during the winter season. I’m sharing all of that goodness below!

1. Thoughtfully set your exposure

Snow is often bright, which is fantastic because it can act as a natural reflector and bounce pretty light up and into your wintery scene. However, it’s easy to overexpose snow, especially if you are photographing in bright conditions. Overexposing snow will result in loss of details, which is not ideal. When I’m photographing my children outdoors, I typically expose for their skin. However, during the winter, when snow is present, I typically exposure for a bright area of snow. My light meter usually reads about +1...

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The Magic in Winter Series: Gear Considerations: Part 1 of 4

Winter is magical! Even though it’s cold outside, I cannot resist the opportunity to photograph the beauty that is in winter. Winter lasts a very long time where I live in, here in Canada, so I know a few things about shooting within winter and how to capture all that beautiful magic. Over the next four weeks, I will be sharing my very best winter photography tips with you so that you can take gorgeous winter images too.

This week I want to talk about preparation! Being prepared for the outdoors is essential. It’ll help you photograph winter efficiently and successfully!

1. Protect your gear from winter elements

Shooting outdoors during the winter can be wet and cold.  If it’s snowing, I suggest using a rain sleeve, a plastic bag, or even a towel secured by an elastic band over the top of your gear. This will keep snow and water off your camera. I also like to keep a lens cleaning or soft cloth in my pocket so I can wipe off any snow or water droplets that...

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How to Capture a Landscape Image at Night

Back in August, I wrote about My 3 Favourite Landscape Photography Techniques. In that post, I mentioned night photography as being one of my favourite landscape photography techniques. There’s magic in the night sky. It’s captivating with shows of star-studded skies, the Milky Way, meteor showers, moonlit mountains and dancing skies filled with the aurora borealis. It’s all breathtaking and completely worth sleepless nights with groggy mornings…nothing an extra cup of coffee can’t fix!

Here are some tips to help you successfully capture the magic in the night sky.

1. Focus manually

Under dark skies, it's likely, your camera is not going to be able to autofocus. Manual focus is often necessary. During the day, practise setting your lens to infinite and capturing a few exposures. Examine whether or not your image is actually in focus. If your image is in focus with how you’ve lined up infinite, then that’s where you’ll want to...

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

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this black and white series, I shared some tips with you on how you can create images in-camera that will result in strong black and white photos. However, creating a strong image in-camera is only half of the creative process when it comes to a black and white image. Strong monochrome photography is not complete without a good post-processing conversion. There are many different styles when it comes to black and white imagery; no one is correct. There are also many different presets for black and white images that you may find useful. My advice to you is that you should experiment in your post-processing. By doing this, you’ll find a style that you like. When processing an image for black and white, I do have a few tips to share with you. Here are those tips for your consideration.

1. Look for a strong tonal range

The tonal range in photography is simply the span of tones across an image from pure black through brightest white. The histogram below was...

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Secrets for Powerful Black and White Images: A Black and White Photography Series, Part 2 of 3

I adore the drama and timelessness of black and white images, but there are certain secrets to creating a strong black and white image. If you missed Part 1 of this Black and White Photography series, you could find that here. Last week, in Part 1, I discussed the important role that colour, shape, and composition have in creating a powerful black and white image. This week I want to share with you three more elements within a photograph that help make a strong black and white image.

1. Look to incorporate textures

Texture, whether smooth or rough or somewhere in between, can add depth and interest to a black and white image. Textures are enhanced within black and white photos. Texture can make a black and white image come alive, infusing a touchable feeling. Try incorporating a variety of textures into your black and white images as a means to create a stronger conversion.

ISO 400, 300mm, f5.6, 1/640SS

2. Light

Light always matters in photography, and there’s no exception...

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