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The Photographer's Notebook

 

 

A LEARNING BLOG WITH PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

FOR THE MOM AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER

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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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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