The Photographer's Notebook





Getting creative with hearts this February-Here's how!

It's always fun to infuse a little heart detail into February's photos. February is heart month, and infusing hearts into your images shows support for heart health and, of course, embraces all the love-filled themes surrounding Valentine's Day.  

I recently had several requests asking if I could share how I incorporate heart bokeh into my images. Today I'm sharing two different ways I infuse hearts into my February and Valentine's Day captures so that you can give these techniques a try too! 

1. Foreground heart bokeh

The first way I like to infuse hearts into my Valentine's day images is through foreground heart bokeh. Foreground heart bokeh requires that hearts are placed between your camera and your subject. It's also best if you choose a wider aperture to blur the foreground hearts. 

To create foreground heart bokeh images, here are the steps you can follow:

Step 1:

Gather up your materials. You'll need red and pink cardstock or another...

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Staying Inspired During Dark Winter Months

Winter can be uninspiring, especially this year, when many of us are under health protocols that keep us from gathering and engaging in our usual activities. Beyond that, though, days seem to fly by due to the short hours of daylight with little light left once the daily routine has been attended to. It's also chilly and outdoor adventures can be a lot of effort. Often, and this is certainly true for me, we find ourselves picking up our camera less and less. Here are a few tips on how you can stay inspired until spring arrives and new blooms rejuvenate your inspiration. 

1. Keep your camera close

Moments pop up every day that are beautiful and worthy of capturing, but it's easy to miss them when our cameras are not accessible. What's that quote? "Out of sight, out of mind." Purposefully keep your camera in a room where there is a lot of activity with typical indoor settings already dialled in. If your goal is to capture the beautiful everyday moments of your life, then...

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Holiday Card Ideas

The holiday season has arrived! It's time to spread cheer far and wide. One of the ways we can spread cheer is through annual holiday cards. This year, I think that with the restrictions from the COVID-19 health pandemic connecting with friends and family through cards is even more important than in other years. There are many different options when it comes to individualizing holiday greetings. Use the inspiration below to get your creative ideas flowing so that you get your greetings into the hands of family and friends. 

1. Portraits

Portraits are a beautiful way in which to share your family with those you love this holiday season. Posed portraits are a more traditional yet beautiful option for your holiday cards this year. Fine art stylized portraits are always captivating and create the perfect holiday card. 

Image created by Lynne Williams @lynnewilliams_photography

Alternatively, you can opt for a less styled holiday portrait. Lifestyle images...

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Hello Snow! How to Photograph Beautiful images in Snow

If there's one thing I know a lot about, it is snow! Living in Canada, we can see snow twelve months of the year. Usually, though, we're snow-free for about four or five. Photographing in the snow isn't always easy. You're dressed up in bulky winter clothing, trying to manage your equipment and change your settings with cold fingers while getting pelted in the face with swirling snowflakes...this supposed to be fun, right? Well, indeed, it is! Snow is absolutely magical, and you can capture beautiful images in the snow! Below are a few technical tips to help you make the most out of your snowy photographs this winter. Get ready to bundle up and enjoy the fresh, crisp, beautiful air and snow-filled scenes that winter brings. 

1. Thoughtfully set your exposure

Snow is often very bright, which is actually a great feature because it can act as a natural reflector and bounce pretty light up and onto your subject. However, because it's so bright, it can be easy to...

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3 Must Capture Childhood Images this Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching! There are a ton of fun activities and traditions around my home that we like to participate in. Witches brew, spooky cookies dripping with icing, pumpkin carving, and more are all on our list of must enjoy Halloween moments. Halloween will look different this year living amidst a health pandemic, but we still have many fun family activities planned. I always make sure my camera is close at hand to capture all the spooky seasonal fun. Here are some of my must capture Halloween images:

1. Halloween traditions

It's time for pumpkin carving, which is one of our Halloween must-do traditions. This year I picked up mini pumpkins, and they are the absolute perfect size for a project my children can tackle on their own! My children are at an age where they dive into that ooey-gooey pumpkin mess and carve up their own jack o’ lantern. At the same time, I can stand back with my camera photographing their expressions from different angles and...

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Seven Tips to Create Stunning Flat-lays in Ten Minutes

This week I'm thrilled to feature photographer Nadeen Flynn. Nadeen is a talented multi-genre photographer. Today, Nadeen is sharing tips on how to create stunning flat lays and if you haven't seen her photography before today prepare to be in awe and inspired!

"Thank you for sharing your talents with us Nadeen!"

How many of you have gotten 'the hand' from your kids when you tried to photograph them? Or maybe it was the 'photographer's child' look. If your kids (this includes fur babies) are not cooperative, but you want to shoot and document your days, what do you do? Because we are all busy, I have some simple tips for quick flat-lay setups for you. And, what a great way to still document life, yours and theirs. Here are seven basic tips to get you started with making a flat-lay image in just ten minutes.

1. Light

It's always about light, isn't it? My favorite light for still life is window light. Look around your home and find a window with some nice indirect light. A...

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Finding and Photographing Creative Indoor Shadows

It's finally happening! The daylight has begun to increase noticeably. Winter up here in the North will stick around until at least April and maybe beyond, but I'm happy to see a significant brightening in the light within my home. I thoroughly enjoy exploring this return in light, and I find my creativity is rejuvenated with the light. I like to think about how I can use the newly returned light and shadow in fun and creative ways. Here are a few ideas about how you can use light and shadow in your images.

1. Look for shadows from windows

Window shadows are some of my favourite ways in which to use light and shadow creatively. Watch for light and shadow during different times of the day as the sun enters your home. Think about how you can use this light and infuse this often creative light and shadow into your images.

There are many different ways in which you can use the same light source and window in your images and create different looks. Try backlighting, side lighting...

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6 Ways to Boost Creativity and Avoid a Rut

This time of year is tough for me. Outdoors it's still wintering with bitter chilly winds that I'm tired of enduring. Indoors, the light is getting more plentiful, but it isn't quite as cheery and bright as I'd like. Predictably, I find myself falling into a bit of a rut this time of year. So I thought I'd brainstorm some ways for me and maybe you too, to feel less rut-like and more inspired to photograph all the beautiful everyday moments. 

1. Just have fun

Rut equals blah. I find that sometimes I need to do the opposite of what I'm feeling to force myself out of a mood. Kick that negative self-fulfilling prophecy in the behind and jump into a more positive frame of mind. For me, the opposite of blah is energy. My children, even though they are getting older, still love to be silly. So let's bring on the silliness and laughter. Activities like jumping on the bed or couch, building a fort out of pillows, or even a trip to the park are bound to spark energy and fun...

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How to make Valentine's Day Heart Bokeh Overlays

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Love, hearts and sparkly bokeh are in the air! In this week’s article, I’m sharing steps for how to create your own Valentine’s Day heart bokeh overlays. It’s a fun and creative technique photographed separately then infused into your images by way of an overlay. Let's get creative and have some Valentine’s Day fun!

1. Preparation

Gather up your supplies! Here’s a list of what you’ll need to create your heart bokeh overlays.

  • Camera and lens hood
  • Black construction paper or card stock
  • Scissors
  • Heart-shaped hole punch (optional)
  • Tape
  • A string of fairy or Christmas tree lights (not LED)
  • A black backdrop (You can use a black trifold or a black blanket)
  • Photoshop

ISO 640 35mm f2.8, 1/200SS

2. Cut out your hearts

It's time to create your heart-shaped lens covers! Detach your lens hood from your lens (if it’s attached) and draw a circle on the black construction paper or cardstock. Cut out...

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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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