The Photographer's Notebook

 

A BLOG TO LEARN AND GROW

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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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 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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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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