Category Archives: 30 days of photo tips

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 26

DAY #26!

TIP #26: Try backlight – shoot into the sun. But use something to diffuse the light a bit so it’s not so harsh.

I love beautiful light. Beautiful sunlight is the best… so amazing. I often like to use the sun as a backlight, lighting up the back of my subjects rather than pointing as a spotlight onto the front of them. But the sunlight can be so harsh at times. So try using something to block or diffuse the sunlight a bit, to soften it. Otherwise you will either get an image that is completely blown out and overexposed, or way too hazy, or have too much lens flare in it. Look at some of these images below for some practical examples.

In this first image below I am using the mom and part of the tree to block the strongest part of the sun and to soften or diffuse the sunlight.
My manual settings were:  500, F 4, 1/160

In this image of the two little girls below the sunlight is in the top left corner of the frame but not fully coming through, just enough. And it is being diffused by some tree branches.

My manual settings: 200, F 4, 1/160

In this image below of the boy on his own the sun is not really directly in the frame at all but just a tiny bit. There is a tree behind him near the strongest point of the sun that is helping me and my camera angle keeps the lighting quite soft.

My manual settings: 250, F 3.5, 1/250

This image of the two boys and the bridge below has the sun coming through but quite soft because there are so many trees and branches in it’s way. This light is very diffused and can’t be too strong or direct.

My manual settings: 640, F 4, 1/250 

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 25

DAY #25!

TIP #25: Set your aperture based on the number of people you’re photographing.

Again, your aperture is the hole or opening in your lens that lets in light. The size of the opening determines how much light comes into your camera as well as how sharp or blurry the background is going to be in your image. But…aperture can be tricky and you shouldn’t just keep it at F 1.8 or F 2.8 all the time. The number of people you’re photographing makes a difference. Unless you’re doing something creative you probably want all of the people in your image to be in focus. If you’re shooting pictures of a large group of people and you have your aperture set at F 1.8 they may not all be in focus. I have a few recommendations for that. Just some tips that have worked for me.

  • If you’re shooting pictures of one child, by themselves… then try F 2.8 and focus on their eyes and let other things behind them be out of focus
  • When photographing two or more persons sitting together try F 3.5 or F 4.0 to be sure that they’re both in focus and sharp.
  • When photographing a larger group of people try F 7 or higher. I usually recommend basing your initial aperture on the number of people. For example, if you’re photographing five people then set it at F 5.0 or higher. When photographing nine people move it up closer to F 9.0 or higher.

The higher aperture numbers will close up the lens a bit and allow for more things to be in focus even if they are not on the exact same plane.

This image below was shot with an aperture of F 8.
This shot below was photographed with an aperture of F 5.
This shot below was photographed with an aperture of F 2.2

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 24

DAY #24!

TIP #24: Catch the light.

“Catch lights” are white highlights in the eye, created by a reflection of a light source (like the sun, window light, a lamp, etc). This highlight adds depth and dimension to the eye, and gives the eyes life in a portrait or snapshot. Adding a catch light can help draw attention to the subject’s eyes.

Pay attention to the light and to your subject’s eyes and try to catch that light. This is done by simply paying attention to angles, reflections, and positioning yourself so that you are able to see and capture that light. It will make your image go from ordinary to extraordinary.

See the light in their eyes below? It adds life to the image.

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 23

DAY #23!

TIP #23: Go with the flow with kids. Be flexible.

Little children can be moody and somewhat temperamental. So… in regards to photography (not parenting, but photography), go with the flow. Push them a little for the image that you want, but…. go with what keeps them happy, joyful and not red-faced and tearful (nobody wants that). I am not opposed to small bribery types of rewards. And I think that it’s best to keep these moving, exciting, and fun for the kids. The pictures turn out better as a result as well.

If you were (for example) planning for a great look-at-the-camera type of picture and the child isn’t going for it. Then be flexible, adjust. Flex to a mommy’s-tickling-you kind of picture. Or have the child walk away from you and then run toward you laughing and capture that. Or play peek-a-boo. Or… or… or… Go with the flow. See what works for that child, during that season of life, during that hour, and go with it. Those images will be far better than forcing them to sit in someone’s lap and perform with a smile. Trust me. I’ve tried that. And… it’s overrated.   :)

You may start with this…

But the goal is to end with this…