For some people the idea of shooting in broad daylight is daunting. Portraits especially can be scary. I was one of those people until around…yesterday. 😀
Angles are Everything
When the sun is hot and the light is harsh, a good angle could save the day. I was outside the other day and looking for inspiration. I haven’t done much shooting in broad daylight for the simple reason that it was hot and not overly ideal for portraits. But nature shots actually work fabulously outside even in the heat of the day. It turns out an angle can save a sunlight portrait too.
But to continue my tale of revelation I kept walking around and looked for an ideal spot. In our yard we have a side yard which is overgrown. Looks like a veritable jungle. But…I notice something I hadn’t noticed before. In the jungle there are TONS of queen anne’s lace. It is really the best field thingy ever for photography (expect some portraits there sometime).
Well…on angles. After messing around extensively and trying to position myself in a way favorable to sun- I had an idea. Why not try to catch the clear blue sky with the queen anne’s lace?
One thing I love about these images is that they fit my tagline to a T (‘Neutrals with a Pop of Color’). Oh, random question? Have you seen my website look for here yet?
Underexposure and Your Light Meter
Another thing that I think is actually neat–is how your light meter is tempted to underexpose your images. This light is so bright, that the meter thinks it needs to help out and compensate for the brightness. So it underexposes. This can be anything from underexposing your subject to underexposing the background. But you can actually twist this annoyance in your favor.
This picture is interesting because I have the sun at the top left of the frame and a tree which was lit the same at the lower. The meter underexposed by the subject and overexposed at the top. But I like this photo. Once again, I think it created a neat effect and I’m glad as usual that I used my manual mode (that’s what I use 90% of the time unless I use AV or TV).
Random Pictures from the Shoot
Extension Tube Review
An extension tube pretty much just extends your lens so that you can take closer up pictures. A friend is letting me borrow one and I LOVE IT. I was looking them up and they’re not bad on the price side. Much better than getting an $1000 macro lens (yes, I know the macro lens is better–but my pocket book won’t budge.). So much easier on the wallet.
I think it’s a good idea to purchase one, especially if you can’t get very close up to things. They’re a little bit trickier to navigate than an actual lens but I think it’s worth it on the whole.
Here’s what they look like…
Bonus picture: screenshot of chromatic aberrations fix…
On the fourth of July…our family generally goes to a party for our church held at a friend’s house.
I don’t know about you…but for me the 4th isn’t the 4th. WHATT?? 😆
UNLESS…you have fireworks, that is 😀 .
I have a lot of memories from previous 4th of July’s. One (not-so-great) memory that concerns the gal in the selfie with me…is also concerning fireworks. You see, we used to be allowed to bring fireworks to the party and shoot them off during. But people were being irresponsible and unsafe and my friend was at the bad receiving end. She got hit in the face with some of the flying debris of a rocket firework. 😯 Don’t worry though…she was okay after a while.
Moral? Stay safe y’all. Always act responsibly. Your carelessness could hurt someone else.
That said I ❤ LOVE ❤ fireworks! Loud noises don’t bother me and I love taking pictures. This is the 1st 4th of July that I’ve had a dslr to mess with.
So where do I watch fireworks if I don’t do it at the party? At home. Everyone else goes to a fireworks show. But that’s not something my family has ever done. Don’t know why. This year my sis wasn’t with us so we went back and did our own fireworks.
For me the 4th of July is a time where I photography anything in my path (isn’t that everyday, Emma?Uh…yeah. I guess it is. ). Nature, fireworks, food, people, etc.
I did notice that you can get much closer up with a wide angle lens. Just in case you were wondering…I DO know that wide angle lenses are mostly used in landscapes. But there weren’t many landscapes to talk of at the party so…yep.
Anyways I had a good 4th of July. I hope you did, too. I do think I haven’t gotten the hang of fireworks pictures. My ISO was too high for my taste and my shutter speed was too low. 😥
How was your fourth?
Did anyone say ‘may the 4th be with you’, to you? (I think it’s annoying!)
In my mind…timing is everything. It pertains to the lighting, the expression of the models face, and the mood. If you time something incorrectly, you might miss a special moment.
What Time is Nicest?
This is honestly a matter of personal preference. I would say golden hour (there are two!), and for me the last one. I have been awake (for the first golden hour) approximately one first golden hour and it was before I got my camera 😥 . But find what works best for you. I know of people who’s favorite time based on lighting to photograph is twilight.
But now some photos I recently took during golden hour…including the white dress 😀 .
Check Before You Snap!
I am awful, terrible, dreadful- when it comes to following this. I am always forgetting to check and see if something distracting is in my frame. I forget to take another look at the expressions on my models’ faces. And I also forget to check my settings. One shift can change your exposure. And especially during the golden hour! For instance…I think that where I live I have less time in the golden hour. This is not because my golden hour isn’t an hour. It’s because our property only gets the lovely light as long as I can follow it.
This means I’m constantly getting my subjects to move for me.
“Oh, the light’s moved again! Can we move this way a little? Maybe stand right there…uh…not there. There! Much better!”
So if you’re in a rush…the goal is to make sure your pictures don’t look rushed. Stay calm and check the settings before you press the shutter.
check to make sure the model’s hands aren’t placed stiffly.
check your exposure on the meter.
check to make sure the model is standing straight, but not stiffly (if they’re standing).
check the background.
access the negative space in your image.
Once again, the timing is everything!
Here’re a few more pictures before I close out this post.
This post has been long in the coming. It’s a topic of some dispute in the photography community. There are people who hold to absolutely NO editing, people who hold to a crazy Photoshop approach (making the image look almost nothing like the original), and people who hold to editing to enhance the already-there quality of the image. These people tend to stick healthily in the middle–and have their own unique style of editing (but not crazy or they end up in the huge Photoshop category).
I fall into the last category…and in this post I will do my best to explain why.
Editing to Enhance
In my own mind…I dislike editing that completely changes an image. For instance I don’t like removing moles or freckles. Those are character adding. But blemishes–I think removing them is a good idea.
I edit to enhance what’s already in the image. Take this image here…(yes I realize I use this one all the time).
So when I edit I try my best to enhance what’s already there. If it’s just a bad picture then that’s my fault. I’m not going to beautify a picture that isn’t beautiful. That in my mind, is just laziness. If there’s no quality–it goes in the trash bin; not my editing platform. But if the image has great potential (focus is on point, lighting and composition are good.) then I will edit to enhance.
Jpeg User of Necessity
I shoot in jpeg for those of you wondering. My simple reason for that is my editing platform doesn’t do a good job editing RAW…and I have had a hard time actually converting them BACK to jpeg for internet sharing.
RAW is another way of shooting on camera. It saves information that jpeg loses. The drawback is that the information makes the image coming out somewhat bland. So you have to edit it back into the image. That’s actually not a bad thing…because RAW images have so much information when they’re fixed–they can be stunning! Jpeg chooses what information is saved in your image. But if you’re using something like light room shooting and converting in RAW is a good idea.
The big difference?
Jpeg processes the picture on your camera for you RAW allows you to process the pictures.
I think in one of my earliest posts I said something about how I want to edit as little as possible to preserve what’s already there. I still agree with that statement. But at some point I realized that not everything can be done right on your camera and still look like a photographer. While I believe that a photographer should actually prove they know how to be one by strong composition, lighting, and focus– I think that a little less than half of photography is editing. Here’s an image I found before and after.
In some ways…I think it boils down to this. Are you planning on becoming a payed photographer? Or are you just everyone’s go to person to snap a photo and preserve a memory? If you’re planning on becoming a photographer…you should consider editing seriously. It’s fine if you want to be a natural light photographer (they still edit!) and if you want the quality of your image to shine through. You can still do that! Just don’t get into presets and filters and do stick to basic edits for lighting and blemish removal.
What’s YOUR Style?
I am going to do something new! I am gonna’ take you through my editing process on an image I took today. I promise the before photo will be the straight-off-the-camera photo. I am going to use screenshots so…yeah. Sorry. That’s the only way I can show you at the moment. I am literally editing this RIGHT NOW as I’m typing this post. So here’s my image:
Here’s what you need to know. This image was shot in overcast weather (today) and I used a picture style setting which increased saturation by 1 and increased sharpening by 3. This is on manual mode…so it’s not cheating 😉 . It’s just part of my style for nature shots. Keep in mind that my style for portraits is different. Also bear in mind that different lighting conditions will influence the choices I make for editing.
Fix the white balance!
2. Fix chromatic aberrations around the flower by removing magenta and purple from the photos on the color slider.
3. Exposure Fix.
Black level- +23
And that’s it! Here is the before after for you…
You can see my style is a slightly warmer edit overall. This is a pretty recent development which I described in my post I Was Doing It Wrong!
For portraits I like warmer too…but my editing process is different. The reason I chose to edit this image vs. trash it…is because I saw potential in it. I like overcast lighting, and was pleased with the focus. Even the exposure wasn’t bad. I also like the other Queen Anne’s Lace in the background+ I love the blur. So that was a keeper in my mind.
For new people this may still seem like a lot of editing. I understand. I went through the no-edit phase. I was shocked when I saw stuff on pinterest which showed me the unedited work of photographers I looked up to and realized…half of the image was editing!
That’s not to say that the on camera quality isn’t as important. I think it’s the #1 priority. I don’t wanna take awful pictures and then make them look good on an editor! Yuck. But I have noticed that as I learn photography my style and composition and all-around skills–just get better! So don’t get discouraged if your photos don’t look like the pros right off. You will become a better photographer as you practice…and will learn so much more. Oh, and just so you know–the pros’ photos don’t look like the pros’ photos right away either! They edit them too. But the pros are also a lot better photographers as well. A whole lot better than I am.
Do you edit your photos?
How much do you as a photographer (or how little) do you edit your photos?
So…this post is making me blush (😊) just a little. Because what I was doing wrong…should have been pretty obvious. Confused? You should be. In Texas this week I learned two lovely things that will stick with me always.
1. I WAS FOCUSING WRONG.
I literally have been having the hardest time getting my camera to focus where I want it to. I see other people who have similar trouble. But their trouble is generally just getting pin-sharp focus.
My problem was I could not get my focus points to adjust on MY VIEWFINDER. Isn’t that sad?😂 It cracks me up now to think of it. But when Sarah (a lovely photographer friend… go follow her new blog here.) told me that her camera does indeed select points while looking in the viewfinder–I knew it was time to look it up. This picture sums up what I figured out…
Pretty much you just press the magnifier button while looking in your viewfinder and the focus point will light up. Then you use the dial to find the focus point you want. It’s so fast…and it makes me happy. My life is changed 🙂 . But here is the article I got this tip from for Canon users. Notice when you click it how it’s a dummies article 😀 . That always makes me feel pretty stupid! lol.
And now an experiment showing you the difference between my old (LOOOOONNNGGGG) way of focusing on the live view screen vs. the new way.
These are unedited. The first photo is the new method. I was able to quickly and easily focus on the last screw (which is what I wanted to do). In the second photo the focus is all over the place and it’s a little hard to tell WHAT I was focusing on. Was it a screw in the middle? Or the bigger tool? Or maybe the little screw off to the right?….see what I mean? Both these photos were taken on the same manual settings which you can view if you click on the collage.
2. I WAS EDITING LAMELY.
With the editor I am now privileged to have I could do the basic edits much better than I was doing. My friend from Texas (Sarah again!) has Lightroom as her editor. I have an editor less pristine…but it does some of the same things. My problem was mainly flat images. Here’s an example (I used my reflector for this image).
Thanks to the reflector the light was pretty even in the photo. But my friend from Texas does something which is very simple and never even crossed my mind. She increases temperature! Literally temperature increase is my new favorite thing. I’m pretty sure I did about 0 changes on the second image except temp increase. And just look at the difference. Temp difference corresponds with white balance, btw. Here’s another one of a cat…
For this image I just cropped it…and increased the temperature. I love how it came out. Here’s a tripod timie of me. All that was done here was temperature increase, cropping, and a quick exposure fix.
My thoughts on temperature increase on the whole: I love it! It seems to just really provide a pop. And it seems to make sunlight look more like…sunlight 😀 .
And that’s what I learned in Texas! It was so lovely to spend time with my bestie and rub off eachother in the photography realm. There’s so much to learn. Also Sarah took my senior photos while we were there…and I love em! Here is a sneak peek of one of them that I love.
I couldn’t decide if I liked the color or the black and white one better yet. So I just put both. Click on the collage for full size and resolution.
And a sneak peek of the shoot I did of Sarah while we were in Texas. We edited them using Lightroom.
And again…couldn’t decide which I liked better 😀 😉 .
And a sneak peek from the senior shoot I just did of my friend! Editing is coming along splendidly. I don’t know if I’ll be sharing those photos or not. We’ll see. This is a more creative shot and one she wanted to do. Nice idea, btw. ❤
What do you think of temperature increase?
Do you as a rule like color or black and white better?
For the final post in this short series. This might end up being the longest…but I don’t know for sure. We were visiting some friends…this post has water, miniature ponies, azaleas, and swinging. Plus some more randomness.
Going home I shot pictures from the windows.
That’s a wrap, folks.
I hope you enjoyed this little four-part series. I could have added tons more than I did…but my memory is really getting small now.
On this day…we celebrated my birthday (way) early.
Guess what? I am doing my first actual senior shoot sometime soon. I will be attempting to do a dear friend’s photos for her (she follows this blog). I don’t know if I’ll be posting any of them or not. I hope so…but if nothing else—good practice 😀 .
We will gallivant all over creation. And have a lot of fun. 😉
Tune in to Part Four soon! It’s the ‘finale’ (but don’t expect TOO much, people!) so that will be it.