In this post I'm sharing images I took of my daughter this last beautiful fall Saturday. It was a sunny day at around 1-2 pm so the sun was high up, all we have in our front yard is one tree and our neighbor's trees as backgrounds. If you want to take advantage of what you have, read on...
It was a cold 40' sunny day in Montana. My daughter and I were digging up our flower bed and planting tulips. It was about noon or so. My 3yr old daughter then notices the leaves on the ground by the tree and starts to run and play in it. Now the learning photographer probably is thinking, "The sun is high up! This will make terrible lighting!" Or.."We're not around a lot of gorgeous trees, flowers, open areas, a forest or a beautiful park!" If you dwelt on this you may have just missed a wonderful opportunity to document how happy your child is at this exact moment. And you know what? If I didn't jump on this opportunity, I'd have missed it because we got a day full of snow the next day. True story.
Photo secrets revealed
This is living proof that you don't necessarily need the sun at the golden hour. Besides, aren't most toddlers cranky around that time anyway? So what is the secret?
THE FRONT OF YOUR SUBJECT MUST BE SHADED. Have the sun behind your subject. That means you've got to have your kicks on and move around, A LOT, so that your child's face, and preferably body, is in the shade. The sun will gloriously shine on their gorgeous locks giving a beautiful halo. Who wouldn't want that?
Below, I made sure I focused on her face with the sun behind her. Also I get low so that her eyes line up with her ears most of the time. It's a sure better level to look at than the typical standing-and-looking-down-pose.
If you want even exposure all around, you should NOT have any large hot spots in the frame. This photo of my beautiful girl below has just a few little spots. If half of the frame was sky then it may throw off the exposure like either a blown out sky or the rest of the photo is real dark. If your absolute favorite photo is exposed in error, don't worry, it can be saved by your family photo retoucher. *wink*
I used my old Canon Rebel T1i with my portrait lens 85mm f1.8 (Love this!!) This is a fixed lens so no zooming which also means, LOTS of running around. *smile*
Love and hate tree trunks. For the photo below, I'm usually not a fan of shooting next to a tree trunk but our tree had these gorgeous little trunks adjacent to it with their red and orange colors. So I made sure she wasn't completely in front of the main trunk, and clicked when her face was away from the sun. I also positioned myself so some of the nearby bushes were in the frame. Love the blur and bokeh? That's the magic and beauty of the f1.8 aperture.
Using low aperture so it doesn't really matter what is behind your subject.
Our rental house is brown. Not the most beautiful but we're appreciative that we have a place to live. But because of using a low aperture f1.8, it blurs pretty nicely. It wasn't my goal to have the house as a background but my daughter just happened to be playing right at that spot, picked up leaves with a huge smile, so I just had to keep shooting. I would have missed this adorable smile if I didn't want to get the house in the back. Of course, I could always change the color of the house if I wanted to. *wink* Goodness, this photo has so much energy right?
I LOVE FRAMING. Yes I do. I love to use nearby tree limbs and bushes to frame my person I'm photographing. Here I hid behind the nearby bushes and positioned as such to frame my girl as her back is to the sun and her front is in the shade. Awww she is observing her little ladybug friend. Speaking of framing, did you notice the framing three photos above? I swooned over that one.
As I'm sure you've noticed, the photos that come straight out of our cameras never look like how we saw those memories with our own eyes. What a blessing it is to have software like Adobe Photoshop, and Professional Photo Retouchers who can make those images glow.
I hope you're getting motivated to use what you have. If you found these tips helpful please go ahead and comment below what helped you the most and what ideas you're starting to get! And since it's fall season, go ahead and enjoy the warm colors all around before they are gone! If you need a little more help with photography, I've got you covered. Check these tips out!
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My philosophy is that photography should lighten up the heart and the eyes with vibrant color, light and majesty as memories flood back into the mind and soul. No cringing allowed. Only magic!