Updated: Mar 3
Making the most of your Spring Photography
Tips and Techniques from Elmarie Whelan of Film and Fiesta...
Delicate pink and white crab-apple blossoms are the first signs of Springtime on ‘The Mountain’. This is the cue for the azaleas to get in on the act and show off their bold and vibrant shades of pinks, reds and purples. Days slowly grow warmer and longer and are filled with the sweetest scents from jasmine, irises and the magnolia tree’s fragrant flowers. Bees working hard and peacefully high up in the trees, make their presence known by a happy buzz. And just as the crab apple blossom petals start to fall like soft snowflakes, out pops the famous pink cherry blossoms, lavishly decorating all the trees in a soft, romantic pink hue. It’s Spring! The perfect time to be outside with your camera!
Photographic inspiration can come from all around you… from the spectacular show of spring blossoms to sunrises, clouds and birds as well as your favorite people soaking up the scents, sights and sounds that only Spring has to offer. Here are my top 10 tips and techniques for you to capture your own happy springtime images this season whether you have a camera or just your cell phone on hand:
Take the photo. It may seem obvious but the best photo is the one that’s taken. Don’t wait around for the perfect moment – especially when it comes to photographing your loved ones. Spring, like life, doesn’t wait around forever. Make a point of getting out, enjoying the sunshine and capturing the people and places close to your heart.
Make the most of what you’ve got! Use what you have and experiment with it. Expensive camera gear is not essential to photograph what makes you happy. Experiment with your ‘mik en druk’ or phone to capture the joy.
Be in the moment. Whenever you are out taking photos, be sure to lower your camera to take in the scene and appreciate your subject. Why do we take photos? To remember people, places, feelings… to tell stories… to capture what we cannot always say with words. So slow down and remember why you are taking your photo.
Don’t take too many photos of the same subject. Photograph with intention and think before you shoot. Having to scroll through 100’s of similar photos of the same person or place is a sure way to make you lose interest and make you indecisive about the best ones. Even worse is inflicting them on your Facebook friends.
Use your legs - they are the best way to zoom in! Unless you are photographing wildlife or birds, try to not use your camera’s zoom setting. Generally, when you use the zoom on your camera, your image quality will drop. Getting close to your subject will allow you to connect more deeply and pick up on the details. Get people close together and get closer to your people – literally and figuratively!
Maximise exposure. Exposure is how much light your shot was exposed to in-camera. This is the basic element of any photograph taken. The three things needed to shed light on Spring are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Learning about the ‘exposure triangle' might be daunting at first, but it is actually so easy and can take your photography to the next level. Here’s an easy way to think about it: Aperture, shutter speed and ISO all work together, and when shooting in manual, you have to make sure you keep an eye on each element to make sure you expose your image correctly. Camera and photography tutorials are widely accessible online, but the BEST way to learn about exposure, is to put your camera on manual and to play around in different light by changing your camera’s settings.
Observe light. When you are planning your shot – take a moment to observe the direction and intensity of the light around you. Different types of light and directions make for different moods in your image. Usually, the early morning light and the golden hour just before sunset makes for beautiful light to photograph in – but don’t be intimidated by the harsher noon light – adjust your camera’s settings and go have fun in the sun!
Composition. Basic composition begins by not cutting off important parts of your subject, like their hands and heads, with the edge of your frame. Keep your horizon level and try to eliminate any distractions to keep your image simple. Using the ‘rule of thirds' is a sure way to create a pleasing composition - divide your image evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and place your subject at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself.
Find new perspectives and experiment! Backlighting, reflections, different angles and using different focal lenses are always great ways to capture interesting images. Look for interesting lines, shapes and patterns, and use things like branches, hedges and doorways as frames to make your images interesting.
Have fun and stay true to you! Don’t get too caught up in capturing the perfect shot and comparing yourself to everyone else. Your photos will always be your own unique way of seeing the world. The BEST Photographers I know are always the ones who have the most fun with it – so get out and have fun this Spring!