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Mother nature has ever so graciously given us a couple of perfect hours. And for good reason! The lighting is simply out of this world magical! Whether you are shooting portraits. landscape. This is when the sun is low in the sky. Heck. producing soft. unwanted shadows.It seems the pinnacle of good outdoor photography is finding the right light! Midday. even spiders look lovely in the golden hours. It is also known as the magic hours. Simple subjects take on a special glow. diffused hues. The first hour or so after sunrise. But don’t despair. golden. and the last hour of light before sunset. or macrothere is no going wrong during this time. There is little contrast and the shadows are soft and dreamy.. bright sunlight can lend itself to harsh tones. and a heap of disappointing photos.. It’s a fabulous time to get out the camera and create something beautiful! .
Change White Balance. Over the course of an hour the light will drastically change. Try a couple different ones. You may even want to use a self timer or remote clicker to ensure crisp photos. This is mother nature’s gift to us. Doing a little homework ahead of time will pay off tenfold. For portrait shots you may want to block the sun by shifting your frame. The beauty is it’s all subjective! And the best advice I could give? You don’t even have to have a fancy DSLR or expensive equipment to capture beautiful photos during The Golden Hours. which is perfectly acceptable and individual. There are only a few moments of the “magic light” and you don’t want to miss it. If you shoot directly into the sun it will produce sun flare and possibly a more blown out shot. For optimal results in lower light settings use a tripod to avoid camera shake.FIVE TIPS FOR SHOOTING IN THE GOLDEN HOURS Determine Timing. Use a Tripod. Light. taking multiple shots at different exposures and combining them digitally to capture a greater range between the lightest and darkest areas in an image. Practice this at different times of the day prior to your scheduled shoot in The Golden Hours. Set the ISO low and use a long exposure. Keep Shooting. Get Creative. You will still get the effects of the backlighting without the distracting glare of the sun. Don’t be afraid to try different angles or perspectives. Check your local weather report or try the Golden Hour Calculator to identify the exact sunrise/sunset time in your area. reflections. grab whatever camera you have and snap some photos! . and quickly. Move the setting to something other than automatic. The results may surprise you. Remember to get a good depth of field for landscapes you will need to use a smaller aperture of f/8 or above. So. This would be a great time to try HDR (High Dynamic Range) Imaging. and hues vary simply by altering your position. Make sure to bring a flashlight and stay the duration.
for example. resulting in nine equal parts. personal creativity reigns supreme. composition means purposefully framing your photograph in such a way as to create interest and appeal. we’d immediately achieve a more balanced and visually appealing image. composition is defined as the conscious placement or arrangement of visual elements in a photograph. creating balance and visual appeal. vertically and horizontally. drawing the viewer in. many photographers follow the basic Rule of Thirds – a principle in which an image is divided into thirds. The basic principle behind the Rule of Thirds is that elements of interest are positioned at intersecting points of the imaginary grid. . But if we were to apply the Rule of Thirds by positioning points of interest along intersecting points of our grid. it’s quite boring. Simply put. while the Rule of Thirds is a great place to start. In the world of photography. Composition-wise.Learn the Basics. Rule of Thirds In the world of photography. Here are a few tips for improving composition and creating compelling photographs. end-all-be-all rule. When it comes to composition. However. Take this bowl of eggs. it’s not an absolute.
Some rules work and some don’t. it’s boring and ordinary. Take care to avoid losing your subject in the clutter of its surroundings. Trust Your Instincts and Ditch the Rule of Thirds That’s right. Photography is very much a creative process. But it works. They create movement and draw the viewer’s eye deeper into the photograph. Diagonal lines are the most compelling. There are some instances in which the Rule of Thirds doesn’t always work. . The end result is an interesting and dynamic image that pulls the viewer in. Draw Your Viewer in with Lines Lines are powerful elements in terms of composition. but it lacks interest. I said ditch the Rule of Thirds. Oddly enough. Horizontal lines create the least compelling effect.With that said. Trust your instincts. The viewer’s eye will naturally follow any line in your image. framing this shot symmetrically goes against everything we’ve been taught. Quite simply. as seen in the image to the left. Practice Purposeful Composition Before snapping your next photo. Use a longer focal length to get in close or a use wide aperture to blur your background. Some subjects require a more symmetric composition. think about the following: What is the main subject? What do I want viewers to look at? Where should my subject be in relation to the frame? How does the light affect my subject? Keep it Simple.The viewer’s eye is drawn across the length of the image on the bottom left. Stupid Eliminate distracting backgrounds by limiting the amount of visual elements in your frame.
especially in more rural settings. half climbing on a trash can!) and photograph the blossom without any of the other distracting elements. By seeing the close up photographs alone would you think that the tree above was behind a fence. there are a few other things that you should think about. next to a busy street with an intersecting train bridge and a small city parking lot? . were faced with a choice as to whether you want to capture the entire landscape. What do you see? I made the conscious choice to go in close (standing on tippy toes. just a close up of a particular element or anything in between. surrounded by trash cans in a city alley? Or that the blossom below was from a tree growing out of the sidewalk.Perspective/ Perception Most of you will have been taking photos of blossom at one point or another. By photographing the blossom on this tree close up I can create an illusion of the subject. either close ups of individual branches and flowers or some wider angle photos of entire trees. the focus is entirely on the blossom and the light as I intended. the end of the alley behind my city apartment building. I didn’t want the viewer to see the messy urban surroundings. I wanted to have focus on nature. As you’re composing your shot. leaning on the fence. What is the focus of your photograph? In the case of the two photographs below (and the photograph at the very top of this post) of the same tree with dark pink blossom. I imagine a number of you. the beauty of the blossoms in Spring and the way the light was hitting them that particular evening.
the tree itself is less obvious there in the background but the entire scene captures something that I really wanted to be able to show the viewer. depending on what you want the viewer to perceive. All of the angles of this particular tree gave a similar view.What do you want the viewer to see? Sometimes you might want to have some of your surroundings in the photograph. . the beauty that can be found in an urban setting. the exact same type of tree in the front yard of a large apartment building. I much prefer the second more urban shot of the tree with the white blossom. I wandered around the tree to try and find a better angle to photograph it from. something that is unavoidable on the streets of Chicago but not what I wanted at the time. an angle that portrayed what I wanted the viewer to see. however I’m not a huge fan of those cars parked by the side of the road. Would you like the viewer to see the individual beauty of each petal? The vastness of multiple trees blossoming in Spring? The isolation of a single tree in bloom? How do you want them to feel when they look at your photograph? I really liked this tree and its clean white blossom. Sure. until I turned a corner and found another.
A slow shutter speed will blur a moving object. Water is always so full of life and movement. once-small creeks flowing with the fullness of spring rain. I’ve also got some human movement in these photographs too. you should still try to capture your subjects in such a way that conveys to the viewer that they are actually moving.Capturing Movement I thought that a lot of us would have been taking photos involving movement for this prompt. to avoid motion blur and to freeze your subject. I made my friend run up and down the shore while I photographed her and also photographed her wading in and out of the lake (don’t worry. the breaking of small waves against the shore. When you use a high shutter speed to freeze motion. kids splashing in puddles. A good rule of thumb though. depending on the speed your subject is moving. waterbirds and various insects making ripples that break the calm surface of the water. In determining the shutter speed you will need to freeze motion. every situation is unique and comes with it’s own set of challenges. Frogs. and a high shutter speed will result in a sharper focus on your moving subject. or the waves just at the moment they break to crash against the shore. even the seemingly still surface of a pond is often teeming with wildlife just out of eyeshot. your distance from the subject and the lighting conditions you may have to take the shutter speed higher. Try it out and see if it works. A person mid-run. is to not go under a shutter speed of 1/125 sec. fish. or like in these photos. be it raindrops falling. she doesn’t hate me too much for it!) Freezing Movement The shutter speed that you choose is a key component to capturing motion in your photograph. . freezing the whole scene captures the motion as it happens with minimal loss of detail. To expose properly you may have to then adjust your aperture or ISO.
but not quite fast enough to freeze the small wave breaking behind her. There’s only a little amount of blur on the wave. for example a person standing still on a train platform while a train is blurred. . You might want to use a tripod or place your camera on a solid surface for very long exposures. Try switching your camera to Shutter Priority Mode and using it at different shutter speeds to see the effect that it has on movement in your photographs. moving quickly behind them or a longer exposure on a fast moving river to blur the movement of the water. In the above photo. my shutter speed was fast enough to freeze my subject walking slowly towards me.Using Motion Blur Sometimes you can lower your shutter speed in order to use motion blur as an artistic element in your photographs. but more than enough to give a real feeling of movement to the water in the image. You can do this to a greater extent with faster moving objects.
White Balance Tips conditions. When set to auto Simply put. balance to auto and then daylight. I shot the same scene by setting my in-camera white . your camera makes the best guess it can on which objects in your photo are truly white. Are you looking to achieve a true-to-life. the white balance setting you choose will come down to personal preference. Avoid color casts and improve your photography under a wide range of lighting conditions by getting a better understanding of white balance. Here’s another look at the effects that various white balance settings have on the same scene. creating orange. they both create a different mood. clean effect? Or are you going for a warmer feel? What are you shooting? Start off by shooting the same subject in auto white balance mode first. While our eyes do a great job of discerning the color white in various lighting below. Notice the effect that both white balance settings have on the same scene. One is warm while the other is cool. In the example person appear white in your photo as well. blue and sometimes green color casts. followed by another setting. The best way to do this is through experimenting with the white balance settings on your camera. white balance is the process of removing unrealistic color casts so that the objects which appear white in white balance. digital cameras often have great difficulty with auto white balance. Though subtle. Often times.
I’ve trained my camera to discern the color white under the current lighting condition. But using auto white balance is discouraged when shooting a series of photos over an extended period of time and under varying lighting conditions as the camera will simply not be able to produce consistent results. In doing this.White balance is especially important when shooting people. (Had the lighting changed. . improve your photography under a wide range of lighting conditions and cut down on post-processing time by getting a better understanding of white balance and implementing what you’ve learned into your everyday shooting. particularly if you shoot in RAW and are able to adjust your white balance settings post-processing. I’d need to reset my custom white balance all over again. Avoid color casts. I photographed my daughter with a white card and set my camera to custom white balance.) The result is a true to life image. Another option is programming white balance on a sceneby-scene basis in-camera by selecting the custom white balance mode. Too lazy or forgetful to change your white balance settings? Keeping your white balance set to auto is an option. In the example below. Notice the wide range of effects that various white balance settings have on skin tones.
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