One of my loves is animals, especially horses and dogs (if you can't tell 😉). My dogs, Kona and Coal, are like my family and I bet yours feel like part of your family. Many families have photo sessions to capture a moment in time, especially to document the growth of the family.
I wanted to give you a couple helpful tips on how to make the most of any photo session you would have with your fur baby.
Like many animals, dogs can pick up if you're excited, anxious, nervous, or stressed, so put your mind at ease so that your pup will be at ease, too.
Spring has sprung that means in the animal kingdom babies are arriving. I'm lucky that my grandma raises goats and this year there was three sets of twins. And I had a blast capturing them the other day in some happy sunshine.
The sun was out on Monday, 77° and sunny. It was a day of yardwork at our house and planting, but the sunshine got me thinking about the beach. I haven’t been to the beach in what seems like years. And I know that my mother and younger siblings enjoy going to the coast, too. So I asked them if they wanted to do a day trip to the beach.
The weather was fabulous with the sun shining and dogs smiling. Kona and Coal had a grand time with Daisy. And Daisy was awfully cute with the surf behind her. She’s already larger than Coal at only being an 11 month old Great Pyrenees puppy.
Sometimes you just need to get out of town, literally.
Today John, Kona, Coal, and I headed out to (John's) favorite fishing spot along the Breitenbush River. It was a cold day and the sun wasn't yet high in the sky. Needless to day it was a warm hat day, so John's Christmas hat had its maiden voyage (doesn't it look all fuzzy and warm?).
It was the first time John had fished the Breitenbush with the winter flow and he was just interested in finding out if the rainbow trout wintered in the summer fishing holes. At times our labs splashed in the water next to John as he casted out his line, but he didn't mind as much as usual because the fish weren't biting.
So you’re loving your DSLR, be it Canon, Nikon, Sony, or whatever makes your heart flutter and inner camera geek emerge. You’ve been snapping away when you’re out with family, friends, and pets and feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Maybe you think the only way to improve your photography is to upgrade your camera. A more expensive camera with more a greater dynamic range or graduating from crop sensor to full frame. But before you do that, try a couple different things first.
Do you shoot with only auto settings?
Portrait, sports, landscape modes have their purposes; maybe you’re on the go and don’t have the time to evaluate the scene to set your own settings. Being in full control of your equipment can greatly improve your photographs, but how would you do that? Practice, lots of practice with the exposure triangle (learn more about the exposure triangle). There will be a lot of photos with horrible exposure and then there will be a time when you look at a scene and automatically know what settings would make your photo exactly what you want.
Do you still have the kit lens?
Kit lens, what’s a kit lens you may ask. It’s the lens that came with your camera. Kit lens work great, but if that’s the only one you use think about investing in a prime lens. I would recommend a prime lens, because you can have the aperture wide open and have the beautiful bokeh (blurred background) with a sharp subject. Looks into all the different focal lengths for prime lens, personally I have the Canon 85mm 1.8 (why I chose this lens), but even something as simple as the nifty fifty would be awesome.
What time of day do you shoot?
Believe it or not, but the time of day and weather can really affect the look and quality of your photos. If you shoot in the middle of the day, the sun is high in the sky and shadows are really harsh. You know when you squint your eyes because of the bright sun? Yeah, it’s not ideal for your eyes and your camera to flatter your subject, unless that’s the vibe you’re going for. Well, you probably have heard of Golden Hour, and it’s truly golden and amazing. It’s within the two hours after sunrise and before sunset; the soft golden light is super flattering and you can create some beautiful backlit photos (how I set up my backlit photos). If you aren’t able to photograph during the golden hour, look for soft, even shade during the midday sun and set the exposure for the shade even if you have to overexpose the sunny background. And something else you can do is wait for an overcast day, the clouds softening the sun is like a giant soft box, creating soft shadows and flattering light.
So, if you’re still thinking of upgrading your camera, I would recommend that you have mastered the exposure triangle in manual, have fast glass (wide aperture range in a lens), understand the lighting for locations and subjects, or else you might be a little disappointed that your new, expensive camera isn’t taking amazing pictures for you. It’s because you create the images, the camera just captures your creativity.
I read more about the lens and looked at comparisons of different prime focal lengths. There’s so many options, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, made by Canon, Sigma, Tamron, and every lens has their uses. I wanted a lens that would flatter people and animals and noticed the 35mm focal length worked well for the wide angle range without too much distortion, and then the nifty fifty, fantastic plastic, was a great all purpose prime, but once again I liked the look and feel of the 85mm. The 85 compresses the subject which flatters and as a fast piece of glass with it’s wide aperture, I could create the delicious bokeh.
I hinted to my hubby that all I wanted for Christmas was the 85mm. And even though it arrived after Christmas, the wait was worth it. I spent all of January only using my new lens to properly learn how to utilize it in landscapes, birds, and people portraits. My 85mm is still one of my favorite lens with its bokeh and compression for portraits of my pups and portraits of families.
I hope you stay awhile. This is where I will talk about my paintings, processes, photography & adventures, post processing, social media, and more.
© Western Rose Studios 2014 - 2018
Artist Photographer Educator