For years I avoided photographing during the mid day hours, relishing the beauty of the early morning and evening light. While those times are still my favorite, and almost always the times I use for clients, I’ve found that shooting mid day is not impossible, especially if this is the only time you have available to capture those sweet moments with your little ones.
The photos in this post were captured a few days ago. My daughter loves to gather little things. We have bins, toy grocery carts, little bags full of little things that she has gathered. When we are outside her main mission is to find as many little things as she can, put them in a bucket or net and start piles; acorns and rocks being her two favorite things. So this day, shortly after lunch (a bit past noon) we went outside and I captured her at work. I wanted to be sure I never forget this about her. I captured it all in mid day light. I hope you enjoy these tips about the techniques I used to capture this moment…
1. Capture the sky by shooting away from the sun (you will likely not be able to do this with a person at this time of day) but beautiful skies always make for a fabulous detail shot. Here I added some gradients in Lightroom to get a bit of a creative edit with it.
2. Find areas with soft shade. One of the challenges of shooting this time of day is the harsh shadows. Often the contrast of shadow and light is so strong it makes acheiving nice lighting a challenge. Here the shadows were a bit softer because our house is white and the refection helped cast some soft light. Also, I was also able to capture a quick shot of her looking up by moving in to the soft shadows.
3. Create visual interest by shooting through tree branches (or in this case shrub branches). This helps create a sense of quiet and will also help break up blown out skies. It is a great opportunity to use the branches for framing and to create some dialog with a little one. In the diptych below I was asking her if she could find the circle I was looking through. I also asked her what color the little flowers were on the tree. In the other two photos I was just sitting quietly letting her play and find her little acorns.
4. Shoot in Manual or Aperture Priority and meter on the shadow side with your highlights in mind, being careful not to blow them out. It is much easier to pull up some shadows than it is to recover blown highlights. All of the photos in this post were shot in Manual- Raw format. Again, using Raw format will help you re-cover some of the light and shadow contrasts you’ll receive from this time of day.
5. Enjoy the images in black and white. I adore high contrast black and whites. This time of day can provide amazing lighting situations for beautiful black and white images. The photo on the left was one of my favorites from this day.
6. If your really lucky… you can capture a few still images so get low. The sun was above us but I got low to the ground and faced her away from the sun. This allowed for the highlights to be off of her face. Goodness, is she sweet or what?
7. Find interest in the shadows and use them. I loved the idea that she was collecting acorns and while you couldn’t see the tree you could clearly tell what she was doing because of the shadows. This helps tell the story. And being honest, we’ve lived here for 9 years and I’ve never seen the shadows like I did on this day. I am sure they have always been just as they are but I wasn’t open to finding the beauty in them until this day.
8. Look for pockets of light. We were still under the tree here. As she was walking I noticed the pockets of light illuminating her. I changed my settings and captured it. Again, love this is black and white.
9. Finally, throw out the technical rules. Capture the small details. If you love it, capture it.
Edits: Black and White photos- BW Film preset from the Palette Collection. Color photos: Workflow- Light Preset from the Palette Collection. Various One Willow Lightroom Brushes were also used.
Post Categories:One Willow Presets
Edit: Dusty Preset from the Beautiful Things Collection + Remove Grain.
Post Categories:One Willow Presets
I love the smell of spring. It’s so wonderful to wake up to the sounds of the birds and to see the flower sprouts and the tree buds. It motivates me in so many ways; reminding me to get active and revitalizing my creativity. It is so nice to dust off the camera and get back to shooting.
We’ve been having so much fun with kids, getting them out to see the sights of spring. I’ve been posting some of our adventures on the One Willow Studios blog. This is out first spring with Mei and she is loving to play outdoors and explore our fields.
To celebrate Spring with One Willow Presets please enjoy 20% off of all One Willow Preset Collections; Lightroom 2 & 3 and Lightroom 4. This offer is good 4/9/13 thru 4/16/13. Please use the code: SPRING20 Enter this code in your shopping cart.
The Color photos below were edited with the Memories preset from the Beautiful Things Collection and the Black and White Photo was edited with the BW Film Preset- Dusty + Remove Grain, also from the Beautiful Things Collection.