For some reason, people keep asking me questions about photography. I’m not sure why. I’m certainly not a photography guru. I know my equipment reasonably well, and I guess you could say I have a reasonable understanding of light, colour and timing, but I can assure you that I still have a lot to learn! Hopefully I will always feel this way … photography as an artform offers endless opportunities to grow 🙂
That said, with so many people wanting to know what I know, and my desire to help people become better photographers, I’m launching “workshop wednesdays” here on the blog. Every Wednesday, I’ll try to post something useful for photographers – amateurs, pros and aspiring pros alike. This will be where I’ll answer your questions, so if there’s anything you’d like to know, go ahead and ask! I don’t believe in keeping secrets 🙂 You can ask me about technique, lighting, post production, equipment … whatever, really! Send in your questions by email, on twitter, or just leave a comment here on the blog 🙂
Our first question comes from Michelle (not the one I’m married to!), who hopefully won’t mind me quoting her 😉
Luke, those awesome shots you do with the sunlight streaming behind the family, not quite flare shots but nearly…..any pointers on how to start doing those? 🙂
Here are a couple of recent photos matching Michelle’s description:
As with the vast majority of my photos, these were shot with available light. I do occasionally add flash to backlit photos; it really depends on how well my subjects are lit by the light coming into the photo from behind me. Usually I prefer to find somewhere with nice front light rather than resorting to flash 😉
Obviously for the sun to be in these photos, they need to be taken late in the afternoon (or early in the morning). Available light is most flattering at these times, anyway, which is why I try to arrange my sessions to be nowhere near midday!
When you’re including the sun in the frame (or keeping it just out of frame), there’s a danger your photo will flare out if you’re not careful. Sometimes I like to embrace flare in all of its ethereal glory, but usually I try to block part of the sun with a tree (or even a face) to hold more detail in the shot. Camera placement can be critical to minimising flare, so make sure you have a steady hand!
Finally, and I can’t emphasise this enough, accurate exposure is your friend. If you’re trusting your camera to set your exposure for you, it’s going to be confused by the brightness of the sun, and you’ll end up with very under-exposed subjects. Put your camera in manual mode, expose for the people in your photo, and let the background blow out. Accurate exposure is your friend.
I hope that was helpful! If you liked it and would like to see me keep sharing info on Wednesdays please let me know in the comments!