Happy one year anniversary to my photography business! One year ago today I started a facebook page, and three days later I had my first paying client. (Post to come.) Today I’m going to write about some of the things I learned very early in my photography journey. After I mastered manual mode that is!
Two days into the new year, we took a trip to Les Lacs Park in Dallas. The kids love a good playground after all. This one is fun and colorful and was a great place to test out the 50mm 1.8 lens I had gotten a few weeks earlier. (The second lens I ever owned!) I so wanted it to be like a real photoshoot. So I got those kids on the playground and got to practicing.
Here are somethings I see when I look back on these pictures.
Black and White
I hate the black and white filters on instagram. I always thought, why? Why would you want to on purpose make your photographs uglier? Well, what can I say – I did not understand the power of black and white. It really took me a good few months into my photography journey to appreciate it, but I’ll never look back. Black and white can really simplify an image, but in a wonderful, magical way. It is a GREAT way to eliminate the distraction of someone wearing an obnoxious color, or something in the background you can’t get rid of.
Both of those things existed in this particular set of images. But the thing I like best about these pictures is the way the black and white enhances their expressions and their eyes. You don’t need color at all to see how amazing those things are.
Capturing the Candid
Candid images were always a favourite of mine. I’ve known it can be an underappreciated aspect – some of my favourite pictures of people I love meet complaints like “But I’m not smiling” or “I’m not even looking!” But isn’t that when you capture the realest moments? When someone isn’t even aware they’re being photographed or observed? I think so.
This is kind of something I did without even realizing it, but I think it is an important thing to try. In these examples, I shot upward toward Grayson and through the bars. Not all of the pictures came out perfect, but I especially love the second photo, where you can see half of one adorable expression. I love that he’s looking right at me, thinking, “Mommy, whatcha doin?”
One thing that definitely took time to learn and plan was composition. It’s such a basic art principle, and yet it did not come naturally to me. It was certainly something I had to practice. But where a subject exists in a frame, and how much space is around them, can make such a big difference in the overall image the the message you’re trying to send with it. In these pictures for example: I love how small and centered Grayson is, because he was just a tiny baby exploring the great big playground. In the photo of Ryan, not only is his expression priceless, but his position at the lower right of the frame, and his upward gaze, really work together.
Ask any photographer what the thing they think about most is, and I bet they would say light. I think about it ALL the time. Never could have seen that coming. I watch it move across the sky as time passes any time I’m outside. And I notice the shadows it casts on things and the shapes it makes. I take note of how it changes the color of a scene. There is a crappy little field across from our neighborhood and one of my favourite things on the ride home from work is to watch the setting sun make it amazing and golden. And to think how much I’d love to shoot there!
In these pictures, you can see how the light made the pictures so much more interesting. The light peeking through the playground equipment is like something Grayson is crawling toward to explore. The light caught in Ryan’s eyes and eyelashes make him look even more angelic. Light can give such a something extra special to pictures if you can learn how to use it.
I took these images as a real beginner, but there’s a redeeming quality to each one. Not that I never take crappy pictures. But I learn something literally every time I pick up my camera, and that has made the past year so rewarding and scary and amazing. I can’t wait to look back on this year come 2019 and see what I’ve learned by then.