I’m Tiffany Tillman, a member of the 2009 Creating Keepsakes Dream Team. It’s a pleasure to be this week’s guest blogger!
It’s finally summer–woo hoo! It’s hot where I live, and my family and I love to brave the heat every day. We’re at the park or in the swimming pool, catching waves at the beach or barbequing with our extended family . . . the list goes on and on. And like every scrapbooker, my camera is always right there with me.
One thing is for sure–just because I’ve decided to haul my camera with me does not mean the midday sun is forgiving. Shade? What shade? Wait for a cloud? I can see clearly with no clouds in sight. The only thing left to do is remember a few key tips and get the shot, midday sun and all! Here are a few photography pointers for making the most of a sunny situation:
Positioning: Focus on the Face
My main concern is always the face. I want to make sure I can see my subject’s eyes as wide and candid as possible. So instead of allowing the light to stream onto the face (as in the 3/4 sidelighting example), I position my subject with her back to the sun (also known as backlighting). Backlighting eliminates harsh lighting on the subject’s face, though the top of the head will still be overlit. But my concern is the beautiful face, so I’ll live with the hot spot on the head on a sunshiny day!
The Trinity: ISO, Aperture, & Shutter Speed
Some of you may feel intimidated by all the functions on your camera, but once you’ve read your camera’s manual—it IS an invaluable resource—you can practice and see great results when shooting in full manual mode (when using DSLRs). When it’s a scorcher outside, my “quick, get that shot” go-to camera settings are ISO at 200, f/5.6, and a shutter speed well over 125. If I want the background to be a bit fuzzy and don’t mind a few hot spots, you can reduce the aperture value to f/3.0. The photo above was taken at ISO: 200, f/5.0, with a shutter speed of 1250. Check your camera’s manual for how to adjust these settings and play around with them. The payoff can be phenomenal!
Use the Histogram, Not the LCD
I don’t know about you, but the glare on my LCD in midday summer sun blinds my dream of a nicely exposed photo. Enter the histogram, which sees all! Basically, it will let you know at a glance if your exposure is under or over exposed. Here’s an easy way to tell if you’re under or over exposed: If the reading on the screen is to the left, it’s under. To the right, and it’s over. If it’s in the middle, keep it! Most point & shoots and DSLR’s have a built in histogram function in the camera, which allows you to view the histogram and the image simultaneously. Again, if you consult your owner’s manual, you can learn how to find and read your histogram. It’s worth checking into, I assure you!
Here are a few more tricks:
1. Use the flash. It sounds silly, but it’ll fill in harsh shadows on a subject’s face and create a more evenly lit image.
2. Shoot, shoot, shoot! Summer is full of action! Photos from quick clicks of the shutter make great story boards. How can a scrapper say no to a sequence of action photos?
If you aren’t taking as many summer photos as you like, challenge yourself today to take a few using the tips above. You’ll love looking back at them when cooler weather (and more time to scrap) snuggles up to you!