It’s February, and the dark winter months are finally falling behind us. Soon, the days will be getting longer and brighter. For photographers, this season is the prime time of the year to get outside and capture photos that show off our eye for beauty and color.
Alas, we have to keep in mind that everybody has seen pictures of flowers and sunsets. To the untrained eye, these images can all seem the same. You might take a picture of a phenomenal sunset, only to be met with the response “So, what?”
Spring photography is more difficult than one might expect, because spring is a feeling, not just a sunny sky. How you want to express spring in your portfolio is up to you, but if you experience difficulty with capturing the season through a lens, here are some interesting tips and tricks that can advance your seasonal photography.
1.) Use Your Wide Angle Lens
When the flowers are blossoming and the sunlight is stretched out across a long scope of land, you will probably want to take a landscape shot. When you decide to do this, bring out your wide angle lens. This lens creates a greater depth of field, so you will be able to successfully capture a clear image of the foreground as well as the background.
2.) Embrace Color
Spring is known for it’s bright colors (shocking, I know), but it can be difficult to capture these colors through a camera. If the camera isn’t picking up what you’re putting down, invest in a polarizing filter. The polarizing filter will saturate the colors, and suddenly your kinda-blue sky will become overwhelmingly-blue. This is a great lens to use when you’re taking landscape photos.
3.) Contrast is Key
To create a piece that stands out, seek out places in nature where there is high contrast in colors. An orange flower against a blue sky, for example, or lavender in a green field. The more contrast in your photos, the more they’ll pop and be worthy for your portfolio.
4.) Look for Patterns
From the rings in tree trunks to the patterns on a bird’s back, nature is filled with unique patterns that catch the viewer’s eye. Keep this trick in mind when you go on nature walks, it can help you with capturing plants and animals alike.
5.) Time it Right
In the spring and summer, the best time to go out to take pictures is either in the early morning or in the late afternoon/evening. In the middle of the day, the sun is too bright and the exposure will make your photos faded and unclear. If you go out early in the morning, the sun won’t be harsh enough to create a glare, and you can experiment with the fog that settles in on early spring mornings to create an interesting image.
6.) Keep the Sun Hidden
Going along with the unique challenges that the sun presents photographers with in the springtime, make sure that that big ball of light doesn’t hog up all of the attention. When taking pictures of people and animals, especially, make sure that the sun is on one side of them and outside of the frame. This way, you have just enough sunlight to avoid shadows and overexposure.
7.) Get up High
If you insist on making the sun the main subject of your photograph, and seek to take pictures of the sunrise or sunset, go somewhere that is elevated. If you are able to take photos from the top of a hill or a mountain, the valley below you will act like a bowl where fog rises. The fog will help to soften the sunlight, as well as create an interesting effect that you could not achieve from below.
8.) Experiment with your angles
When you take a picture of a tree your first instinct will be to look up, just like when you take a picture of a flower your first instinct will be to look down. But people are used to seeing vegetation like this. Try switching up your angles if you want to capture images that people will stop to study.
9.) Change up the Focal Length
The focal length of an image will have a huge affect on what stands out to the viewer. If you want to capture an entire landscape, use a higher f-number like 11 or 12. This will ensure that everything is in focus. If you just want the image to focus on a particular flower or animal in the foreground, use a lower f number.
10.) Try out a Macro Lens
When the flowers start budding in your lawn, your macro-lens can be your best friend. This lens will capture details in an up-close perspective that the naked eye would not be able to see.
11.) Use shade to your advantage
In the spring time, that pesky sun will always try to make its’ way into your photos, which could unintentionally change the contrast or the color saturation in your images. If you’re taking pictures of people and the sunlight is overwhelming, have them stand under a tree (or another shady place) and compensate for the dimmer lighting with your flash.
With these tips in mind, hopefully you feel better equipped to take pictures in the spring time. Now go enjoy that warm weather and those bright colors, and try to capture some images of the season that will blow people away.
Feature Photo by Zach Taiji on Unsplash