The theme for this week's challenge was "humorous." I secretly hope that all of my clients laugh out loud at some point during their session. I don't care if the cause is their dog or me, I just love it when something unexpected happens causing more fun memories. Here are a few outtakes from some past sessions. Sometimes you just have to be there, but these make me smile simply because I remember what was going on at the time.
When my boys were little, they would run down the isle of the store when trying on new shoes. They said they had to make sure the shoes were "fast." ;O) I guess the same holds true for dogs and capes. When I put a simple red cape on Hermes, he apparently felt the need to make sure that he could fly. And, he did... right into my camera. (Funny, not funny... ok, funny. At least my husband sure thought so.)
He was so happy, too! Right up till the end. ;O)
The challenge this week will hopefully make you smile (if not laugh out loud), so continue around the circle with Danyel with Wag to My Heart serving the Portland OR metro area. Have a great week!
This 52 Weeks project is just for fun, but it gets us pet photographers thinking in ways we might not have before, as well as trying things we might not have tried before. This week's challenge was "headshots." I don't have a formal studio so I've never done a traditional headshot, but with treats in hand I gave it a go.
Why would you use a headshot for a dog you ask? For his dating profile, of course!
My name is Hermes
I was named after a Greek god who I'm pretty sure was faster than Superman. I wear a white and brown coat and have big brown eyes. I'm 77 years old (that's 11 in people years), 19" tall, and a huggable 17 pounds.
I'm really good at
Head tilts, wagging my tail like a conductor, and knowing when it's Wednesday
The first thing people usually notice about me
My ears. It's all about the ears.
The most private thing I'm willing to admit
My falsetto rivals that of Adam Levine.
The four things I could never do without
treats, my blanket, treats and treats.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Food. Since the kids have all grown up and left the house I don't get many hand offs anymore. I get the occasion empty yogurt cup or raw vegetable when someone's making dinner, but I really miss the challenge of grabbing that pizza slice or running with a whole corn dog in my mouth. Those were the days. sigh
My idea of a great date
Playing frisbee in the field, then sharing a cool water bowl before taking a little snooze together in the sunshine.
They call me Dash and I have lived up to my name. I have brown fur with a mature frosted face and brown saucer eyes. I'm 84 years young, 17" tall, and a lean, mean 8 pounds.
I'm really good at
Elvis impressions (oh, and holding it for a really, really, really long time when it's cold outside)
The first thing people usually notice about me
I'm told that I have legs that go on forever.
The most private thing I'm willing to admit
I've always wanted a sleeve tattoo, but I was told that the up-keep with shaving would be too much for me. Ok, they really said I lack the muscle tone for pulling off a good tattoo.
The four things I could never do without
squirrels, my blanket, squirrels and squirrels. Oh, and squirrels.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Squirrels... and how to keep people off my lawn...oh, and squirrels
My idea of a great date
Going on a walk with our humans and making them carry us home in their jackets for any reason we can think of.... (full disclosure, this is where we part because I really just want to be by myself. The dating stuff is just so Hermes doesn't think he's better than me.) Call me!
Well, I thought it was kind of fun. ;) I have a feeling there will be a lot more profiles if one of these heart throbs doesn't suit your dog's fancy. Start with Lisa's blog Pet Photography Columbus Ohio.
This was going to be a fun challenge where I could take Hermes to a bridge or a dirt road, or, or, or... but, when it snows and the wind blows at the same time there is just no way I can ask Hermes to go out in it. So, this week we're back indoors.
Leading lines was the challenge for this week. Leading lines in an image usually require space and a wide angle lens. The idea is to use lines to draw your viewer into the part of the image that you want them to focus on.
I had no idea what I was going to do to show leading lines indoors, and then this happened... Hermes had wrapped himself in the throw just like he always does, but this time he didn't quite make it underneath before turning circles to settle. I tip-toed to my camera and silently whispered over and over, please don't wake up, please don't wake up. I knew I wouldn't get a second chance at this one. He was completely worn out. Poor guy.
Setting up the shot at just the right angle showed wonderful leading lines. Not exactly the standard shot you would get with a bridge or a road, but I think it's kind of cool. Thanks for helping, Hermes! ;)
If you are enjoying our Friday blog circle posts, follow along this week starting with Lynda from Heartstrings Photography, Based in Hamilton New Zealand.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Does your dog have a daily schedule that they routinely follow? This is often dictated by families who work outside the home or have kids who go to school. There is a routine that is always in place and the dog usually adapts nicely. Hermes knows when it's Wednesday (every time!) and anxiously waits for me to get to the part where I pick up my keys so that he can go out the door with me headed to doggie daycare. Any other time he goes to his bed when I get my keys and looks at me as if to say, "See you later." Other than that, his days could be described as, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-days. We go for walks, we sit outside, we play "where's the rabbit." We just do what we want, when we want.
Dash on the other hand, could care less what day it is. He has the same routine day in and day out. It doesn't matter what you have planned, his plans are always the same. It goes something like this:
He wakes up bright and early (cough) around 9am.
He goes outside to do his business, runs back in, checks the dog bowl to make sure there is food in it for later, then heads back to his kennel. When he is alerted that there might be something outside, he runs to the front door and barks like mad. (Most of the time it's a false alarm, but by gosh he's ready!)
Towards the afternoon hours Dash leaves the front room for better sun bathing options in the kitchen and a good view of the back yard.
This is the time of day when the squirrels are out and thus, this is when Dash's
"work day" truly begins. He sees a squirrel, runs to the door and barks his little head off telling that squirrel to "GET OFF MY LAWN!" (He's such a crotchety old man sometimes.)
Dash sprints out the door into the yard, kicking grass and dirt, (or snow) everywhere, runs the track around the tree, then jumps repeatedly at the squirrel who is now perched in the tree spewing a string of obscenities in Dash's direction.
When Dash has ended the conversation, he trots back inside and plops down on the couch or in front of the fire if it's cold out.
This is the first of about 15 or more "Let me out...let me in" rotations that last for about an hour or so until Dash has worn himself out. Honestly, sometimes I'm worn out before he is.
At the end of the day, Dash likes to lay on the couch beside me while I watch Netflix, whine a little to let me know that I should be scratching him, and then finally goes to his kennel when it's time for everyone to be in bed.
Yep, that's his whole day unless I convince him that it is warm enough for him to go for a walk with Hermes and I. It's a dog's life for sure.
This post is part of a blog circle, so to see what other pet photographers' dogs in might be doing with their day, start with KME Photography in Minneapolis, MN. Have a great weekend!
This week's challenge was to "Revisit and Re-Edit" so I decided to go back to the beginning for this one. Back to the shelter...
I started volunteering at a shelter over 10 years ago. When that shelter closed a few years later, it was sad and I missed it, but I was also busy with my kids and other volunteer work so I just accepted it. I loved and admired the people that I worked with and am grateful for their encouragement towards my photography. Never in a million years did it even occur to me that it might lead to a job that I love so much.
So, for the challenge, here are some re-edits and I have to say the "revisit" part was sooooo much fun for me. :O)
The challenge this week was a fun look at the past, but it didn't stop there. I have been so inspired this year with the number of people taking part in this challenge who work with rescues on a regular basis. I've been missing that connection for awhile now and decided that I'd like to change that. Today I was notified that I have been accepted as a HeARTs Speak Artist. HeARTs Speak is a 501c3 international nonprofit organization who's mission is to unite art and advocacy to increase the visibility of shelter animals.
HeARTs Speak artists provide their services pro bono or donate their work to animal shelters, rescues, and advocacy groups. I know the difference a good photo makes for a shelter animal when needing a new home. I love being part of that process and am looking forward to working with these animals (and the people who work so hard for them) again.
You can see more from other photographers in this blog circle each time there is a challenge post. This week start with Pet Love Photography, author of "Rescue Dogs: Portraits and Stories," serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Have a great weekend!
I was a "collector" in my younger years. I was very sentimental about things even as a teenager. My dad traveled the world with his job and would bring gifts home for us kids. One time he brought me 3 unique, spiny sea shells that he picked up off the beach (I can't even remember which country now) and I still have those shells simply because my dad picked them up for me and carried them home from a place I'd never seen. (Ok, so maybe I'm still sentimental). I collected so many things through the years, but the constant moves that come from being married to an Air Force pilot and having 3 little boys with all the things that go along with having 3 little boys brought a new way of seeing things for me... it was all stuff and it was a pain to pack and un-pack year after year.
I soon became a minimalist....NOT! Ha! Honestly, I'd love to be one, but it's just not in me. I like things that make me smile when I see them, whether from their beauty or from a memory associated with them. So, let's face it, my house will always lean towards the word, clutter rather than, tidy.
Minimalism has a place in art and we see it in photography as well. This image of a leaf in the snow would be considered minimalist. There is very little (if anything) to compete with the subject of the photograph.
I consider my Sioux View images to be minimalist photography. These images have what we call "negative space," (the background is void of clutter), they are for the most part linear in nature, and I remove the color from these images so that the viewer "feels" more of the textures, contrasts, and even emotions presented in the images.
Since the purpose of this 52 Weeks project is to think outside the box when it comes to pet photography, I needed to come up with something that would be considered minimalist with Hermes as my model. I knew the snow would be perfect for this week's challenge, but I also knew that Hermes and snow don't always play nice together. In the end, he was kind enough to take about a minute and a half out of his day for this shot out the back door.
Once back in the warmth of the house he told me to take all the time I needed for this shot on the couch. :D
To continue around the blog circle and see what other pet photographers and their models have come up with for this challenge, start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching family portraits in Coppell Texas and surrounding communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
This week's challenge was to photograph using a wide angle lens, so on the first nice(ish) day Hermes and I headed out with my 17-50mm lens. Using a wide angle lens can let you show more of an area rather than just a portion of it. Landscape photography is perfect for wide angle shots. With a wide angle lens you can take a picture of a lake, but you can also get mountains behind it and the shore in front of it instead of just the lake.
In this first image I wanted to show the new snow that we got and how perfect it was before all the kids got out of class to play and build forts and snowmen. My wide angle lens was perfect for this. The snow was up to Hermes's knees, but he'll do almost anything for a treat. ;)
A wide angle lens will "open up" places that are "walled," so to speak, making it a great lens for things like paths and bridges. The stairs and railing on the playground equipment fan out in this image inviting us to "come and play" with Hermes.
With a wide angle lens I'm able to include Hermes's ears and Dash's long legs in the picture! And, if you get really close you can create some fun images. ;)
If you'd like to see more from the pet photographers in this blog circle, start with Lynda Mowat from Heartstrings Photography, based in the Waikato New Zealand. Have a great weekend!
I love silhouettes almost as much as black and whites... almost. ;O) Silhouettes are another way to make sure that emotion trumps over things like clothing style or hair color. For me, the tricky part is finding a place without buildings or too many trees that can get in the way of your silhouetted subject.
Here is a silhouette from a fun session a couple of years ago.
With our weather lately, I thought I was going to have to get creative and figure out a way to get a silhouette indoors. But, we had one evening that showed some color. My husband and I took Dash and Hermes out for just a few minutes and I was able to get one shot of each of them before they turned into pupsicles. It always amazes me how fast the sky changes colors just before sunset!
This is a blog circle post, so if you'd like to see more silhouettes from other pet photographers in the group, you can start with Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA and NH. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Today is Chinese New Year and 2018's Chinese zodiac symbol happens to be the Earth Dog. Here are some fun facts about the Year of the Dog.
Dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty. Some of the best traits of human nature are used to describe our furry companions and these traits are supposedly passed on to people born in the Year of the Dog. They are honest, friendly, faithful, smart, straightforward, and often have a strong sense of responsibility. (Sound familiar?)
If you were born between Feb 4th and Feb 3rd (of the following year) during 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 or 2018, then you were born under the sign of the Dog. You also have something in common with these famous people: Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Bill Clinton, Herbert Hoover, Golda Meir, Voltaire, Marcel Proust, George Gershwin, Jane Goodall, Socrates, Prince William, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, Jessica Biel, Kelly Clarkson, Kirsten Dunst, LeAnn Rimes, Queen Latifah, Shirley McLaine, Susan Sarandon, Uma Thurman, Andre Agassi and Confuscius. (Not a bad crown to run with if you ask me.)
If one of your kids brings home a stray, you might want to think before you say no to keeping it. A dog will bring good fortune to those who bring them into their home this year.
The Chinese word for the barking sound – 旺旺 wàng wàng – actually means “prosperous prosperous" and barking dogs are considered to bring prosperity and wealth to one's house. (I honestly don't know if Dash's bark is worth the possibility of early retirement or not.)
And, in case you plan to buy a lottery ticket you might like to know that the numbers 3, 4, and 9, as well as other numbers that contain these, are lucky numbers for people born in the year of the Dog.
I went to a four-day power packed photographer's conference in Cedar Rapids this past week and had a great time making new friends and learning from some of the top photographers in the nation. Since it left me with very little time to come up with a unique picture of the dogs for this post, I've made you a little Chinese New Year's gift instead. It's printable on standard 8.5x11 paper or card stock. Simply click on the image. Hope you like it. :O)
If you'd like, please continue around the blog circle by starting with Tim Evans of Tim Evans Photography - photographing people and pets throughout south Mississippi. Have a great week!
I've decided that the name Project 52 was just a bit too stressful for me. So, from now on I'm calling these posts, 52 Fridays-Give or Take. ;O)
Dash has had me worried. After two trips to the vet and three nights on an IV, he has spent the last week and a half laying around and sleeping most of the time. He has finally started feeling better though. Want to know how I know? He barks at the squirrels constantly!!! (I'm glad you're feeling better, Dash, but you really need to give it a rest.)
Since the theme for this week's blog circle is Fantasy, I thought I'd create an image that reflects something that keeps popping up in my head these days. I call it, "Why can't we just all get along."
This next one is called, "Dash and Er-nie sit-tin in-a tree....." (you know the rest) ;D
We're all having a bit of fun with the theme this week. Hope you enjoy it! To see more, start with Wag to my Heart Photographer, Danyel Rogers, providing photography needs for the Portland Metro area.
Have a wonderful weekend!
A friend recently posted a link to a Tedx Talk. The speaker was Dewitt Jones, a Photographer for National Geographic. Dewitt's talk had so many "quote-ables" that I knew I had to share.
Dewitt says that National Geographic told him to...
"Go out and celebrate what's right with the world."
Everything we see and hear these days - the television news, the newspapers, Facebook... they all tell us what's wrong with the world (and a lot of times it's exaggerated or not even true.) We need to look through what Dewitt calls the "lens of celebration" instead, and celebrate what's right with the world instead of what's wrong.
Remember a few years back, when everyone was posting pictures of their food on Facebook and Instagram? We (ok, I) soon got sick of seeing post after post of what people were eating (and laundry, what??), but those people were showing something that was "good" in their day. They were sharing happiness. As a bonus, imagine how those pictures made the people who created that meal feel. I'm pretty sure that there was a huge grin on the chef's face whenever they saw their restaurant tagged and then saw something that they created in the image.
"When we 'celebrate what's right with the world' it gives us the energy to find the next right answer."
I feel like we need to try a little harder to balance the good with the bad that is always being thrown at us. It might take a minute for someone to see the good in a sea of bad, but if you try you can usually find it. My family lives in and around Houston. During the flood last year, my five siblings were each effected in different ways, one personally and the others spent weeks helping friends and neighbors. My sister sent me a picture of a friend sitting with her husband in a lawn chair with all of their belongings (most of which were ruined) piled in the yard behind them. In the front corner of the image, on what looked like a beach cooler, was one of those little word-art blocks. The block said,
"Collect moments not things."
And, they were smiling in the picture! For a moment at least, they had found what was right with the world.
If you'd like a little pick-me-up, or just a fun 18 minutes of listening to a great guy with a good message (and quite a bit of humor), take a look at this Tedx Talk with Dewitt Jones. I've watched it a few times now. ;)
Catchlights are the theme for this week's Project 52 and they are very important in images with people or animals. Very simply put, if you don't have catchlights in the eyes, there is not much life to the image.
In this first picture of Dash the reflection of the snow covers the bottom half of his eyes, but as far as catchlights go, there is only a tiny bit at the top of his eyes.
Once he came inside, the windows cast nice catchlights making his eyes have more life to them.
If you saw my previous post this week celebrating Ollie, then this next image will look a little familiar. With lots of fur and being black to boot, catchlights are sometimes the only thing that will save an image from looking like the dog has no eyes at all. In some images, the catchlights might be the only thing you see unless you print the image quite large.
When you are taking pictures of people or animals with your camera or your phone, make sure that you can see catchlights in their eyes. If you can't, then turn them until you can. Anywhere there is light... windows, open sky, light coming from another room, for example. It will make a huge difference in your image.
If you'd like to see more of our catchlights theme, start with John Bouma with MaxNorman Pet Photography, serving the South Florida area and follow the Project 52 links around the blog circle. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
There are rules to follow in photography just like every other craft, and the rule of thirds is one of the basics that every new photographer learns. It has to do with the composition of an image and can help draw the viewers eye to what the photographer wants them to see. The image is divided into three equal section both vertically and horizontally. The "rule" is that when placing your subject in the frame, placing them on the intersection points of these division lines has the most impact with the lines themselves coming in second. This does help new photographers to see the impact of the rule of thirds on an image, but ..... rules are made to be broken. Lets just say, if every image followed the rule of thirds, things could get boring very quickly.
For me, the rule of thirds is not something I think about when I aim my camera. However, there are certain scenarios that I find work beautifully for this composition technique; landscape images with a person in them for instance. If the person is in the middle of the image then the image is about that person using a "look at me" frame of mind. If the person is placed using the rule of thirds, then that person now becomes part of a "story" rather than being the main character. You see the person and then you see where they are or what might be going on around them.
The rule of thirds also works nicely if the scene is quite simple. Placing the subject using the rule of thirds can be very pleasing and actually relaxing to the viewer. (Here's Hermes helping me demonstrate "relaxing.")
Then there are times when you want to emphasize something in your image without making it seem quite as intrusive (or caloric). Using the rule of thirds can make something seem a little less "over the top" than if you put it right smack in the middle of the scene... Ok, this one might be a little over the top anyway, but you get the idea. ;O)
Want to see more about this week's theme? Head over to St. Cloud, Twin Cities and central MN About A Dog Photography to continue the blog circle and have a great weekend! (I think I need a little snack.)
It is my opinion that . . .
Every pet owner needs to have
a picture of themselves with their pet.
If you have a pet session with me, just expect me to ask you if I can take a few shots with you in them as well. (You can say, no of course and that's fine, but I feel so strongly about it, that I have to ask.)
It's the candid shots that I love the most. The ones where the people don't realize I'm photographing them. The images are so beautiful because they are so real - No cheesy grins, no self-conscious smiles, just . . . real . . . genuine . . . heart (and that's not just the dogs I'm talking about). ;O)
How many times have I heard someone say, I wish I had a picture with my dog before she passed away, or I wish I had a picture of my dog and I before he got sick. It happens all the time because time really does fly. If you are planning to have pictures taken and you plan to have your pet be a part of them, fantastic! If you don't have plans for a professional session then when you're snuggling with your pet on the couch and watching tv have a family member snap a picture of the two of you. Or, the next time you go out to play fetch ask a friend to take your picture in the yard. If you go to an event like, oh lets say a dog swim . . . document it! You'll be so glad you did. ;O)
Project 52 is a blog circle so head over to Charlotte NC based dog photographer Kim with BARKography. You can click from one blog to the next until you end up right back here.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Take a picture or a "me and my pet selfie!" (And then don't forget to print it out or back it up somewhere until you can.) ;O)
It use to be that photographers would cast away images for lens flare as fast as they would for blur. Now days they aren't so fast to trash those photos, and some portfolios are full of these images because it's the photographer's artistic style to include the flare.
Lens flare occurs when light hits the front element of the lens, "bouncing" around inside the lens creating circles, rainbows and bursts within the image. This is more common when using entry level lenses as the more expensive professional lenses have better optics to help prevent lens flare. So, for the photographer or artist, they just need to decide whether they want to include flare in an image or prevent it, and then adjust to achieve their goal.
This first images was taken at the Renaissance Festival. I did not plan the lens flare on this photo, but there was no way I was throwing it out with the fun that was added to the image because of it.
With this next image, I worked hard for the flare. I bet I took 20 images before I got that flare the size, intensity, and in the exact spot that I wanted.
This one is more subtle with a smaller burst.
This final image has a very subtle flare in the background, but it adds a haze to the image that lets the viewer feel the warmth (but not the humidity thank goodness) of the summer evenings that we've been having.
Yep, it's been a hot one here in Sioux Falls, but the next couple of days are suppose to be nicer. I hope you are able to get out with your family and pets and enjoy it.
If you'd like to follow the blog circle for this project, this week you can start with Elaine at I Got The Shot Photography, Northeastern PA.
I have been waiting for this post topic to come up in our Project 52 challenges for weeks now. I love shadows and I've always been one to notice them before anything else. I will take pictures because of the shadows that I see, and I will take pictures of just shadows alone. They are their own art, and they are just waiting for someone to notice them.
I don't think I've ever taken a picture with shadows where it was planned ahead of time. It's always been one of those fun surprises. For this post I needed to get some shadow images, but nothing turned out as I envisioned. When I quit trying, that's when I finally got something so, we'll start there. . . a new (blurry, ack) action shot with the cutest shadow ever!
I could not NOT take this picture of me and Zoe ( Zoe and I? ) when I noticed our shadows. Zoe was our boarder collie who passed away. I'm so glad I have this picture even if her shadow does look like a tiny brontosaurus. It just make me happy when I look at it. ;O)
Then there are these two images. Hermes was only about 10 weeks old here. I did not position him or plan the shadow, but I did notice it. I just kept shooting and wound up with some winners.
To see what other photographers in the group came up with for this weeks Project 52 post, start with About A Dog Photography, St. Cloud Minnesota.
Have a great weekend!
First of all I need to apologize for the empty post last week. I got so busy with sessions and editing that it never wrote itself. (It's hard to find good help these days.) ;O)
The next few weeks still fall under the "lighting" category, but they are, more specifically results or effects of certain lighting situations. The topics are all things that we don't always notice as we go about our daily lives, but are almost always there.
This week's topic: Reflections
There are a number of ways that you can incorporate reflections into your photography. Mirrors are the most obvious source of reflection, but it's how you photograph them that makes things interesting. Think about wedding pictures you've seen of the bride's reflection in a long mirror. You get to see the bride and the front of her dress in the mirror, but you also get to see the back of her dress at the same time. Here is an image from a recent session showing another way I like to use mirrors. She's not a bride, but she's just as beautiful. ;O)
Water is another thing that comes to mind when we think about reflections. Hermes has an aversion to water, but I did manage to get this image before he pulled us away from the area.
With reflections, it's often times simply the symmetry created by them that makes an image fun. However, there are also contrasts that sometimes emerge as well. This image ended up looking like a color image vs black and white-(ish). It also has a double personality kind of vibe . . . tatoos and piercings vs enjoying the scenery from a little outdoor bistro. ;O)
When photographing your subject in front of a window you can always use it as a mirror but, you can also capture multiple sides of "the story." I took this picture for a self portrait challenge a few years ago. I actually had no idea that Zoe was in the house looking at me when I took it. (Or, who knows, maybe I knew it, but didn't think twice about her showing up in the image.) The goal was to get a self portrait, but I ended up with an image that showed my reflection, all that was behind me, and the inside of the house as well. What would you call that? It's not 3D and it's not a 360, but there are definitely 3 layers to this image. Again, guess which pet photographer thinks to look for opportunities like this now. ;O)
Since this is a round robin type blog project, you can see reflection images from others in this group, starting with Rachel at Hoof N Paw Fine Art & Photography in Spokane, WA.You can click from one blog post to the next ending up right back here.
I hope you have a great weekend! The Blue Angels will be performing in town at the 70th Annual Power on the Prairie Air Show. Hope some of you can make it out. No matter what you do though, please be aware of the heat and take precautions with yourselves and your pets.
Hi guys! I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July. Those who have dogs who shudder during fireworks . . . congratulation, you made it through another year!
It's freestyle week for Project 52 and this time the theme is, "sky." Sooooo many options here.
Including sky in your images can do any number of things for them.
1. Sky in an image can add color: Blue skies of the day, golden skies near dusk, and don't forget sunsets.
2. Skies can help set the tone or mood of an image: Blue skies with billowy clouds make me think cheerful, happy, carefree. Darker skies can provide great contrast in an image, and work great for bold or very masculine images.
3. Shooting from a perspective that includes the sky can declutter a background or even make your subject look bigger or taller than they actually are.
Keeping it short and sweet this week, I chose to just have a little fun. Here's Hermes in super hero mode. ;O)
If you'd like to take a spin around the blog circle, start with St. Cloud MN dog photographer About A Dog Photography. I hope you enjoy your weekend!
This week our Project 52 subject is back light. This is a tricky lighting situation for traditional photographs because your subject is usually hidden in shadows. If you want details like a person's correct hair or eye color then back light is not going to make things easy on you. If however, you are looking for more drama in your images, more emotion so to speak, then you should give it a try. You might surprise yourself.
When an outdoor scene is back-lit, the first thing you might notice is that there is a big contrast in light and shadow. The light coming through the leaves of a tree or plant are highlighted and this makes the shaded areas even more dramatic. Your subject will a lot of times be almost completely silhouetted.
In an open scene when the sun is low in the sky, a back-lit photograph often times has a glow around the subject, we call this rim light. Rim light naturally outlines your subject giving more depth to the scene. In the first image, even though it was taken while the sun was still fairly high, you can easily see the rim light on Hermes' face and tail. (You can even see his goatee whiskers.) While light from the front bounces off your subject/scene, back light often shines through. Not only is the light shining through the leaves in this image, but it is also shining through Hermes' ears; if it weren't they would be as dark as his eyes being mostly hidden in shadow.
In this next image, the back lighting gives a more dramatic flair. The morning light is coming from behind the trees creating a path. You can still see that glow around Hermes, and again the light shines through some of the leaves, the grass, and through his ears.
This last image was taken later in the evening and everything fun about back lit images is present. (The stuff that I think is fun anyway) Hermes has wonderful rim light on his entire body, you can see little floating bits in the air that you can't see without back light, and the cherry on top was that I was able to get a slight sun flare through the trees.
There is much more that can be accomplished with back lighting than the few things that I've pointed out here. Some photographer portfolios are filled solely with artful images created in this way to suit their own particular style of photography. If you google "children's photography images" I bet you'll be able to instantly pick out the ones that were back lit. :O)
For those who are wondering what these Project 52 posts are all about . . . A group of pet photographers from around the globe are working from a book by David Duchemin called, The Visual Tool Box - 60 Lessons For Stronger Photographs. Those who don't mind sharing their "homework" are creating blog posts about some of the topics (chapters in the book). We create a blog circle or round robin of sorts so that you can see how each photographer who participates that week interpreted the chapter in their own work. This week you can begin the circle with Susannah at Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Franisco Bay Area.
I missed out on a couple of Project 52 posts being on vacation, but I'm back just in time for the topic of light. Those of you who enjoy photographing landscape or flower images might find this week's post helpful.
How many times do we come back from vacation, upload our images and find that they do not do the scene justice. We took that photograph because it was a gorgeous view, but what we see on our screen is not even close to what we remember.
It's all about the direction of the light.
When we photograph a scene with the sun behind us, lighting the scene from the front, everything is evenly lit. It makes it easy enough to get the settings right because there is not a lot of contrast of light and shadow. The only thing is, when we look at that image it's kind of dull, maybe even flat looking, and because of the even lighting the image has very little depth to it.
If we are able to move around the subject (or come back at a different time of day for landscape scenes) so that the sun is coming in from the side rather than the front, everything changes for the resulting image. The shadows that occur when something is lit from the side add texture, depth and even color to our images.
In order to see the same details and texture in our images that we see with our eyes,
we need to capture shadows along with the light.
In these two images of Hermes the first one is lit from the front and the second is side lit. In the second there is greater depth to the grass as well as more detail in his face. This is a result of the shadows that are cast from the side.
In these next two, the color difference is very obvious, and there is a lot of depth to the second vs the first image.
The shadows in the second image play a big part not only in giving Hermes more character (if that's even possible), but they serve as an element here as well helping to "frame" Hermes on an otherwise solid/blossom covered ground. Remember that whole "leading the eye" thing a few weeks ago? ;O)
Here is one more example, this time using a lily. Side lighting gives more texture and details to the petals, both the open and closed ones. See what the shadowing did to the sticky-outy things (stamen? ) in the middle of the flower? They are different colors, especially noticeable in that bottom corner one. We know they aren't really different colors, but it's a lot more interesting than the solid orange of the first image.
The next time you're on vacation, try shooting with the light coming in from the side. It will make a ton of difference in your images. :O) To keep going with this blog circle, head to Kim's blog at BARKography (formerly See Spot Run Photography) in Charlotte NC.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :O)
Not too long ago I did an exercise that was designed to help "see your style." More so, it was designed to help the person doing the exercise see specifics that they are attracted to design-wise. The exercise started by having you rip pages out of magazines that you were drawn to (a good way to get rid of clutter, by the way ). You were not suppose to think about why you liked the page, just rip it out if you liked it and skip it if it didn't grab your attention.
After ripping out a stack of pages you were to hang them up on a design wall (some of us just used the floor, ehem ) and weed out the ones that you weren't really excited about after all. In the pages that were left I started to see definite similarities and, it told me a few things as to why I am attracted to certain images and photography styles.
This is what I learned:
Well, the b&w and candid images were not surprising to me, but the attraction to elements that only showed half was very prominent in the pages that I tore out and so were the bold fonts. As for the lines . . . It was very apparent in my pages that I LOVE lines and until now I hadn't really noticed just how much they play a part in my photography.
There are both visible and invisible lines that lead our eye through a photograph. Photographers can use these lines (and manipulate these lines) in order for the viewer to see what he wants them to see, or feel what she wants them to feel.
This first image was taken in Yellowstone and is a really good example of how lines play a big part in adding interest. The curving road leads our eye directly into the mountain scene. There are lines from the surface of each mountain leading from one to the other so that you eventually see all three. An interesting point here, is that the curve of the road also creates a calming effect that a straight road leading into the scene would not have.
This second image is of our mama mallard who waddled off with her babies on Sunday. (She nested literally 6 ft from the front door! It was awesome watching the whole process ). You might be thinking, "There are no lines here besides the trellis." Oh, but there are. . . The most prominent element in the picture is mama duck, more specifically her eye. The line that goes through her eye is extended by her beak, which then leads to the ducklings. Going further, those babies are looking at something that we can not see and we wonder what it might be. Mama is also looking at something, but we don't really think about that because her beak leads us straight to the babies distracting us from that train of thought. Do you see what I mean? One more step . . . those babies are actually the only reason I noticed the duckling at the top . . . who just happens to be pointing straight at mom again. It's a beautiful little "cirrrrcle of liiiiife." ;O)
This last one is one of my favorites. Yes, they are all in a line and that "line" is going to walk right out of the picture. Where are they going? Are they walking towards something or away from something? The story is the first thing I thought about when I saw this image, but my favorite thing about it are the lines in the pavement. First of all, there is one straight line that goes from the left side of the image straight through to the other side and it's lined up parallel with those ducks. It's the least noticeable of the lines, but we now have it in our head that these ducks will walk straight off the page rather than angling towards the top or bottom. As for the pavement lines in general. . . the lines lead outside the image - just like the intention of the ducks. They are not straight lines, they are meandering - echoing the round about path that this family took. They are not harsh lines - they are soft like the feel that we associate with these ducks. And . . . the main line leads directly to mama duck making sure that you know she is there, too when our tendency is to only focus on the babies waddling after her. Did I plan this picture with these lines? No. But, by noticing details like this after the fact, we are more likely to see these sorts of things when taking pictures in the future and will be able to manipulate them in our images. I took about a dozen pictures that look just like this one except that the pavement was different in each one as she crossed the parking lot. This image was the only one without bold straight lines (or no lines at all) and it was by far my favorite.
Ok, I got a little long winded there so, enough about lines . . . here are some more pictures of mama duck taking her babies out to see the world. :O)
To see how other's in the blog circle use lines in their images, you can start with Kim at See Spot Run Photography in Charlotte NC.
A big thank you to our veterans and their families on this Memorial Day weekend.
For this round of Project 52, we are taking a little break from the book as our project leader has thrown in a "freestyle" challenge. This week the prompt is, "colorful."
I was so excited when I heard this word. Then I quickly realized that we are still in the "cover-your-plants-tonight-because-it's-going-to-be-below-freezing" season . . . ugh. So, where can I find color when there are really no flower gardens yet? A friend suggested a nursery. Yep, they have lots of color . . . and I have a leg lifter. Maybe not.
Hermes and I started with our front door. It was ok, but it wasn't much of a challenge (unless you count Dash and his mad photo bombing skills).
So, I spent a couple of days looking around town in search of color and I did find a few places.
Downtown Mosaic Wall
Then I realized that the night sky has color too (where we were shooting I had to enhance it a bit, but that's ok, too) ;O)
Feel free to check out the blog circle and see what others came up with for color. You can start with Becky at Future Framed Photography, South Dakota.
I hope you have a colorful weekend!
For this week's Project 52, our challenge was to recognize and use patterns in our images. Patterns are lines or shapes that repeat themselves, thus drawing our attention to the shape of them. David Duchimen states,
To make an interesting pattern into an interesting photograph we need to add a "surprise" of sorts. If there is an unexpected element within our image, then the viewer might be more intrigued. When there is a break in a pattern it grabs our attention.
It's quite challenging to think of ways to incorporate pets into the images that we take for this project each week, and this one was a tough one for me. I told some of the others in the group that I was trying to think outside the box, . . . but someone kept closing the lid on me!
In the end, I came up with 3 images to illustrate the whole "making a pattern a little more interesting" thing. . .
1. Hermes is a surprise or "break" in this otherwise messy image of stuffed animals. We don't expect to see him there so it's a little more interesting than just a picture of stuffed animals.
2. If you picture a long line of pots (much longer than this) with Hermes thrown in where you expect to see another plant . . . well, then you have a break in the pattern making it a little more interesting than just a line of pots. (My thought here was that these particular plants kind of mimicked Hermes' ears. I did mention that the lid on the box kept hitting me in the head, right? . . . please don't judge my work by this image. lol )
3. Another way to break up a pattern, thus giving more attention to the pattern itself is by throwing in a contrasting color. Because the tag stands out and echoes the treats, it makes us notice the pattern more, be it consciously or subconsciously.
There are other's who were with me in trying to step outside that box this week. (I don't know about them, but I may bring a sharp pair of scissors with me to the next challenge.) ;O)
You can take a trip around this week's blog circle starting with Kim at See Spot Run Photography, Charlotte NC.
Enjoy your weekend!
These Project 52 posts consist of topics pulled from David Duchemin's book,
The Visual Toolbox.
Lines are a part of every good image. They can be physically visible lines or subtle lines built into the image, but every photo has them. These lines add interest to a photo, direct the eye, add depth, and they can also add energy.
I took Hermes to the bike trail yesterday to get some images for this week's post. (Ok, and to get out of the house on a GREAT day weather-wise after dealing with a flooded basement for the past 2 weeks . . . It was a win-win to take him to the trails . . . and another win when I got a DQ s'mores blizzard afterwards.) ;O)
First, we'll look at images that have physical lines in them. You have complete control over the lines in your images and can change what those lines do by simply changing the angle in which you shoot. The first two images are a simple example showing a dramatic difference. The first is shot head-on and the second is shot from the ground looking upwards. These images also have nice depth to them. This is because the lines travel into the photo making you feel like you are looking into the scene rather than at a specific element.
In this next image the railing is seen as one diagonal line because of the way it tapers off on the right. Had I taken this picture of Hermes as a portrait (vertical) rather than a landscape image, the railing would have shown as vertical lines behind him and had a totally different feel. (Hermes isn't really giving me attitude; the sun was just super bright at 2 in the afternoon.)
Looking at the image below, there is interest and depth, but I'm also able to lead the viewer's eye. The first thing you see is Hermes, but then the railing leads to the man on the bicycle. The man on the bike is an element that gives the viewer a little piece of the story that this image might tell.
These next two journalistic style photos show how diagonal lines give energy to an image. In the first one, we see 3 dogs. We are able to see all 3 dogs at once and we say, "Awww, what cuties!" (You said that, right? )
In this second image we see Hermes, but then we see Walter, and then Dash (who is about to drop to the ground because he hates the wind and hits the dirt whenever there is a big gust - I think he might be living in the wrong state ). In any case, our eye goes from one dog to the other and then back again, sometimes multiple times. This is due to the fact that the dogs make a diagonal line. The diagonal line creates energy in the image and thus we want to stay and look a little longer. Without going into all the science of how we see things, it's also worth noting that the fact that we view this image from right to left, instead of left to right, also creates interest.
I hope these Project 52 posts help you to see things you haven't seen before when you are taking pictures, be it with a camera or your cell phone. To continue around our Project 52 circle of pet photographers, please start with Becky at Future Framed Photography, South Dakota.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend . . . and just so you know, the DQ s'more blizzards are quite yummy. ;O)
Color in photographs not only grabs our attention, but can also set a mood. When there is bright, bold color in an image we notice it right away and that's what usually stands out in our mind above all else. It can be a great tool for a photographer to bring attention to his subject.
On the flip side, it can also prevent us from seeing the subject or even the story that the photographer might have wanted us to see. Bold color can prevent us from seeing other elements in the image as well. There are times when color can also give the wrong impression. The author of the book we are following for this project points out that if you are documenting a tragic event and there is bright, cheery color in the image, the viewer might be pulled in the wrong direction emotionally creating imbalance as to how they should feel.
Below are some examples to help show you a little of what I'm thinking when I decide whether or not to create a black and white image over a color one.
This image was taken in Germany where dogs are allowed literally everywhere. (It made me smile seeing so many.) :O) Move the slider so that you see the full color image. Now, name the first 3 things that you notice when you glance at this photo. When I look at this image the first thing I notice is the bold red color; the table. If I think out loud about what I'm seeing, the second thing I notice is the men inside the shop because the red color leads me right to them. It's only after seeing these things that I finally see the dog. Now, move the slider so that you see the b&w image. When I look at this image I see two things equally. . . the dog and the coca-cola logo. This makes sense because the black dog stands out on the light background and the white logo stands out on the dark table. These two elements have equal weight and are even on the same level with each other. The men in the shop are almost un-noticeable as my eye is not led to them by anything else.
In color, this image to me, is one of a dog taking a nap. Simple as that; he looks content. When I look at it in b&w I see a "street dog" without a home of his own and he looks kind of sad and lonely to me. It's the grungy textures that are more noticeable in b&w that change the mood of the image.
This adorable little guy wows everyone with his blue eyes. His eyes are the first thing I notice when I see the color image. When I change to b&W I see a white puppy and I now notice the stars below his paw where I didn't notice them before. I also see that he has a patch over one eye that I didn't notice before. (Did anyone else move the slider back and forth specifically to see what color that patch was? ) In color, I see his eyes and pretty much of stop looking after that. I would remember this image as a puppy with beautiful bright blue eyes. But, in b&w my eye is led from his face, to his big puppy paws and then the stars. With the absence of color I see more elements in the photo that I might otherwise miss.
There are any number of reasons to create images in color and just as many reasons to create in b&w. I love color. I wear bright colors and I have bright colored walls in my home. But, when it comes to photographs I have this thing for black & whites. So, color or b&w . . . it's a matter of choice, and both are right . . . The best part is, because you are the artist/photographer, you get to choose. ;O)
If you'd like to see other Project 52 photographers thoughts about black and white photography start with Future Framed Photography, South Dakota. Each blog post will direct you to the next in the project circle.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!