Trying to Improve

My photography obsession runs deep, but that’s no secret here. I blogged about my obsession and how I taught myself how to use my DSLR not that long ago. While I’m thrilled with the pictures I’m getting, I know I could improve. Sure, there are better DSLRs out there, and I would love one. I try really hard not to covet the cameras some of my photog friends have. Here’s the thing though – my camera is perfectly good. I’m learning to get great pictures out of it even though it doesn’t have 30 mega-pixels or a body that costs thousands of dollars.

I remember back when I still had a point and shoot (and a really crummy one at that), telling a co-worker (who had a nice Nikon DSLR) “these pictures are awesome! What kind of camera do you have?”. He quickly told me what a silly question that is, because it’s not the camera that makes the photographer but the eye and learning how to take a great picture. He equated it to complimenting an author on his latest book and then asking what computer he typed it on.

That’s when the light went off for me. Sure, I could realize my dream of owning a DSLR but it wouldn’t mean a whole lot if I didn’t learn how to use it properly! Until I could get my DSLR (about 3 years later) I focused on learning what my point and shoot could do. Like, it could take great pictures outside if I positioned myself in the right spot with the sun!

Fast forward to last Thursday… I was looking at one of my favorite photography sites, I Heart Faces, and the post that day was all about backlight. Now let me tell you something – in my limited photography experience, sun + blue eyes = terribly squinty shots. I always try to photograph in the shade because of my boys’ blue eyes. This article was wanting me out in full sun, with the subject’s back facing the sun. Eek!

After reading through the article twice I decided to go for it. It was late afternoon, so the sun was nearing a good point for getting sun flare (when it looks like you can see beams of light from the sun), and now was as good a time as any to try it out. I walked the boys down to a nearby path and started positioning them and snapping away (thankfully, I always had at least one cooperative kid!). Here are the results…

Tyler and Chase – the first attempt.

Mr. Tyler – I’m loving how these backlit photos look in black and white!

Isn’t that hazy look behind Chase fun?

Chase again, this time with some haze and you can even see some sun flare mixed in.

One of the final shots of the experiment and I got some sun AND lens flare! (The bright, almost rainbowy dots on the lower half is lens flare.) Adds a fun, mystical feel to the picture, don’t you think?

I’m definitely going to keep playing around with this technique, probably even this afternoon if the sun decides to reappear. At the very least, I’ve learned the sun should not be feared with my blue eyed boys! I’m thinking my next photography purchase will be a reflector. A reflector would help brighten up the subjects face a bit, plus I could use it in other shooting instances. Amazing the things you learn about on the web!

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  • Anna

    I am so inspired to learn how to work my camera now! I really want my kids to have good pictures of themselves growing up, and my phone camera is just not cutting it.ReplyCancel

  • I’m with you! I’ve been playing around with the SLR I bought a few months ago – we went to the pumpkin patch this week-end and I ended up with a few good ones using backlight! Now – if my kids would just cooperate and go out every evening with me…. 🙂ReplyCancel