photography tips + tricks

5 Ways to Shoot the Same Subject

I’ll be first to admit that I am an overshooter. I take a lot of images of the same thing, just to be sure I get the shot that I first set out to get. I usually start off with a simple perspective, my perspective. Then I’ll move from there to shooting down. Shooting up. Stepping to the side. You name it. It’s important to try different perspectives. I tend to find that I can get two completely different shots of the same subject if I just change my camera angle a little. And I tend to like them both for two different reasons. Read on to see why you should take more than one image of the same subject and for a few examples of different perspectives.

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A great way to add variety to your portfolio is shooting the same subject in different ways. There’s many more ways to do this than what is suggested below. Experiment and have fun with it.

2017-05-15_0001shoot far and up close

Include the environment in your shot. Take a wide angle shot. Then get in close and take a picture. This is a great way to get a variety. You can tell I shot in the same place in the images above, but they are two very different images. I love both of them for different reasons. I love how the first one shows the environment. It shows a run down shed. Then the second one completely focuses on the girl in the image, shaking her head. Both are beautiful and both tell a different story.

2017-05-15_0002shoot up

In the next two examples, I show both straight on and shooting up or down. For shooting up, it tends to work better to make an object seem big. This could work for dogs, for children, something that is already small. I don’t shoot up often, especially now since I’m 8 months pregnant, but I do love the variety of shots I can give from shooting up. Shooting up on these blue berries (I am actually not sure what these are!! I wonder if they are poisonous?) shows many more blue berries than shooting straight on.

2017-05-15_0003shoot down

I am obsessed with shooting down on my subjects. Usually because my subjects include dogs, children, and flowers. I think it adds a fun twist to the image. Shooting straight on can be fun as well, but I just love the way images that are shot down look. I love the catchlights I can usually get in my subjects eyes, because light is coming in from above. I also love including my feet in images where I’m shooting down. This can be a fun way to get in the frame.

2017-05-15_0004blur one of your shots

I purposely blur some of my shots sometimes. I think it adds a cool effect to it. Both of the shots above are great and I love both of them for different reasons. But I love the blur one because I think it adds mystery and makes you linger just a little longer. Blurring my shot is especially easy since I use Back Button Focusing, I can just simply twist my focus and take the picture, without having my camera re-focus. It’s a great little effect to use. I tend to still try to make the objects in the frame recognizable, like in the blurred shot above. You can still tell it’s a girl riding a bike. When blurring your shots on purpose, just make sure your intent is clear (for example, don’t have a blurry subject and a crisp clean background, that makes it look like you missed focus).

2017-05-15_0005shoot straight on

I’ve mentioned shooting from below and above, but shooting straight on can also be an option in adding variety to your portfolio. Shooting straight on can help include the environment and help tell a better story. In the shots above, I love both of them. But the second one with the environment tells a story more than the other. You can tell with the one shot straight on that it’s someone’s yard, the sun is starting to set (based on the light), and there are more flowers than just the one being photographed. I love including straight on images, especially with children or dogs.

 

 

 

photography tips + tricks

3 Reasons to Buy Phone Lens Clips

If you’re like me at all, you really have a hard time taking pictures with your phone. You just feel like no matter what you do, the phone images look terrible. Even though you have that fancy DSLR camera and those images are fantastic. Once I realized that my phone was not my camera, my phone pictures started improving drastically. I realized that I would not get the same type of images with my phone as I did with my camera. Simply because my phone’s camera was not as good. I even have an android. Iphone seems to be the most popular when it comes to phone photography. But this article is for android users or iphone users. After I realized my phone was not my camera, I decided to buy phone lens clips. At first I thought it was a joke, they were so inexpensive! But once I received them and tried them out for myself, I instantly fell in love with them.

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This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post (except for the first, which was taken on my Nikon D610 with my 50mm lens) were taken on my Moto X.

These Aukey phone clips are really well made. They have a great design that allows them to clip onto any phone. Even my not-so-slim Moto X. I did have to take my phone case off for them to work properly, but that’s not a big deal for me. You literally just clip them on to your phone and adjust the lens so that is covering the camera correctly. And instant magic happens. Let me tell you the three top reasons I can think of for buying these lens clips.

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1. they are cheap

Ok, probably my favorite part about these lens clips is that they are cheap. But they are not poor quality! I was hesitant in buying them at first because I wasn’t sure how durable they would be since they were so cheap. But I promise you, you get a lot more for your money. You get two lenses and one of them is a 2-in-1! All for about $12. You really can’t beat that when it comes to camera equipment (can I please get an amen?!). Lenses range from $200 to thousands of dollars! So I’ll take $12 any day.

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2. they allow you to have a variety of shots

So, before, you were just taking photos on your phone and they all looked the same. Now with these clips, you can have a variety of shots with just your phone! The three different types of lenses you get are fish eye (my favorite!), wide angle, and macro. I love using the macro one to blur my shots. The fish eye is so fun because of the distortion it causes. And the wide angle is extremely nice because it allows you to get more in your shot. And of course the macro is fun for close ups of tiny objects (and it works like a charm!). And then you have the normal view from your phone. So, that’s 4 different ways to photograph on your phone now. Endless possibilities.

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3. no need to lug around that heavy gear

We all know that photography gear can get heavy and inconvenient at times. There have been countless times where I left my photography gear at home simply because I didn’t want to carry it around. BUT you always have your phone on you. And the clips are small enough they could fit in your purse! It’s easy to transport and easy to use. I’m seriously in love with them and I am loving the images I’ve gotten with them. Now, wherever my phone goes, you can bet these beautiful lens clips go to. I really think you should just try it (it’s only $12, after all!) and see what images you can get with your new gear.

What are some subjects you love to photograph using your phone? Comment below.

photography tips + tricks

3 Tips to Get Started in Macro Photography

I don’t claim to be an expert in macro photography. But it is definitely one of my favorite genre’s of photography. It’s very soothing and relaxing. I also love the beauty of nature and I love capturing that. I am that crazy person that is always outside scouting out beauty in my own backyard. I am that lady that asks for flowers when someone asks me what gift they should get me. And I am that lady that steals your flowers (sorry mom!). But I don’t only find beauty in flower. I love buds, grass, leaves, anything nature. Just give me my camera, macro lens, and nature and I’m good to go.

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So first and most important is your equipment. Sure, you can take pictures of nature with a normal 50mm 1.8. But you won’t be able to get that detail and that texture you so crave with just a simple lens. You’ll need a macro lens. The one I have is an older version, Nikon 105mm 2.8, it doesn’t have the nice vibration reduction (VR) like the newer lenses have. I will one day upgrade to a lens that does have VR. I’ve heard that they are so much easier and nicer to use. Now, if you’re not sure you’ll like macro photography (like me) and don’t want to spend a ton of money on a macro lens only to find out you really don’t like it, I would suggest buying macro extensions first. I bought them first and decided, yes, I really do enjoy macro photography and then moved on to buy my Nikon 105mm 2.8 lens. I will point out that macro extensions do not work as well as macro lenses. They don’t get you the clarity a macro lens would. But they do allow you to see if you really want to splurge on a macro lens.

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1. don’t be afraid to change your aperture

I’ll be first to admit that I love wide open images. Even in macro photography. But just like in your normal everyday photography, I would suggest experimenting with different apertures. The image above is shot at an f stop of 8. That is quite a bit higher than what I would normally do. But as you can see, since it’s a macro lens and the compression is greater than a normal lens, the background is still blurry. Experiment and see what type of aperture you like best. I do a variety of apertures to get different effects. If you have a wider aperture (lower f stop number) you’ll come to find it a little challenging to get what you want in focus, but it can create a beautiful effect that I sometimes go for.

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2. add water droplets

I have a squirt bottle that my husband got me as a gift (us photographers ask for the weirdest things!). And I love using it for my macro photography. I also love going out in my backyard right after a rainfall to capture the beautiful natural water droplets. I love adding water because it gives you something else to focus on. It adds texture and dimension to your macro work.

3. use a third hand

If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend going out and buying a third hand. I use it when I get flowers and for when I just want to isolate one flower. It is so great. Plus you can move your flower to any background you want, it doesn’t have to be the bouquet of flowers that came with it. Like the image above, I used a third hand to isolate the flower and get it with a plain background to really exaggerate the flower and water droplets.

Macro photography, once you start, is very addicting. It’s one of my favorites things to photograph. So, I dare you to start. You’ll be forever grateful that you found such a beautiful genre of photography.

 

 

photography tips + tricks

3 Ways to Capture Spring

I was born in spring time (actually, today is my birthday!) and it is my favorite time of year. It’s almost like the new year. It’s a time of rebirth. It’s a time to reflect on how the year is going. It’s a time a beauty. It’s a time of nicer weather (FINALLY!). It’s just a beautiful time. I love the way spring looks and feels. I love the feelings I get when spring time gets here. I love spring cleaning. I love the smell of spring. I just love spring.

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1. capture the gorgeous colors

Spring is full of color. From pink to blue to red to yellow. There is color everywhere. I believe the beauty of spring comes from it’s vibrant colors. So make April an all color month. No black and whites! Pick a color and do a photography project of all the colors of springs. There are so many different ways you can capture the colors of spring. And on the plus side, they’re ALL beautiful. Embrace the color, the bright color. Because that is what spring is all about. Bright beautiful colors.

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2. capture the light

Finally, the light is beautiful again. When it’s not raining (because, it’s spring, there HAS to be rain) go out and find the light! The weather is beautiful and the sun stays out a lot longer, it’s much easier to find the light. For me I find anywhere form 5-7pm is beautiful light. Find the light and make it work for you.

3. capture the details

There are so many details of spring. The flowers. The bugs. The rain. Pick a detail of spring and focus on it. Focus on the new life all around you. Take out that macro lens, dust it off, and start capturing the little things. Spring is a wonderful time to get inspired in your photography. Try something new.

Embrace the rain, also. Because there will be rain. But that can also be beautiful in your photos.

photography tips + tricks

Why I Switched to Back Button Focusing

I must admit, when I first switched to using back button focusing, it was really hard. It wasn’t clicking for me and I quit after about 5 mins. I went back to my old ways for a while. But I kept missing focus, I kept missing the moment. And I knew something had to change. I decided to switch once again, but this time I was determined to figure it out. I have loved using it ever since. Back button focusing is super easy once you get the hang of it. But, like anything in photography, you have to practice.

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So, what is back button focusing? It’s when you assign a certain button (in most cases, I believe it is the AF-L button for Nikon and AF-ON button for Canon) to be your ‘focus’ button instead of having the shutter be your focus button. I use my thumb to focus, and then my finger to take the picture. Sounds weird at first, doesn’t it? Why would you want that? Keep reading to find out why I wanted to use back button focusing and how it could actually improve your photography. (For a more detailed guide on how to switch your camera to back button focusing, read this article from ClickinMoms).

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refocusing isn’t an issue

You know how you hold the shutter button down half way, it focuses, you take a shot. Then you go in to take another shot, and it has to refocus again because you pressed the shutter button down half way? It’s super annoying and sometimes makes you miss the shot! The reason I love back button focusing is because you can focus using your thumb (usually the AF-L button for Nikon users!) and then press the shutter speed. If you stay in the same position and your subject doesn’t move, you don’t have to press the AF-L button again to refocus, you can just press the shutter button. This allows you to be quicker at taking photos, and helps you miss less shots. Win win in my book.

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recomposing is easier

So, I know for Canon users, they recompose a lot. As a Nikon user and one who toggles her focus points, I don’t do this little trick very often. But I definitely do it more now that I use back button focusing. Recomposing simply means you focus on your subject, and change the composition of your shot afterwards. This can come in handy if you want to just leave your focus point in the center, and then recompose to get the composition you want. For me, I usually toggle my focus points, though. But it’s a personal preference and something you should practice and figure out which method you like better. I recompose A LOT for my dog images.

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locks focus

It locks focus! I think I have touched on this a little throughout this blog post, but once you press the AF-L button and lock focus, you can take all the pictures you want with pressing the shutter button and never once will your focus change. This is PERFECT for self portraits, and I mean perfect! I simply stand where I want to stand, focus on my tripod or where my camera will be, lock focus using back button focusing, then set the camera on the tripod. I don’t have to switch my lens to manual focus, because the focus is locked. Then I can press the shutter button (again, focus is locked, I don’t have to worry about it refocusing on me!), after turning on self timer mode, run to where I was standing, and I’m in focus. It’s simple and easy. (I wrote another blog post about self portraits that you can read about, Because You’re Important Too).

miss less shots

Since I started using back button focusing, I have missed less shots. Of course, I still get some shots where I miss focus (please tell me I’m not the only one!) but since switching, I have noticed a significant difference in the number of shots I miss focus on. Back button focusing is perfect for action shots. Instead of having your index finger do all the work, you add in your thumb and will be able to press the shutter button quicker, resulting in an in focus shot.

If you haven’t tried back button focusing, I seriously recommend it. It does take a little while to get used to. And you might get frustrated (like I did, when I first tried) at first, but don’t give up! In my opinion, it is worth it. The number of missed focus shots I get has gone way down since using back button focusing.

What is one reason you’re hesitant to use back button focusing? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

photography tips + tricks

Setting Goals : Why it Will Improve Your Photography

I am a goal setter. I love setting goals and completing them. I am constantly thinking about goals in my mind. But, if I just think about my goals, I tend to have a problem with never completing them, or worse yet, forgetting about them completely. So, my new secret to staying on top of things is writing my goals down. Yes, it’s really that simple. I bought myself a planner and it is amazing. I love it! In my planner I write yearly, monthly, weekly, daily goals. It keeps me motivated and inspired. Let me share with you why setting goals is so important to your photography (and life, even!).

2017-03-26_0001Taken with Nikon 50mm 1.8

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

setting goals give you focus

Sure, you could just go around and photograph whenever you wanted, whatever you wanted (and you can still do that with goals). But setting a goal will help you focus on something specific. For example, I set yearly goals, monthly goals, and even weekly goals. One of my yearly goals this year is to complete a 365. While one of my monthly goals would be to focus on light. Or composition. You get the picture. A weekly goal could simply be that I get 7 images that week. Looking at the 365 head on sometimes terrifies me. But if I look at it as a weekly goal, it’s much more manageable. The 365 goal is for me to grow and develop as a photographer this year. All of my goals have purpose and reason behind them. And they all help me focus on something so that I can grow and develop even further.

2017-03-26_0002Taken with Nikon 50mm 1.8

setting goals holds us accountable

Ok. You can’t just set goals and keep it to yourself. Share with your photography friends. Share on your blog. Share with your family. Then make those people hold you accountable. Then, you’ll actually do it! Setting goals allows you to put yourself first. These goals are you for you. No one else. But still enlist the help of your family and friends to hold you accountable. If you’re like me, you like writing down goals so that you can cross. them. off.

2017-03-26_0004Taken with Nikon 50mm 1.8

setting goals gives you motivation

I know I’ve sat there before thinking, what should I photograph? That’s where my weekly and daily goals come in handy. I know I am going to take a photo every day. That can seem daunting. When I really try to focus on a specific thing that week, it makes it easier. So I will set a goal for the week. Like, work on getting in the frame more this week. Then that week, I will really try to be in the frame in every image, or most of the images. That helps me work on my 365 while also working on my self portraits. I am no where near perfect in this category, hence the reason for my goal!

Other goals for the week could include…

  • focus on a certain color (example, yellow for the month of March)

  • work on your compositions

  • work on your side light

  • work on your back light

  • work on your self portraits or portraits

The list, literally, goes on and on. This really helps motivate me weekly to get my photo in for the day! I try to start out on Monday with what I want to photograph for the week in mind.

settings goals encourages success

Of course it does! You are working towards something. It doesn’t matter if the success is big or small, it’s still success. Did you complete one of your small goals? Mark it off and celebrate! Did you complete one of those big goals? Mark it off and DEFINITELY celebrate! When you set goals, write them down, and cross them off, no matter how little or big the goal is, that’s a success. And if you’re like me, you like crossing that goal off your list.

I am a total believer that goal setting will help you improve any aspect of your life, and not just photography. When I started this photography journey I didn’t set goals and it took me awhile to get to a certain point in my photography. I was taking snap shots for a long time. When I finally plunged and decided to learn manual mode from Clickin Moms, I learned the importance of goals. My photography quickly became what it is today, and it is still evolving into something even greater. Goals saved my photography. Literally.

So, go write some goals.

 

 

photography tips + tricks

My Favorite Time of Day to Photograph

When asking a photographer what their favorite time of day to photograph is, the usual response is “GOLDEN HOUR!”. I absolutely love the golden hour, and when I first started this photography adventure, that would have been my answer. No questions asked. The golden light that comes from golden hour is to die for. It was usually the only time I had available to photograph, due to working a full time job. But, after experimenting with light and learning how to use it a bit better, I’ve come to realize that golden hour is not my favorite time to shoot. I still love every shot I get from my golden hour sessions, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve come to love a different time of day. That time is from any where from 10am-12pm.

2017-03-13_0001Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8

I still find myself photographing mostly in the golden hour. But that is because I get home from work around that time. If I stayed home all day, I would definitely photograph more in the 10am-12pm slot. There are just so many different pictures you can get. And I feel I am most inspired around this time. Here are a couple of reasons why I love this time frame to photograph in. All images in this blog post were taken in that time frame.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8 or the Sigma 24 1.4.

2017-03-13_0002Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8

the light

I love the light that goes on in my home at this time. It inspires me a lot! I also tend to love this time in other people’s homes. The light inside is ideal. There are catchlights, pretty highlights, nice definition. I just love it and I am drawn to it. I can create depth from the light. I can add shadows or highlights, just by messing with blinds and curtains. There are also usually some pretty light shapes going on at this hour. I love the brightness this light can bring, but also the shadows I can get. This hour is especially good for natural light, which is mostly what I use in my images. I just turn off all artificial light in my home and watch as the light changes (and it changes so fast!). It always inspires me when I see light leaking in from the window at this hour!

2017-03-13_0003Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8

the comfort

I find photographing inside much more comfortable than outside. For one, it’s not hot or cold. You can be in your pjs for all anyone cares (been there, done that). And you don’t have to wait for that perfect light like when shooting at the golden hour. You can sit back, watch some tv, and just observe the light, and then once you are inspired by it, photograph it. Then you can go back to your tv watching! I just love this time of day because it’s easy and comfortable. This could definitely be the lazy side of me, but I will admit first hand that I prefer comfort over almost anything. Plus I find this time to be best for indoor sessions with clients. The clients are usually awake, but relaxed. They haven’t had a long day yet. The kids aren’t completely crazy yet. They’re comfortable at this hour.

2017-03-13_0004Taken with the Sigma 24 1.4

sunny or overcast – it doesn’t matter

This time of day is great on a sunny day or an overcast day. Yes. That’s right. It really don’t matter what the weather looks like. The light will either be soft and creamy, or slightly harsher. You can even photograph this time of day outside (I prefer overcast for that). I can’t seem to find a limit to this time. Outside, inside, sunny, overcast, cloudy, it doesn’t matter! You can still make beautiful images at this time of day no matter what. And for me, that means that this time beats the beautiful golden hour any day.

If you don’t normally photograph at this time of day, go do it right now. I’m serious. Go experiment with this time of day! It’s fun. The light is awesome. The subjects aren’t tired, they’re usually comfortable, and it doesn’t matter what the weather is like!

What is your favorite time of day to photograph? I’d love to hear all about it.

photography tips + tricks

5 Tips for Photographing Pets

I find time after time photographers have a hard time photographing their furry friends. I don’t have children (yet! Little guy is on the way!) so I’ve had to practice on my dogs. Photographing dogs has it’s challenges. For one, they are constantly moving (I’ve heard this is true for toddlers, but I wouldn’t know!). For another, they have long noses. Which makes getting their whole face in focus difficult.

Want some inspiration on dog photographs? Check out my dog project I did all throughout 2016.

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Dogs can be so fun to photograph. They are so honest and they show you exactly how they feel. If they’re bored with you, it shows. If you try and use a treat (which I very rarely do), it shows. They give that camera an ‘ok I’m looking at the treat’ look. It’s totally obvious. But there are ways around this. I think the number one tip I can actually give is to let them warm up to your camera first. I get so many outtakes of my dogs because they like to come see what my camera is. I let them sniff it, I let them look at it. Whatever makes them comfortable. After a little while, they walk away and do their own thing. And now when I pull out my camera, they don’t even care. The tips below will hopefully get you on the right path to start photographing your dogs honestly, and move away from the posed shots.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

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1. photograph them playing

There’s nothing more honest than a dog playing. They LOVE playing. They love playing with each other, they love playing with people, they even love playing by themselves. Photograph them doing it! Let them first warm up to the camera, and then just wait. They’ll start chewing on that stick again. They’ll start rolling in the grass. They want to do what’s fun most of the time. Let them do it. Make sure you have a high shutter speed. The lowest I ever go on my dogs is 1/200. Any lower than that and I sometimes get blurry images. Playing or being still, I try to make my shutter speed at least 1/200.

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2. be patient

If you can be patient, you can get any shot of your dogs. Simple as that. I sometimes find that when I try to photograph them the way I want them to be photographed (in a certain pose, doing something, etc.) that I just have to patient and they will do it themselves. I sometimes find the prettiest light that I want to photograph them in. I lure them to the location, tell them to sit, and then just watch and wait to see what they will do in the pretty light. Most of the time, they end up laying down and relaxing. Completely being themselves. Sometimes, they just walk away, and play somewhere else. And I’m OK with that. I don’t want to force them to do anything. But by being patient, I usually get the shot I am after. It usually takes a while, but I think it’s worth it.

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3. photograph them with you

I think just like getting in the frames with your children, it’s important to get in the frames with your dogs. They are definitely part of the family, and I know you want to remember them later on. I sometimes have my feet in images, I sometimes have pictures of my kissing on them. I have pictures of us playing together, because I do a lot of that during the week. In the image above, I was trying to get some pictures of my baby bump, and my dog wouldn’t leave me alone. So I played with her. There are so many different ways to get in the frame with your dog. Pick up the little ones. Sit down with the big ones. Show your feet and their heads. Just get in the frame with them. It might be fun!

4. use creative comps

You don’t always have to get their faces in the image. I often times like to photograph just their paws. Their tails. I try to mix it up. I get their whole body in the image, just their face, or just their paws or tail. There are so many different comps and angles you can use when photographing dogs, just like in humans. Try something different and I know you’ll love the outcome. Your photos will start to look natural.

5. let them be themselves

I’ve mentioned this above, but I cannot stress it enough. Let them be themselves! Don’t force them to sit. Don’t force them to look at the camera. Don’t force them to do anything. Let them be themselves. They do the cutest things all by themselves. Just watch them and photograph them. They are very honest creatures. And when I say that, I mean, they show all emotion. If they are bored, they show it. If they want that treat you’re using to bribe them to stay still, they’ll show it on their face. If they don’t want to sit in that pretty light for you, they’ll move. Photograph them being them, and you’ll always love the photos you come up with. I promise.

What are some ways you photograph your dogs? Do you get in the frame with them? I’d love to know!

photography tips + tricks

3 Tips to Using Window Light

I love window light. I use it all the time. I use it at different times of day, too. I use it on overcast days and sunny days. There are many different ways to use window light. I love how different the light can look from the same window. I only have one window in my small apartment, and then my doors have windows on them. That’s it. But I am able to use them for different effects.

Have a small apartment but feeling uninspired? Here are tips to photographing in a small space.

2017-02-25_0013Taken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

1. use the window for side light

I love side light. I use it often. It creates shadows on the face that really make the deminision of the face pop. It creates a 3D effect to your images, which is sought-after in the photography world. How you set up side lighting is by having your subject turn 45 degrees away from the window. Sometimes adding in a reflector or another window can help brighten the shadow side of the face some. Even though you are using natural light, you can still control how much light you really want.

2. control how much light you use

Which brings me to tip 2! No matter what type of light you are using, natural or artificial, you can control that light. When using window light, you can control it by blocking some of it with a blanket or blinds. Or you can add a reflector to help brighten the image some, there are really endless possibilities to creating the type of light when you want it.

2017-02-25_0014.jpgTaken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

3. look for catchlights

This is probably my go to tip. I always look for catchlights in my dogs eyes. If I see pretty catchlights (that is, a light in the eye) I stop what I am doing and run and get my camera! This can be applied to window light, too. If you are trying to find a good window that has great light, look for catchlights in your clients, kids, spouses, siblings, pets, etc. eyes. It has helped me find the right light, which eventually led to me being able to identify the kind of light I want to use.

What are some ways you photograph with window light? I’d love to hear!

photography tips + tricks

How to Take Pictures in a Small Space

If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably heard me complain about my tiny apartment. When I say tiny, I mean it. We basically live in something like a studio apartment (only except that sounds way more glamorous than what it actually is!). It has two rooms, the bedroom and the living room, separated by a half wall. The living room also has the kitchen in it, which is just a small strip on one side of the room. The walls are wood paneling. Yes. Like in a trailer home. I also have a nasty window unit, a ugly wall heater that doesn’t work (I attempted to hide it with my tv, but it’s still visible!), and a wall heater that does work (there is no hiding that one!). I like to call it vintage. There’s one window right next to the kitchen. Then my back doors are windows, and on that wall there is another very small window. That’s it as far as lighting goes in this place. Although I may seem like I complain about it a lot, I am very thankful for the time I have spent in my little apartment. I got serious with photography about two years ago and we have been living here for almost three. So, despite being small and not having very much light, this apartment has actually helped my photography. I’ve had to get creative with light source and how to use the little light I had available. I also had to get creative with how to use the small space that I had to get any type of image. I have a few tricks to get you inspired with a small space. This could be your own home or even a clients home. All you need is a little light and you can work any space.

Feeling uninspired because of all the rain or snow? Check out my tips to stay inspired during the winter months.

2017-02-24_0001Taken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

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All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and my Nikon 50mm 1.8 or the Sigma 24mm 1.4. All images were also taken inside my apartment that I described above.

use a wide angle lens

Having a wide angle lens like the Sigma 24mm 1.4 will not only help you with your settings, since it has that lovely aperture of f/1.4, but will also help you not feel so cramped in the small space. Sometimes with my Nikon 50mm 1.8, I feel like I can’t back up enough to get what I want in the picture. For in home sessions, I would recommend definitely having at least a 35mm or wider. A word of caution when using a wider angled lens on clients, make sure you leave enough room on either side for distortion help. Which you can fix in LR if it is extremely unnatural looking. I sometimes like to embrace the distortion, especially when I’m photographing my dogs. It’s a fun perspective. Another great thing about the Sigma (not sure if it applies to other wide angle lens) is that you can also get pretty close to your subject, and still have them in tack sharp focus, which helps you eliminate the background/distractions. This is sometimes helpful in small apartments or houses.

2017-02-24_0005Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

use windows to change your perspective

I can get so many different images with just one window. Even in my small apartment that has very little in the window department. If you find you come to a clients home and there is only one room with good light, but it’s small, you can totally work it and get different looks with just that one window. Not only can you use windows in your shot, but you can also use the windows for different lighting effects. I love using my window light to black out the background (because there are a lot of ugly things in my apartment that I’d rather not show!). Using light dramatically with the help of a window can really help eliminate distractions.

2017-02-24_0002Taken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

move furniture

If I wasn’t pregnant I would do this all the time. Sometimes my couch gets in the way of the pretty light, so either use the couch in your photos, or move it! I can get some nice reflections from my table if the light is right, but my table is up next to my wall and not very photogenic at the current location. I would move it and then photograph it! The same can go if you have a distracting piece of furniture that you don’t want in the background. Sure, you can always clone it out. But why take that extra time when you could just move it and take a few pictures, and then put it back where it belongs later? Sometimes I wait for my husband to get home to move it back for me. Totally an optional step!

2017-02-24_0004Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

focus on details

Instead of focusing on the big (little) picture of the apartment, focus on some details. Try macro, you can do macro ANYWHERE. It doesn’t have to be a big space at all! Try getting close to your subject to get rid of those distractions! The details of your everyday, of the place you are living right now might not seem important now, but they will when you leave! Get up close to your children, photograph their hair, eyes, little feet + hands. Endless possibilities when we focus on capturing the details. Even in a small space.

clean up before taking pictures

So, this one is something I don’t always do. But a small apartment can seem cluttered and dirty fast. Simplify where you want to take a picture real quick by picking up unnecessary things that don’t add to the story or point of the image. I am not suggesting you go crazy and clean your entire apartment (or your clients entire house!), but just be aware of what’s in your frame. I have gone into a client’s home before and moved things around so that the scene was simple. It just makes for a cleaner image. And less work when you’re processing your images!

go outside

Still feeling uninspired by the small space? There’s usually beautiful light outside, just take your client or your subject outside! I have done this countless times when the light just wasn’t bright enough inside. I have a car port right outside my door that gives some nice soft light. Even on an overcast day I can get some nice light in there. But first, try the tips above!

Do you live in a small space? Do you struggle when a client has a small space? What are some ways you go about photographing in a small space? I’d love to hear in the comments below.