4 Ways to Capture Spring

4 Ways to Capture Spring

I was born in spring time and it is my favorite time of the year. I love all the colors that come out, the nice weather, the walks, the zoo trips, the flowers. I just love spring. And it can be very fun to capture! I love trying to capture all the beautiful flowers that bloom. It can be a nice relief and therapeutic to try and capture something that’s not your regular subject. If flowers are your regular subject, you’re probably a complete pro at capturing spring and don’t need my help!

I always feel quite inspired in the spring time (although, I do find my most inspired in the winter time!).

Aly Dawn Photography 4 Ways to Capture Spring

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. Don’t forget to use it as a compositional tool. A green landscape with a pop of pink in the shirt – that can be so intriguing! Use color to your advantage. The blooms are so beautiful, they look GREAT as backdrops!!

Aly Dawn Photography 4 Ways to Capture Spring


2. capture the light

Ahh beautiful spring light. You’ve been in the dark because, well, winter. But now that spring is here, the light is here, also! So if it’s sunny out, grab your camera and go for a walk!

tips on capturing light

  • Use backlighting as often as possible. This will give a nice glow to your background. Backlit flowers are gorgeous.
  • Find open shade if you go out in the middle of the day.
  • Embrace the full sun by shooting with a wider lens and angle. Get the whole scene in the shot. OR put the sun behind your subject and try at silhouettes.

Spring is literally full of gorgeous light. I’d say it’s probably my favorite sun light out of all the seasons! Don’t let it pass you by. Take full advantage of it. Let it warm you photos. Take a walk in the morning, at noon, then right before the sun goes down. See how the different time of day effects your light and your images. Have fun! It gets addicting!

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. Try capturing the little critters that come out (I have yet to be brave enough to do this … I may need some tips on capturing critters!) in the spring time. Plants provide a ton of little details for you to capture. From little buds, to the lines of a leaf, to the rain drops on a flower. You could even capture your kids and their details, the curls of their hair, the tiny little hands holding one of those critters mentioned above, get up close and personal to everything. Try different angles for each detail.


4. use the weather to your advantage

There’s going to be rain, am I right? Spring is full of rain. So embrace it. Water droplets give your flower images texture. They provide interest. They make something sparkle. Water droplets are so fun to play with, especially in macro photography. I even go so far as to bringing my own spray bottle with me to spray the flowers. It doesn’t hurt them! But, seriously, just wait a day or two and mother nature will give you a rain shower. 😉

Clouds and storms can also be really fun to capture. Think lightening. I have always wanted to capture a lightening storm. I stumbled upon a great tutorial that I would love to share with you. If you go out and take lightening pictures or storm pictures, please share them with me!

don’t forget portraits

But, wait! Portraits in the spring can be a powerful variety to your portfolio. The flowers make excellent back drops! Or you could get creative and shoot through flowers to get a beautiful portrait. I mean, come on spring, can you get any more gorgeous?!

What are some of your favorite things to photograph in the spring and why? I would love to know! Drop me a comment below!

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

3 Tips to Using Window Light

3 Tips to Using Window Light

Updated 6/22/2019

I love window light. If you gave me the option to photograph at golden hour forever, or use window light, I would definitely pick the window light any day! I love the shadows, the catchlights, everything about window light! And hopefully I can convince you that it’s a great way to take pictures.

I wanted to mention that I don’t have a big space or big beautiful windows, yet I’m able to produce some stunning images. You don’t have to have a big beautiful home to get big beautiful images. Take pictures of your life now.

Window light is one of my favorite types of photography lighting.

There’s really so much you can do with just one tiny window.

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

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

3 Tips to Capture Window Light

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 dimension 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.

I really love the beautiful light that happens when you use side light, it creates such beautiful shadows and light play on your subject.

2. use window light creatively

I love looking for ways that I can get creative light with a window! One of my favorite ways is to get sunflare in my shots. To do this, it has to be a sunny day outside and usually around golden hour that you’ll get the best sunflares.

Pro tip: look for hot spots on your carpet. Position yourself near these hot spots and move your camera around until you can see the sunlight streaming in. Lower your camera or raise it if you need to let in more or less light.

I also recommend shooting sunflares with f/5 or higher to get those nice rays! I also recommend to slightly underexpose your shot just a little.

The Best Photography Lighting: 3 Tips to Capture Window Light

3. look for catchlights in your subjects

Catchlights are a great tool to use when using window light. What are catchlights? They are the little lights you see in your subjects eyes. They give your subject life and makes your images pop just a little more.

Pro tip: Just because there is catchlights, doesn’t necessarily mean the light is good. But as a general rule, I like to look for catchlights in my subjects eyes.

If there aren’t catchlights in the eyes, I usually focus on something else, like the details. If you are looking to get catchlights in your subjects and you’re not seeing them, have your subject look directly toward the light. Playing around with head and eye placement until you see a light in their eyes.

Thank you for stopping by!

How to Take Pictures in a Small Space

How to Take Pictures in a Small Space

Updated 6/14/2019

I’ve lived in a small apartment for the past five years. My first apartment was really tiny (think 600 square feet) and had ugly carpet and only about 3 small windows with some window doors (but those doors didn’t let in a lot of light).

My apartment now is much bigger (around 970 square feet) and has more windows, but still not as much as my photographers heart desires. 😉 That being said, I have taken some of my favorite images in this apartment. And I can still use the light to get the images the way I want them.

So, I’m a firm believer you can make any space work for you. It might take practice and patience, but you will get the images you want with a little bit of creativity.

New to my blog? Check out my top 9 photography tips for moms.

use a wide angle lens

This is probably my number one, most important tip for this entire blog post. Having a wide angle lens (remember, the lower the number means the wider the angle, shoot for at least 35mm or wider) will help create an illusion of a bigger space.

Don’t believe me? Test it out. Take a shot of your small space with a 50mm or longer focal length, and then take a shot of your small space with a 35mm or wider focal length. Does it appear as though there is more space with the wider lens?

I use my Sigma 24mm 1.4 ART lens 97% of the time in my small apartment. I very rarely will pull out any other lens.

use windows to change your perspective

I can get so many different images with just one window. Even in my small apartment. The following photos were taken using the same window, I just changed my perspective of the scene. (Please note, these images were taken on different days at different time of the days).

How to Take Pictures in a Small Space
How to Take Pictures in a Small Space

I have a lot more examples from just this one window. By changing your perspective, you can get so many different images in just one small space. And the space above me is really small. On one side, there’s the refrigerator, and on the other side is our washer and dryer. It really is about the length of a toddler to lay there. But the light there is some of my favorite, so I photograph there often and try to mix up my perspective.

How to Take Pictures in a Small Space

move furniture

Moving furniture can leave you with some more open space. I don’t do this often, but if I’m ever really wanting a certain picture, I will move the furniture around to get it.

You could also take this a step further and even change the sheets on the bed for a different look. Changing the way the space looks could give you new motivation and inspiration to shoot.

How to Take Pictures in a Small Space

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.

The above image was taken in my tiny kitchen. Since I focused on the details, though, you can’t tell where it was taken, or that it was a small space.

clean up before taking pictures

I feel like a repeating record here haha! But, seriously, I can’t stress enough how important it is to clean up before taking a picture. You images will look so much put together and will look more purposeful. Of course, there are a few times where you might want to keep the chaos of a mess, and in those cases, by all means, keep the mess. But, I find I like my images better when they are cleaned and tidy.

I literally don’t have a clean house everyday, so don’t feel like you have to keep the entire house clean in order to get good pictures. Noooooo, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying, if you take a picture and notice that the scene isn’t clean, then just tidy up that little section really quick before you snap more pictures. Be aware about what’s in your frame.


focus on the people

Focus on the people in the scene. Get close. Crop in. Whatever you have to do to make the subject obvious. I love focusing on the people and trying to make my scene as simple as possible. This helps my viewers know who the subject is and where their eyes should go. It helps get rid of any distractions, too!