Archive for the ‘natural light’ Category

 

Blue Mountains Photography Workshops

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

I recently had the pleasure of running a photography workshop at Wentworth Falls and Leura with a great couple, keen to advance their skills with the camera.

Julie booked the session as a Christmas present for her husband Mark. They take travel and family photos for their website www.havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Mark wanted to improve his landscape images and understand how to avoid the common issue of over or under-exposed images.

We talked about using the Rule of Thirds to help compose your shot. We also looked at using naturally occurring lines in the landscape to help draw the viewers eye into the shot.

Blue Mountains Photography  workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. How to shoot landscapes.

Blue Mountains Photography workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. This example uses the naturally occurring lines of the landscape to draw the viewer into the shot from foreground to background.

Another tip I gave Mark to help achieve correct exposure is to look for the brightest area of his (usually the clouds), expose for them and then ‘open up’ 2-3 stops from there. This method allowed him to use the inherent brightness range of his camera (5 stops) and keep his exposure within those limits.

Blue Mountains Photography  workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. How to shoot landscapes.

Blue Mountains Photography workshop at Flat Rock Wentworth Falls. Creative editing is another great tool for creating interesting landscapes using the Rule of Thirds principle.

Here is Mark, dwarfed by the amazing Blue Mountains vista.

blue mountains photography workshop

Mark enjoying the view.

I run regular group workshops and individual tutoring by appointment. If you or somebody you know would like to improve their photography skills and further enjoy your camera, get in touch by phone or email.

The Secret to Print Sizes for Your Wall

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

How to Size Your Family Portrait Photographs

Have you ever wondered what size you should print your enlargements?

It depends on a number of factors such as;

– resolution of your camera

– which room in the house you want to hang the image (living room, bedroom etc)

– how far away you will be from the image

Did you know that the viewing distance of an enlargement is best determined by the resolution of the image and the diagonal width of the print? Billboards usually have a resolution as low as 22ppi (pixels per inch) because they are viewed from such a vast distance.

Some photographers use the formula of 1.5 to 2 times the diagonal width to determine the viewing distance.

I was pleased to deliver this image last week. Shot at one of my favourite Blue Mountains locations, this order was a 48” framed print of this family from Epping standing at Flat Rock, Wentworth Falls. At 48” x 25” and 300ppi it has a diagonal distance of 54” meaning it would be best viewed at 2-2.7m away.

Think of that next time you are buying a new 80” tv. You would need to have your lounge at least 4 meters away from the screen to see it correctly!

Another formula for the resolution of the image is 3438 divided by the viewing distance.

So, to view this image from 3m (120″) away, I would divide 3438 by 120 to find the minimum resolution of the print as 29ppi. This is obviously very low res but as long as I wasn’t standing inside 3m from the image it would appear to be quite sharp and detailed.

What this all means is that your small mega-pixel camera need not prevent you from creating big enlargements, as long as the minimum viewing distance is not exceeded they will look sharp and detailed.

I’m not sure how practical that is but its worth giving some thought to I reckon.

family at Flat Rock, Wentworth Falls

Here is a link to a good discussion on print resolution and viewing distance.

Wedding Photography is a Seasonal Thing in the Blue Mountains

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Spring time in Sydney is ideal for getting married, and with the warm days and long afternoons its no wonder.

This is by far the most popular time for shooting weddings and the busiest time of the year for me. Over the last 6 weeks I have photographed some lovely and memorable weddings in Leura, Emu Plains and the beautiful Yarramundi House on the grounds of UWS Hawkesbury.

Each of these weddings was unique of course and I’d like to share some of my favourite images from each.

The first wedding was at Leura and the location was Leuralla open-air amphitheatre. This location is brilliant because of the stunning valley backdrop.

Leura amphitheatre makes a brilliant backdrop.

The happy couple arriving together.

Another shot of that valley just for the sake of it!

The reception venue was walking distance from the ceremony and shared the same valley view.

The second wedding was at the quaint little Uniting Church at Emu Plains. The service was very much a family affair with the grooms siblings performing the music, a friend delivering the vows and both parents joining the couple for a prayer at the end.

Here comes the bride. I love this shot!

The newlyweds leaving the church.

Don’t they look happy together!

Talk about upstaging the bride!

Speeches and toasting the couple.

Finally to the wedding of an old school friend of mine on his 40th birthday at the beautiful Yarramundi House at UWS Hawkesbury.

Congratulations Jason and Christina!

The girls preparing to walk down the red carpet.

A happy couple is easy to photograph.

Their daughters were flower girls and they did a great job.

The great location meant we were spoilt for choice when it came to backdrops.

 

Autumn Colours for your Outdoor Family Portrait

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Autumn in the Blue Mountains is a beautiful time for outdoor family portrait photography.

With the abundance of parks and gardens awash with the colours of Autumn leaves, the backdrops are stunning.

An outdoor family portrait photograph adds that extra special element of being out and amongst nature and more importantly enjoying that time with your family and allowing that joy to shine through the images.

This young family travelled up to the mid mountains to enjoy the early morning sun and Autumn colours for their photo shoot and we had a ball. Their 9 month old boy giggled and laughed and seemed to really enjoy all the attention he was getting from mum and dad.

I tried to incorporate the golden leaves and the morning sun in the shots as much as possible to give the images a nice warm feeling. The morning sun backlighting them really made the leaves glow and become a great feature of the images. This shoot was a nice way to start the day.

Family Portrait outdoors with Autumn colours

Darren Edwards is a professional family portrait photographer servicing the Blue Mountains and greater western Sydney region. With 20 years industry experience and the highest quality products and services your family portrait, newborn, corporate or fine art photograph is in good hands.

Click “Darren Edwards Photography” to see more images, “Commissions” to learn more about our products or “Contact” to make an appointment for your individual commission.

Timm Kölln – Photography

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Timm Kölln – Photography.

Timm Kolln combines two of my  greatest passions – photography and cycling.

I was lucky enough to receive his book The Peleton for Christmas last year and have thoroughly enjoyed the photographs and particularly the interviews with some of the world’s best bike riders.

Kolln’s book was a labour of love over a period of more than 5 years where he and an assistant carried around a white backdrop and captured simple but poignant post-race portraits. Some of the portraits were captured at the end of some the toughest classic one day races such as Paris-Roubaix, with dirt stained sweat painting the faces of the riders as evidence of their efforts and toil.

The text accompanying the images offers some interesting insights into the sport at professional level and the dreams and aspirations of its combatants.

As for me, I love to ride my bike, some of my greatest friendships have been forged through training, racing and competing against and alongside like-minded people. Its a tough sport at times but few things can rival the sense of comradeship after riding 100km over hill and dale with your mates, sharing a laugh, sprinting for speed signs and grinding to the peak of a climb.

Kolln’s books are beautiful, they can be enjoyed for their wonderful photography as much as for the specific subject matter.

The Setting Sun and Outdoor Family Portraits – Blue Mountains family, kids and pets portrait Photographer

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

It was a great relief to welcome the sun back last weekend after all the rain we’d had during the week.

This family portrait photo-shoot took place at one of my favourite parks in the Blue Mountains, its a great location for young families and as the evening approaches the sun sets and helps create beautiful light effects through the trees.

I like to shoot into the sun sometimes to give my subject that back-lit halo effect. I also really enjoy the way the sunlight refracts into streams of light through the leaves on the trees.

On most outdoor family portrait photo-shoots I find there is a 5-10 minute window of opportunity to achieve these back-lit shots as the sun sets, so it is rewarding to see the results in post-production.

I really like these shots, I believe they capture some of the essence of the relationship between these two young children. He was such a gentle older brother as he led his sister around the park and they nattered away to each other lost in their own conversation.

Darren Edwards Photography is a professional photographic studio based in the Blue Mountains and servicing the greater Sydney and central west region. With 20 years industry experience, outstanding products and value for money, your photographic commission is in good hands. 

Click on “Darren Edwards Photography” at the top of the page to see more images or “Contact” to make an enquiry.

Tips for Better Photos

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

I like to use outdoor locations for my portrait shoots as I believe it helps create a better working environment and therefore better images.

However it is not as simple as just going down to the local park with your camera and your kids and snapping away. I thought I’d share some tips on how to go about planning a successful photo-shoot.

The right time of day

Choosing the right time of day is a big consideration. This can depend on who you are photographing – whether it be your toddlers or your teenagers or even your partner or pet. Most toddlers “perform” best earlier in the day so might benefit from an early morning shoot.

The “golden hour” is just before sunset when the light conditions are generally considered best for producing wonderful atmosphere. While we would all like to have our photo-shoots at this time one needs to be a little flexible when it comes to youngsters.

Background

When I’m teaching others to use their camera one of the most important elements of composition I like to stress is background – background, background, background! There it is stressed.

Look for clean backgrounds for your shots. This can mean moving yourself or your subject to eliminate that tree branch poking up behind their head, or that telegraph pole or whatever element is going to distract the viewer from enjoying your composition.

Use foliage to frame or border your subject. Sometimes you can use a leafy branch or a tree trunk to create a frame around your subject. Branches and leaves can also make points of interest for your subject to look at or reach for.

If you are using the shade of a leafy tree you might bring your subject out the edge of the foliage and give yourself a nice deep, dark background by exposing for the subjects face and therefore under-exposing the shade under the tree.

Use foliage to frame your subject

Light

Be aware of dappled light falling through leaves on trees. Turning your subject to face away from the sun will prevent them having dappled spots of light and shade on their faces.

As the sun sets you can use the soft light much like a lamp or strobe light by positioning your subject relative to the light and giving them that golden glow from the sunset. Remember to look at where shadows are falling on the face to keep it sympathetic.

Advanced users might think about using a reflector or diffuser to further control the light outdoors.

Dress 

One of the most common questions I’m asked is what should we wear? Dress for the season is my best advice. Out in the park you can all wear jeans and a smart collared shirt. Toddlers look great in jeans and button-up shirts for the boys and long floral dresses for the girls. Most of all remember to wear something warm if the season dictates it. There is nothing worse than having your subject all hunched up and shivering because they haven’t worn warm clothes.

Camera settings

Set a shallow depth of field with a low aperture to help isolate your subject from the background. Not only does this create a blurry background it can help “clean-up” that background. Remember how important background is?

Keep your shutter speed high enough to stop the action. Kids like to wriggle and run around so you’ll need a fast enough shutter speed to capture that movement without your shot looking blurry or out of focus.

Shallow depth of field can isolate your subject from the background

Make an event of it

Take a picnic with you! Try to make the visit to the park about having fun with your family not just about having some photos taken. If you put too much emphasis on the event and the photos this can often lead to disappointment when you struggle to get “that shot” you have in mind.

Your photography should be about enjoying your craft or hobby, so if you don’t get the shot you want today, you can always come back next week and when you do come back you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you earned the first time.