Archives for posts with tag: lighting


Fall is the perfect time to take gorgeous senior portraits. Nature provides a stunning backdrop and natural lighting is more subdued due to the lowered angle of the sun. Another advantage is the abundance of props, such as leaves to add personality to the shot.



I set my F stop low for a nice blurry backdrop of color and set my white balance on cloudy when I initially took the shots. However, in post production, I changed the white balance to shade to add a little more gold to the pictures.



This senior not only wanted outdoor shots, but some of her in volleyball uniform as well. These were a bit tougher because they were taken in a dark gym. With the help of a tripod and remote shutter release, we were able to shine a flashlight on her during a long exposure to get good coverage of light.

I really love the way these shots turned out. The subject was very photogenic and had the most beautiful complexion. I did no post production work on her skin at all.

I have begun pinning ideas for winter portraits, because the leaves are all off the trees now and snow is in the forecast for next week. I plan on shooting those in a completely different group of settings. Can’t wait. 😊


I took these pictures of agate slices several years ago and decided I wanted to make them into wall art. I thought they needed to be punched up a bit, though, so I applied a little HDR effect to each one. In my last post, I compared the difference between a regularly processed shot and the same individual shot processed in HDR. I have done the same thing here with the agate pictures, processing only one shot.







All of these were shot using natural window light from behind. I propped them in a window, placed my camera on a tripod and pulled in close for a lot of detail.

Experiment, always 🙂


Canon Powershot, F/4, ISO 800, 1/250 sec.

Shooting into the light source is tricky for photographers, but when done at the right time and from the right angle, it can produce some spectacular effects. The photo above was taken close to sundown and the sun is barely peeking out from behind a tree.


Canon Powershot, F/4, ISO 800, 1/250 sec.

This shot, taken moments later, shows the reflection of the sun on the water.


Canon Powershot, F/8, ISO 800, 1/250 sec.

This photo was also taken close to sunset. I was surprised to see some lovely lens flare in this shot.

For more information about light leaks, see this post.

Have fun 🙂


Canon Powershot SX 50, ISO 100, F/4, 1/2 sec.

I shot this from the passenger seat one night in downtown Lexington. Since the shutter stayed open for 1/2 second, and I was holding the camera and we were moving, the shot is slightly blurry. It looked okay, but I decided to apply the pallet knife filter in Photoshop and it brought out some more light flecks. It also makes the shot look more like a painting. The point I am trying to make is that even if you don’t have all the “proper” equipment with you, take the shot. You might really like what you get.

IMG_2580Photographing food is very popular these days. Every recipe that is posted on the web is illustrated with beautiful shots of the food before, during and after preparation. Food photography is more simple than some other types of photography, because you control the light and the subject is not moving, therefore you can set up the shot, mount your camera on a tripod, and attach a remote shutter release.

IMG_2576The trick is to set your ISO at 100 for the best quality photo possible; and your F-stop at around 5.6, so that all the food is in focus. From there, the amount of shutter speed is variable. If you set your camera on aperture priority, the shutter will stay open as long as needed for the amount of light. For the shots above, the shutter was opening around 1/5 sec, way too long to hand hold the camera.

IMG_2578No fancy set up was used for this shot. The strawberries were washed and some put into a bowl. The rest were placed beside the bowl on a dishtowel. I left the stems on some of them because they add leading lines to the photo. The shot was done on the kitchen counter lit by the under counter fluorescent lights. During the 1/5 second time the shutter was open, I quickly spot lit a couple of areas to reduce shadows. The white balance was set on the fluorescent setting.


Summer is a great time to get out and take a lot of pictures. However, the harsh sunlight during the summer months can leave your images burned-out in some spots and heavily shadowed in others. The best times to shoot landscapes on a sunny day are shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset. Golden hour, which is the proper photographic term for the time, is technically not limited to an hour. Some days it is longer and other days, shorter. As a photographer, it is your job to determine when the light is the best. My advice is to take a lot of shots on several different exposure settings. Shoot with the light at your back or side, so that your subject is well lit.
The landscape above was shot with my smartphone around 8 a.m. The only adjustment I made was a slight boost in the contrast.
I plan to do an entire post soon on golden hour portraits.
I also plan on doing something special with those pesky, prickly pretties in the foreground on my gardening blog .
Stayed tuned 🙂


Why is it that every time you see an HDR photo, it’s always a landscape? For a Christmas exhibit I participated in this month, I decided to try HDR photography on close-up stills.


It worked great! I simply set up the stills, mounted my camera on a tripod, screwed on my Promaster close-up filter set and plugged in my remote shutter release.


I set my Canon on auto exposure bracketing (AEB) in order to get the three shots I needed for HDR processing. Since I had the ISO set at 100 for maximum quality and the camera set on AV at 5.6, the shutter speed was pretty slow.


I used a light box for most of the shots with filtered light illuminating the entire box. For the shot above, though, I laid the lights on a reflective surface and had no other light. The shutter was very slow for this one. Turned out good though.


The three shots were then processed in my trusty Photomatix program and cropped in Photoshop Elements 12.

HDR photography does make great landscapes, but that’s only the surface. My next project, HDR portraits.

If you photograph a lot of objects that you want distraction free and well lit, you might want to purchase a light tent.


I purchased this one last week. It is a cube that opens on one side that can be covered by a curtain. The curtain has a slit through which you insert your camera lens.


Mine came with several different colored inserts that fasten to the inside on the cube. Lights directed through the nylon shell of the tent are diffused, giving your subject rich illumination.
Here are a couple of stills I created and shot in the tent with the black backdrop. These were shot with only one light on the right side.



A few weekends ago, Cynthiana, Kentucky held its annual Rod Run. A huge car show that lines the streets of my small hometown with hundreds of antique cars, trucks and motorcycles. Car shows are a great place to practice your photography skills.


A lot of the cars will have their hoods raised so that everyone can see the engine. I liked the way this car, with its open dual hoods, looked against the building in the background and the sky. I don’t take a lot of shots of whole vehicles. I prefer to focus in on details of the cars.

IMG_3355Of course, the vehicles are polished to a high shine. Instead of fighting the reflection, use it to your advantage to give the cars a little added decoration.


Not all the vehicles at the show were old. Occasionally, there were new and old sharing the spotlight.


Most antique car collectors have original license plates they put on the vehicle for the show. When the show is over, if they have to drive the vehicle away, they replace the show plate with a legal one.


This seafoam green truck was parked outside the Cynthiana Museum. It could have been an exhibit. I’m sure trucks like this once traveled the streets of Cynthiana regularly.


Maybe it’s just me, but car fronts always remind me of faces, especially this one.


These cars were parked beneath a mural that hangs on the old Rohs Theater building.

IMG_3342Be sure to not only photograph the sleek and gorgeous, but the quirky as well. This bug was rebuilt inside and out using recycled parts from other things. I was very impressed this this one.


As I mentioned earlier, car owners like to show off their engines.


IMG_3380There are plenty of bright colors at car shows. If it is a really sunny day, use a polarizer to cut down on glare and really bring out those colors.





I like this reflective shot in the rim of an old Chevy.


IMG_3412Details, details.



One last shot. I call it Self Portrait in Chrome with Clouds 🙂

IMG_1790 IMG_1781IMG_1787Stained glass has always been one of my favorite types of artwork. These are some details of larger pieces in the sanctuary of Indian Creek Christian Church in Cynthiana.   They were taken on AV setting at F8. There was plenty of light, so my shutter speed was fairly fast. The windows are quite tall, so for some of them I held the camera up above my head and pushed the shutter. Some of them turned out great…some not so much. Thank goodness for digital. 🙂 IMG_1791IMG_1786IMG_1783IMG_1784

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