Hi! I'm Jen Lebo. I'm here to help you with all things
photography! Life is more beautiful when you share it, so let's
connect and grow together!
Two of my last three blog posts were about photography, specifically lighting. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about composition. No, not every blog post will be about photography. I do love geeking out on all things involving a camera, but there are other things to talk about, and talk about them we will.
However, today let me share with you a few simple tips on how to improve your everyday photos with composition.
Simply put, composition is the placement of objects and elements in a work of art. So how you decide to compose your photo can mean the difference between a throwaway snapshot and a beautiful portrait. There are a lot of tips out there when it comes to composition. Today I’m going to share five simple ones.
Who or what is your subject? What do you want your viewer focused on? One of the best ways to take the guesswork out of this is to get closer to your subject. Let her fill up your frame. I often tell myself to get close enough to feel like I’m too close. Then get a little closer. Leave no room for question. Let your subject take over.
It is often the case when people are in photographs together that they are uncomfortable with getting too close. But the closer they are, the sweeter the image. So tell them what I just told you. Get them close enough to feel like they are too close. Them get them closer. Have them hug. Get them cheek to cheek. Having them feel this close will sometimes even get them laughing over it, which just adds to a nicely composed portrait. So get them closer.
Another great way to compose you portrait is with plenty of negative space. Negative space is the area which surrounds your subject (your subject being the positive space). While filling your frame with your subject is one way to compose, allowing for negative space is another way. Having both positive and negative space in your image creates a nice balance. And if the negative space is truly that (empty), you evoke stronger contrast between it and your subject. This is one time where bringing in some negativity is a good thing.
Rarely would I advise you to stoop down to your children’s level, but this is one of those times when it’s a great idea. I’m speaking literally here. Get down on the ground. Squat down or sit down with them. Get eye to eye and go into their world. Rather than getting a photo from your perspective, you’ll be suddenly getting a portrait from their perspective. And perspective can be a game changer.
This one might apply to life in general with kids. Don’t fake it. Be real with them. If you want them to smile, don’t tell them to say cheese. Do something to make them smile. Often enough, all that takes is a simple smile yourself. Make them laugh by being funny, or by laughing for them. Laughter, as we all know, is contagious! Get thoughtful expressions by asking them questions that make them stop and think. Engage with them, whoever they are. The more you engage with your subject, the more genuine you are with them, the more genuine the expressions you’ll evoke from them. Perhaps this is a rule for composing life. Be real.
Hello and happy Monday! I've got another momtography tip for you today, and it's a great one for summer!
I'm not sure about the rest of you, but the sun is looming large and wonderfully here in our beautiful Rocky Mountain State, and so today's tip is about embracing that sun and playing with it a little bit.
Today I'm going to talk with you about backlighting.
Simply put, backlighting is when your light source (the sun in this case) is actually behind your subject and you are shooting into that light. It can be tricky, but it's fun to play around with, and you can capture some soft and stunning images this way.
A few simple tips to help you on your way to backlighting.
I know that not all of you own fancy photographer's reflectors, and that's ok. I've used white poster board, or even just my white shirt. If I know I'm going to try backlighting and won't have an actual reflector (or someone else to hold one), I make sure to wear white. Even that will help to reflect some of the light behind your subject onto her face.
When you are trying to backlight, your camera will want to expose for the scene behind your subject, especially if you are shooting with your phone or on automatic. What will happen then, is that you'll have a lovely sky and a dark, underexposed subject. Not what you want for a portrait. So make sure you expose for her. On your phone or on auto, that means making sure that red square that lights up is on her face, not the sky. You'll overexpose the sky and background a bit, but your subject will be nicely lit.
Backlighting is not easy, but it's worth trying out. Don't get discouraged if you struggle at first. You might underexpose your subject, or completely blow out the entire shot. So what? That's the fun of digital photography! We're not wasting film anymore, so you can practice until you understand it better.
Backlighting offers a completely different look to the typical front lit images. Rather than deep contrasts, you'll have a much softer image, where your lines almost blur. It's not easy, but it can be a lot of fun.
Try your hand at backlighting today. And then keep trying. You'll love it!
It goes one of two ways. You've just returned home from the most fantastic family vacation and you can't wait to share your images with the world (gotta love Facebook!). So you post some pics from that day you spent at Niagra Falls. Or Fenway Park. Or The Field of Dreams. And you get one of two responses.
Either people say "Wow, great photo of your kids there, but where is that?", because you went for the cute faces and so lost the entire landmark.
Or, you remembered to actually include the landmark, and so people comment with, "Wow, how cool that you went to Fenway Park, but which of the tiny heads are your kids?" You got the giant sign or feature, but lost the kids in the process.
There's an easy solution to this, but bear with me that my visuals will have more to do with soccer fields and athletic equipment because that's about the only way I can get my model to cooperate for me. You'll get the idea, though.
In the first image, you can see that I went for my son's portrait and in the process, I missed the entire landmark, which here is the soccer net. It's actually necessary for the shot because without it, he's just a kid standing here with a soccer ball. There is no story. No "landmark". No point to the image.
Now in the shot below, I remembered to shoot the "landmark", but in the process I shrunk my kid and he's an insignificant part of the photo now. It's no longer a portrait of my son in his happy place. It's just a photo of a giant soccer net, with a kid standing in front. No impact. No story. No power.
The solution to this is super simple.
Move yourself and your subject away from the landmark! Back away from sign of Fenway Park, or from the baseball park at The Field of Dreams. Keep your subject close to you and the landmark farther away. Then shoot the subject with the full landmark in the shot far behind him. Now you're creating a story with your image. Now you've got a portrait of your fabulous kids with the significant environment included. Now your comments will just be "Wow!"
Super simple tip, but super effective!
Remember this the next time you find yourself somewhere significant and want to capture a portrait of your loves there.
Happy summer vacationing!
Hi Momtographers! How's summer going? Have you been taking your camera with you everywhere? Capturing summer moments of your family? Need some help?
Well, first CLICK HERE for my post on Ten Must-Have Kid Pics for summer!
Or CLICK HERE for my Momtography Mini Workbook!
Today I want to share with you one simple question to always ask yourself when taking photos.
Where is the horizon?
It's important to keep your horizon out of the center of your frame. Put it in the center, and your viewer won't know what she's looking at. Is this image of a beautiful sky? Or of a beautiful landscape? Where should my attention be?
Now this might seem simple enough, but keep in mind that sometimes images have different horizons. Like the image below. Is the horizon at the top of the mountains, where mountains meet sky? Or is it where the grass meets the dunes? Hmm… tough one.
Simple solution… keep them both away from the center of your photo.
Decide early on where you want all eyes to go. Most times it's easy to tell. The sky will stand out, or the sunset. Or perhaps the gorgeous mountains, or a tranquil lake. Wherever it is that you want eyes going, make that the majority of your image. If it's sky, then make the ground 1/3 of your image (remember the rule of thirds?). If it's your landscape, then your sky should just be 1/3 of your image.
But what to do when faces are in the photo? After all, this blog post is pretty much always about the beautiful faces that you want to photograph!
Well, just remember the horizon, even when you're shooting portraits. Take an extra second to make sure your horizon doesn't land right along the center of your photo and your portrait will be even more captivating.
Simple composition tips can go a long way. Just remember to always ask yourself, "Where is my horizon?"
On Monday, I mentioned the chaos of this past month. I'm betting that many of you are experiencing that same chaos. Graduation celebrations are looming, the last day of school is drawing near for our little ones, and summer is on the horizon. It's a crazy wonderful time.
And a busy one!
So today, I'm slacking again. But even though I have no new thoughts for you today, I did want to treat you to some "oldies but goodies". For you today, I've got my Top Five Blog Posts on Photography. If you've never read them, here's your chance. And if you already have, go back and check them out again. Like I said, summer is looming and it's time to bring out those cameras!
Hope these Five Fave Blog Posts have sparked a desire in all of you to get out and get shooting! Did I miss any favorite blog post of yours? Let me know! I'd love to share more!