Fall in love with photography
Four things to practice this season
By Kayla Stitt, Contributor
As someone who likes to pretend they know how to take good photos, I thought I would subject you all to reading my spiel. I do not claim to be an expert but I do have some advice to offer when it comes to getting a decent shot, especially if you’re just starting out in photography. With the leaves changing and winter fast approaching, I find it fitting to focus this article around all things autumnal. Here are four things you can practice this pumpkin spice season to up your photography game.
Regardless of what season it may be, lighting is one of — if not the most important — thing to focus on when taking photos. Lighting affects the colours, mood and overall presentation of every image.
Yes, there are apps you can download that can easily boost your lighting effects, but there is nothing more satisfying than getting a perfectly lit, raw image right off the bat. When deciding what you want your photos to look like, it is crucial that you find the time of day and weather conditions that best suit your vision.
Personally, I like to shoot Fall photos in the few hours just before sundown. I find that the sun is close enough to the horizon that it will touch the subjects of your piece in a way that makes them almost golden, which causes the natural Fall hues of the landscape to pop. If you are instagram savvy, you may refer to this time of day as ‘golden hour’ which is actually quite fitting.
Rather than using natural lighting for the perfect selfie, point your lens in the opposite direction and play around with different subjects and watch how the light dances around in your field of view.
Colour & Contrast
Pumpkins are orange, ghosts say boo, here are a few colour tips for you.
The work is almost done for us when it comes to capturing autumnal colours on camera because of the vibrancy of the season. Our job is to capture it effectively.
Depending on the mood you want to set, you can choose the colours you include in a photo. I personally tend to lean towards a spooky approach for Fall photos and often find myself seeking out the traditional Halloween-esque oranges and blacks. When scrolling through Pinterest for photography inspiration, I’ve come across a lot of plaid flannels and wool hats in the forest. Although I love a classic flannel forest photoshoot, I find it is extremely overdone. I prefer to have my subjects wear dark colours so that they appear to stand out against the brighter hues of nature around them.
Contrast is huge when it comes to any photograph and in Fall, it’s no different. Including an outstanding differentiation of colour in a photograph to guide a viewer’s focus and attention. It allows the photographer to control what the audience notices first and what they notice last.
Although this may be obvious to some, the best place to capture the perfect Autumn photo is outside. Calgary has so many wonderful outdoor parks and facilities to take advantage of during this ghoulish season. My top three favourite outdoor shooting locations in the city are Glenmore Reservoir, Fish Creek Provincial Park and Prince’s Island Park, respectively.
Glenmore Reservoir is the right place for you if you prefer your photos to have openness in the landscape. The body of water offers a sense of freedom and depth which is an interesting aspect to include in landscape photography.
Fish Creek is a more closed off, forested area where the trees huddle together to paint a colourful, tightly knit backdrop for any type of photo. Prince’s Island is an often bustling downtown park setting which offers both nature and public art.
All three areas have the potential to inspire captivating Fall photographs as long as you have an eye for uniqueness in otherwise regularly photographed locations. No matter where you are, be open to creativity and risk-taking when capturing photos. Do not be afraid to take photos of things others may not find beautiful and make them your own. After all, you’re the one with a camera in your hand.
Although nature and landscape photography is a passion of mine, I am always open to new ideas. I find Fall is an opportune time to break habits and experiment with different genres of photography. There are so many ways to utilize the natural resources provided to us during this very picturesque time of year.
No matter what you are pointing your lens at, be sure to pay attention to the finer details. When shooting leaves, I find it is effective to have the veins be a focus of the photo. The array of lines and direction gives the audience a lot to observe in a single capture. When taking portraits I find movement to be fun to work with because there are so many ways in which you can have a subject behave in order to find the flow you are looking for.
My advice is to plan ahead of time, but to be open to a change of direction. I often find myself with a specific vision in my mind that I hope to capture and I tend to plan around that one idea.
The most important thing to keep in mind when taking photos is that they will never look exactly how you intend. You cannot let this discourage you, but let it rather inspire you to form new visions and work with what you have.
So snag your favourite Fall-flavoured beverage, find the perfect venue and make your Instagram feed the talk of the town, until Halloween of course.