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Spring is finally here. By the time you catch these early signs of spring, everything will be in full bloom seemingly overnight. Use these beginner’s photography tips to hone your craft while coming away with some awesome shots this spring:
Spring is a season of life for plants, animals and humans alike. The easiest and least technical approach to taking great spring photos is to find life and capture it. That’s a pretty vague statement, so here are a few pointers for capturing spring’s lively nature:
Look for details – In spring you want to capture images that make people further appreciate life outside. They see the colors and they feel alive, but they might not process the details the way you can with your camera. Your job is to help them see the little things they love about this time of year.
Get close – Bring the details out of your subject either by zooming in on it, getting closer to it or both.
Increase your aperture – Hyper-focus your subject and its details by increasing your aperture (making the F-number smaller), to create a fuzzy background.
Be colorful – This one is obvious, almost cliché…but spring foliage is colorful, as are spring sunsets. Find shots that capitalize on those bright colors.
Find some animals – Plants get a lot of hype in spring photography, and with good reason. Animals are springing to life too, though. We’re talking about clearly comfortable squirrels…Chirping birds…Dogs without sweaters…Bugs; yeah, find some bugs (pretty bugs, not roaches)…Even bears in the woods, or coyotes on the prairie.
Natural Light is Your Friend
Time of day, camera direction and weather all influence how natural light renders a subject. Shadows from natural light alone can make a photo look stunning and really set the mood of your photo. Also consider the fact that cloud or tree cover can act as a diffuser and produce a consistent light source without direct sunlight.
Use backlight to illuminate flower petals and add dimension to your shot. As always, only use flash fittingly and moderately; otherwise you’ll end up with harsh shadows and overexposure.
Go Outside After the Rain
Spring comes with showers. After it rains, find skies with interesting cloud detail rather than the traditional uninspired blue. If you’re in luck and the conditions are right, you may even spot a rainbow. The reflections in puddles and raindrops make for a great addition to an already awe-inspiring spring scene. Raindrops are also great subject matter for bokeh.
Explore Macro Photography
We’ve already talked about capturing life; now it’s time to magnify life with macro photography. Put simply, macro photography is taking really close-up pictures of small specimens so the size of the subject appears greater than life size.
Here’s a quick guide to macro photography that will help get you hit the ground running:
Invest in a tripod – Any camera shake whatsoever will throw your macro subject out of focus. It’s best to have a tripod for stabilized shooting, and a remote release is very helpful as well.
Be ready – When photographing moving subjects, it’s especially important to set yourself up and pre-focus so you don’t miss your chance at a great shot. This also applies to non-moving subjects that sway with the wind.
Think abstract – The macro world is filled with extreme detail. While full flowers and face-to-face insect shots tend to get the glory, the intricacies of the world around you make for unique abstract photos.
Try different lighting – Natural light is always best, but it isn’t always adequate. Your camera’s built-in flash is flat-out brutal, so try introducing varying degrees of light from different angles or filtering your flash.
Aperture and depth of field – Remember this: For macro photography you want a small aperture (a large F-number) to achieve the widest depth of field, which will allow you to capture a clear image of your subject.
Explore accessories – If you enjoy macro photography, there are tons of cool accessories that will help take your imagery to the next level.
So, are you ready to make the most of spring? Happy shooting!