Spring is when everything comes to life again. This is a great opportunity to get outside and take advantage of the beautiful colors to create some fresh, stunning photos to celebrate spring fun.
We asked our friends, Lissa Chandler and Kristin Dokoza, to give us some tips on photographing in the spring. First, Lissa gives us some tips on taking photos with people.
Embrace Light and Color
Spring is a great time to tap into your creativity and transform your space with great photos. Colors are popping up everywhere and, sunlight is out in full force. Pay attention to where the sun is and what colors it’s highlighting. If you do this, you’ll be able to use sunlight as a compositional element when framing your photographs.
Spring is cheerful and warm and vivacious – your photographs should feel that way, too.
While all light is beautiful, backlight can create the dreamiest feeling in your photographs. When you’re shooting, take a few steps back and double check your environment. How does it feel? Would the photos have more emotion if you pulled yourself or your subject to the side a bit? Shoot wide, and embrace the way spring sunlight will encircle your subject.
Along with light, color can convey so many emotions. Spring has so many gorgeous tones – both bright and muted – and embracing the colors of the season will keep your photographs fresh and fun.
If you’re shooting in a field, keep an eye out for interesting trees and different shades of green. If you’re shooting in an urban location, keep an eye out for spring colors in buildings. Shooting in your home? Keep an eye out for fresh colors that remind you of spring. Look for yellows, pinks, greens, lavenders, and creams – all of these colors will create the feel of springtime.
Use Flowers to Frame Your Subjects
After sitting indoors for the winter, spring has the most magical quality. Once flowers start blooming, it’s easy to want to place your subjects in front of picturesque backgrounds. Instead of keeping the flowers in the background, take your photographs a step farther and bring them to the foreground. Shooting through flowers creates so much depth and charm, and on top of that, it’s unexpected and so fun to shoot.
To do this, bring a flower close to your lens and move it around as you shoot. If this doesn’t work the first (or second or third) time, don’t get discouraged! Shooting through flowers can take time and patience, so it may get frustrating. Just remember to keep your subject’s face clear. If you need to, hold your breath when you shoot.
Shooting with a wide aperture will also help with this. The wider you shoot, the more beautiful the foreground bokeh will become. If you’re new to shooting with a wide aperture, start shooting at 2.8 or 2.0 and slowly open your aperture wider until the bokeh looks perfect.
Create Environmental Portraits
Environmental portraits are the best. Don’t be afraid to let your location shine when you’re shooting. Try shooting a few traditional portraits. Leave your subject in the same spot, and then back up until you can fit their whole body in the frame. This adds variety to galleries, and it also gives a better feel for where you are shooting.
Changing your perspective is so important when you’re shooting any subject, but if you’re photographing your kids, staying further back from them is a great move. The more you let your kids play and explore, the less they think about being photographed. Focus on capturing the fun they’re having instead of the technical details. It’s a win-win for everyone!
When taking environmental portraits in the spring, keep an eye out for new life. Look for flowers, sunlight, trees, and new grass. Think of the photograph as a scenic view, not just a portrait, and embrace all of the color and light that spring has to offer.
Next, Kristin gives us some advice on shooting the still life of Spring.
Spring Flower Photography
I am drawn to color and light. So when all the little buds are starting to awaken and the light warms up, I am inspired to get out and shoot. Photographing still life is a great way to push yourself creatively. Here are some quick and easy tips that will inspire you too! I also find that it is therapeutic and makes me happy.
Take a walk around your neighborhood. There’s probably a corner you pass where the light hits at a certain time of day that makes you smile. Maybe you’ve noticed your neighbor’s yard starting to bloom. Grab your camera and favorite lens, or maybe even a lens that you don’t shoot with often, and push yourself to create images from everyday scenes around you. My images here were shot with my Canon Mark III, and 24-70L lens.
Look all around you. This dead leaf was the last to hang on in my neighbor’s tree. Shooting at a wider aperture, f/2.8 created a lovely sense of depth and kept the attention on the details.
I always have fresh flowers in my home. They are such an easy way to brighten up a space. Moving around a single bloom or a vase full of them can also create gorgeous images. – Kristin
I use my white kitchen table for most of my floral and still life work. Depending on the time of day, I can use soft to harsh light incorporating shadows as well.
These camellias bloom outside my front door each spring, and I love photographing them. There are so many details in each flower from the ruffles in the petals to the variations of color. You can add elements and style the blooms in different ways.
Don’t forget to widen your aperture, and select a detail to focus on. This will also help add depth to the composition. Change your perspective, and move around your subject. Look at something simple, but show the viewer how extraordinary it can be.
Remember: it’s important to slow down the process. What is it that grabs your attention? Find it. And most importantly, have fun.
Looking for tips for taking great photos on your smart phone? Check out our guide to iPhone photography.
Lissa Chandler is a creative wedding and portrait photographer in Fayetteville, Arkansas who loves awesome light and happy photographs.
Kristin Dokoza is a photographer known for her unique abilities in capturing light and mood. She is a contributor to Click magazine and a designated ClickPro photographer with Click & Company, an online community of over 2 million photographers. Kristin resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family including two sons and her famous French Bulldog, Louis.