What I Learned in the Secret Garden

The garden was not just full of beautiful blooms and lovely landscapes.

It wasn’t even just for my glimpse of fall colors.

Nope, the garden had something else happening that day.

See if you can spot what it is in Sydney’s glasses….

Hint: Look on the left side.

Do you see me? I’m scrunched down towards the bottom right on the left side. My shirt looks white and I have a camera in my face (obviously!).

We had a small photography class in the gardens – thanks to a very generous teacher. He gave up his time (and weekend) to do some one-on-one with a few students. The instruction was truly priceless. I am always eager to learn. Sometimes, I don’t think my brain accepts certain information, and I never know when I will hear it again. So…I try to read a lot, listen more, and take advantage of opportunities like this one.

And since he was so generous, well, I have decided to be generous right back. I will give you a little tidbit of a lighting situation. Maybe you know this, or maybe you will learn something new. You never know, right?

This is Sydney on an adorable bridge (do pardon the picture, I did not focus on her as it was just a quick shot for lighting purpose). As you can see, the light is coming in through the trees. It causes a pattern of light and dark on her face. This is called dappled lighting. It is very common under trees with a high sun.

I don’t know about you, but this is not a very pleasing picture. And since this is my pride and joy, I really don’t like this photograph. It is taking away from her beautiful face.

We did try a flash to fill in some of the dark, but that did not work. Of course, you could edit and lighten the dark parts to match the lighter parts, but that takes more time.

You know what the easiest fix is?

And this is my tip. Move her about two feet back into deeper shade.

We did and there was still a bit of dappled light on her chest. We used a reflector to block that light and make it even. The reflector also added a nice soft catchlight to her eyes.

So, just moving her a few feet, and blocking the bit of light coming in on her chest. This is the result we got.

No editing needed.

What do you think? Major difference, huh?

I hope to share a few more tips in the near future; a little editing tweak, and more lighting.

As you can see, I am still madly in love with photography.

Also? I have more shots from this weekend. Not only did I go to Clark Gardens on Saturday……but I, also, did a macro photography shoot with a class at the Dallas Arboretum today.

Can’t wait to show you those.

Hope you had an excellent weekend!

Pet Portrait Photo Tips

Tip #1 – Find you a good-looking pet. A willing subject One that doesn’t know any better. Not any ol’ mutt will do, it has to be a looker (of course, I think all dogs are cute).

Tip #2 – A little grooming goes a long way. If you have a brush handy, all the better.

Tip #3 – Bring lots of treats and a handy assistant helps too.

Tip #4– Use a versatile wardrobe.

Tip #5– Work with expressions. Be ready for the moment.

Tip #6– Watch for signs of fatigue.

Tip #7– Make sure the talent (your pet) is comfortable.

Tip #8– Know when it’s a wrap and call it.

And don’t forget to show your before and after work.

Before and After shots

And that’s it! That’s all there is to pet portraits. Add lots of whistles, tweets, cat calls, and an occasional bonk on the head. Works like a charm.

A special thanks to my furry friend Brownie for being my first pet portrait victim. It was lovely working with you in my make-shift studio. Next time, I’ll bring more jerky!