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Spring forward to fabulous photography!

Top tips for spring photography from Venture Studios.

Spring forward, fall back. It’s almost that time of year again when the clocks go forward and it begins to feel as if spring is finally here!

This year the clocks go forward on Sunday 31st March but interestingly, there are two other official start dates for spring. The meteorological and the astronomical.

The meteorological definition of spring splits the year into four seasons based on the Gregorian calendar. Each season is exactly 3 months long. Spring is from Friday 1st March - Friday 31st May.

The astronomical season of spring starts on the spring equinox, which this year is Wednesday 20th March. It lasts until the summer solstice - Friday 21st June.

So whichever way you look at it, March heralds the arrival of spring.

Spring definitely has the feelgood factor! It brings lighter evenings, milder temperatures, emerging buds on the trees and flowers on the ground. There is also that indefinable sense of anticipation in the air: as if it’s time for a new beginning and anything is possible.

Many of us would love to capture this positivity with some really good photos. But often they don’t do justice to the beauty all around us. So here are our quick Top Ten Tips for fabulous spring photography:

Leo Francis

1. Perfect timing
Sometimes a brilliant photo opportunity presents itself. Whether it’s children or dogs playing, people out and about enjoying the sun, or perhaps a local busker - you just have to point and shoot there and then, before you miss it. But sometimes you have the luxury of waiting till the light and weather conditions are just right for the kind of effect you want. So be prepared to be patient to set the scene just as you want it.

2. Beware of the sun
We just love the sun! But when taking photos make sure that your subject is not in the full glare of the sun and that you control the angle at which the light hits the subject. For a more subtle effect you may want to try taking shots in either the early morning or early evening light.

3. The exposure triangle
The amount of light available is not the only consideration for the perfect shot. For tip top photography you need to be aware of how to manipulate that light with the so-called “exposure triangle”. This describes the relationship between three camera settings — aperture, shutter speed and ISO:

  • Aperture - the amount of light coming into the camera lens;
  • Shutter speed - the length of time for which light enters the camera lens;
  • ISO - the camera’s sensitivity to light.
With a camera with manual settings you can control the balance of the three to create the ideal light exposure for your spring photography.

4. Position your subject
As well as avoiding glare on your subject, also position it/them carefully in the shot. It can be helpful to think of your image in terms of the “rule of thirds” ie divided up into a grid of 9 squares. For best results, position your main subject in line with one of the lines separating the squares. This can help to create balance in your photograph.

Leo Francis

5. Use white space effectively
Following on from the above, also make sure that you have a good balance of content and white space in the photograph, as this will make it look well-balanced and less cluttered.

6. Manipulate the horizon
Effective use of a horizon can make a huge difference to a shot. Conversely, a poorly positioned horizon can completely distract attention away from the subject. For many standard shots, following the rule of thirds referred to above - and keeping the horizon in the top third of the photograph - can work very well. But if you want to emphasise the top of the image - for example a dramatic skyline - then place the horizon low in the image. But if you want the lower part of the image to really stand out, then consider either placing the horizon at the very top of the image - or perhaps even eliminating it altogether - for a stark effect.

7. Go wide
You can often get a better quality photograph in bright sun if you take a wide shot rather than a close up. A wide shot is where the subject is shown in its entirety and in relation to its surroundings. It can be more effective than a close up as there will be less shadowing.

8. Macro photography
Another cool thing to try in spring is some macro photography. This refers to taking very close up shots of subjects, for example flowers, buds, leaves, water or wildlife. You are able to emphasise colours, textures and shapes. Whilst you can buy specialist macro lenses, you can also achieve close focusing with many standard lenses. It can also be helpful to use a tripod for macro shots, to avoid blurring.

9. Get flashy
Using flash even when outside can eliminate shadows and add further brightness to the natural sunlight in your shot. It helps you to ensure that the subject is not underexposed. You may also want to explore the filters on your camera. For example if you have a polarising filter this can control the amount of light getting into your camera and therefore reduce reflection.

10. Capture the colours
It is so hard to accurately capture the glorious colours of spring in a photograph. It is definitely worth experimenting with any presets and filters that your camera has. For example, there may be preset filters to achieve a sunny white balance or for cloudy conditions. Or a polarising filter as mentioned above, which can enable you to capture more accurate and rich colour representation in your images. Also consider increasing the colour temperature when processing your photographs.

So whenever spring starts for you, we hope that the above tips help you to enjoy some fabulous spring photography.

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