Spring photography tips, hints and inspiration
As we leave Winter and head into Spring, there is a collective sigh of relief from professional photographers all around the country. As the temperature begin to warm, we are able to utilise the abundance of floral and green backdrops and start embracing the golden hour again.
With this in mind I thought it would be useful for me to write a Spring photography blog, with my thoughts on how to tackle some of the challenges we face when shooting at this time of year.
As well as sharing some of my own Spring photography, I also wanted to take an opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic images which I have seen from other professional photographers for inspiration – enjoy!
The qualities of Spring light
As we leave Winter and the number of hours of sunlight begins to increase, we can be faced with a harder/crisp light at certain times of the day. (Now for the science part!) This occurs because the seasons change according to the Earth’s tilt as it orbits the sun. Wherever you live in the world, Spring/ Summertime means the sun is shining directly overhead and the light quality will be like a splash of brightness. When summer turns to Autumn/Winter we see the golden light because the earth has tilted, now the rays of light we see are longer, slanted beams that cast long shadows.
Ideally, all of my Spring photo shoots would begin 2 hours before the golden hour, but as we know this is not always possible or practical. Those of you who have trained with me will know I encourage shooting later into the day so you can offer your clients a wider variety of images but if this isn’t possible you will need to look modify the light.
To do this you have a number of options.
1. Modify the light using what you can find on location. Look to use what you have around you to break up the light (make it less harsh/bright) such as trees, buildings or walls. This is my preferred method as I like to travel light whilst shooting. This also means if you chose your location wisely you can naturally backlight in the middle of the day and not have blown highlights.
2. Use a scrim to soften the light. Most reflectors allow you to unzip and remove the reflective cover, leaving you with a translucent white material which you can use to soften the sunlight. The only issue here is you require a second set of hands to hold it in position whilst you shoot. If you don’t have an assistant on the shoot with you (which I don’t) you can always recruit the parents or even older brothers and sisters to help out. As a side note, I do not purchase expensive reflectors as I have found some children like to use them as giant frisbees 🙂
3. Use on or off camera flash to overpower the sun and light your subject to balance the light. When I’m shooting, I like to move locations and run with the kids, so this is a little at odds with my personal style. That said I think it’s an important part of your repertoire to know how to use on and off camera flash well when shooting outdoors. If you are interested in learning more then I would advise looking up Gary Hill here.
Location scouting in Spring
The good news is to create beautiful portraits in the Spring you don’t need a great deal of space. If you plan to utilise the blossom as a backdrop, then you only need a small tree and some clever framing. If you are shooting in the daffodils or bluebells you just need a small dense patch and a considered perspective. Fiona from Little Love Photography sent me a great behind the scenes example which is shown further down the page and below there is an image of me at the location of a recent blossom shoot.
For larger groups of children or family images, I would look for areas with lots of lovely greenery behind, knowing that they are dressed in a way that ensures they stand out in the image.
Clothing colours when shooting in the Spring
Creating Spring tones in more urban spaces
Over 2017 I plan to embrace local urban spaces more and here clothing colour choices can really affect the overall feel of a shot. Below are a few images taken during a recent 1-2-1 mentoring session and you can see how the pastel palette works really well with the white washed and coloured houses. The aqua green colour the little girl was dressed in also popped really well against the red letter box.
Editing challenges specific to Spring photography
My lens of choice and shooting perspective
Spring Photography: A UK collectiveInspirational Spring images from photographers all throughout the UK
Children’s Photographer Nina Mace
Press play to watch 2 and a half minutes of Spring inspiration from photographers from all over the UK.
Includes a selection of images utilising daffodils, bluebells and blossom. Maternity, baby, child and family portraits, this video illustrates how different photographers can create such varied images from a similar background.
To see the individual images, and to see details of how these shots were taken see below.
Inspiration corner: Spring photography from around the UK
These images were taken by Amanda Jane Dalby Photography shot on her Canon 5D Mark III. Floral images taken with my Canon 85mm F1.2, and the sun flare was shot with my old nifty fifty.
This image, taken by Amanda Powell Photography, was shot on 70-200mm, f2.8 during golden hour (around 5.30, pre clock change).
Taken by Dandelion Photography a different perspective on Spring as “Spring is little more moody up north in Cheshire” 🙂 Both shot on 85mm lens @ f2, last week both very close to 6pm.
Images taken by Johanna Birch Photography
Images taken by Katie Lister Photography shot at 4pm on the Canon 135mm and f/3.5
Images taken by Ayrshire Photographer Kellee Quinn Photography
Taken mid-day on the 70-200 by Jo of Lunaria Photography
Taken by Children’s Photographer Nina Mace shot on the 70-200 at 2.8 approx 30 minutes before sunset.
Taken by Elaine Rolfe Photography. Shot at about 4pm, in a lightly wooded area with a Canon 135mm f/2 and Canon 5D Mkii
Helen Hoffman Photography
Karen Wiltshire of KW Photography
Little Love Photography by Fiona Norman
75mm, ISO 200, F2.8 1/640 by Traci Habergham Photography