Photog Friday: Back Lighting

I distinctly remember during High School Yearbook class, watching tons of team photos being taken with kids all facing the sun. Its one of the first rules many photographers are taught to ensure a well lit subject.  I hate that rule!

Facing the sun makes for squinty subjects. And if you’re subjects are kids – like most of mine – its almost impossible to get them to look at you if it means they have to look towards the sun. That’s why rules are meant to be broken!  I love to practice shooting subjects with nice back lighting, it can create some beautiful shots.

With back lighting you can get some of my favorite effects – silhouettes! And one thing I’m still practicing to get right, getting a nice sun flare in the shot.  There are a lot of different looks you can get with back lighting – balance it with other light (natural, reflected or artificial), or an extreme backlight will give you the silhouette, or something more subtle. Endless possibilities! And it takes some practice to get the look you want.

Here are some of my shots and how I used back lighting to give you some ideas.

These first 3 shots are natural light and back light by the sun.

The shot is exposed for the subject but the light is very strong from behind.


These 3 below are more extremely back lit.

The shot is exposed for the brighter background and that caused the subject to be silhouetted.



The next 3 shots are all back lit by the sun with a flash used to add light to the subject to balance it out.

Without the flash, the subject would have been darker or silhouetted.


These last 2 are natural light (no flash) and back lit by the sun.

Exposed for the subjects but I moved so they were in between me and the sun.

So, get out there and practice some back lit shots! Feel free to email me some of your favorites and I’ll post them on a follow up post soon! Thanks for stopping by…


Princess Natalie {OC Child Photographer}

A little while back I held a “Princess for a Day” contest. Adorable little Natalie was the winner! I’d like to thank all her friends & family for voting – I know her mom appreciated it too!  I spent a morning with Natalie that included balloons, a tea party, tiaras, tutus, and so much fun! We had a great morning and I really hope she felt like that special little princess that she is.

I enjoyed her “Princess Session” so much that I would gladly do it again … in fact, those sessions would make a great gift for any little princess!Email if you’d like to book one.

Hardins at Scripps Park, La Jolla {San Diego Photographer}

I’m so fortunate that my Arizona clients think of me when they vacation in San Diego & the OC!

I’ve shot this family a few times, since before the little one could crawl I think! And I just love that they not only keep coming back for more – but refer their friends! It was a gorgeous at a gorgeous location with a gorgeous family to match! How could a photographer ask for more?! We ran around until the girls (and me!) were totally spent … it was so much fun! And I know I say it every time, but I honestly think these little girls are cuter every time I get the see them!

Mommy Monday: Meleon the Chameleon

My boy LOVES animals. And the good news is he enjoys helping take care of them. So, when after much discussion about his constant begging for a lizard, we decided it would be a good pet for him and off to the pet store we went. He fell in love with the baby chameleons. And Meleon the Chameleon was added to our family.

It’s now 2 months later and he still sits and watches Meleon stalk crickets – the launching tongue always gets a giggle! And Reed is very excited about his baby dragon that will some day lay dragon eggs … hmm, that bridge we’ll crossing another day. But turns out chameleons are pretty low maintenance pets so mommy is happy about it too!

He’s (actually a she) is little now but will get to be about a foot long. Here are some of the shots from Meleon’s first day home. And in a few months I’ll take some more to see how he’s grown.

(Meleon had just shed the morning we got him so that’s leftover white skin on him)



Photog Friday: Fireworks!

Happy Friday!!

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to post a photography tip … so here’s one for this weekend.

Shoot some Fireworks!

1. Set your camera on Manual Mode (Dooo it!)

2. Set your ISO down to 100. This way you get maximum color saturation. Since the ISO will be so low, and the Wild Things will be roaming, you’ll want to use a tripod if you can. Resting the camera on your knees may work too but let’s face it, you may want you hands free  in the event a Wild Thing starts to run across the field.  In my shot below you’ll see some wriggle in the tips because I didn’t use a tripod. But Becky’s example is AWESOME! This year I’ll try using a remote shutter release & tripod … see if that’s a little more steady but still hands free.

3. We want detail so put your aperture f-stop at F/11 or F/16.

4. Put your camera on Evaluative Metering so your color and light is metered throughout your whole frame. This will enhance all the colors in the sky.

5. Slow your shutter speed waaay down. Start with a slow shutter speed of 3 seconds. Relax & go from there. What you’ll want to do is push your shutter release button down when the firework goes off and wait for the image to record 3 seconds of the light. Then when the shutter closes (you’ll hear it), check your LCD and see if it looks bright enough. Too dark? Slow your shutter speed down a little more … maybe try 4 seconds.  Too bright? Do the opposite, try a faster shutter speed like 1 second.

Another tip is that you’ll want to try to dial in your settings as fast as possible. The longer it takes you, the more smoke will be in the air from the fireworks. No pressure, just concentrate. Once you get your settings where you want them, enjoy the show & click away!

This one below was shot by Becky M. – great shot!!

Thanks for sharing.

If you get some shots you’d like to share – email me!! I’d love to post them on the blog for you … send your settings too!

But most importantly, have fun & be careful!

Happy 4th of July!