Spring is finally in the air! And what better way to enjoy the warm sun on my face and fresh air in my lungs than with a camera hung around my neck. I had an absolutely fabulous day at Hylands House recently, photographing a few little beauties. Starting off the day I knew there would be 2 preschool age children, which I was very excited about as my own children are that age and it also tends to be my target audience for family photoshoots. I love playing around and making them laugh, such simple things bring out the best giggles at that age. I also had a few older children to photograph a little later in the afternoon, which had my nerves jangling a little! But I should never have feared – so well behaved, and also super photogenic. Lucky me!
Picture the scene: clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine, lush green fields as far as the eye can see. Sounds like the perfect day to get some beautiful photographs right? Wrong. Oh, how wrong I was. However, this is a journey and the lessons I am learning along the way are priceless. I now know the mystery behind “Golden Hour”, and the secret to placing my subjects in the right position depending on where the sun is, rather than how pretty the backdrop is, and the importance of finding trees to shelter from the midday sun.
We started off around 1pm, so the sun was very high in the sky and the chance of shadows on faces is almost guaranteed. However, following the “Rules” I managed to avoid too many shadows and capture the beautiful golden glow we associate with hot summer days on a beach rather than lukewarm days in a field. The power of a camera and decent lens in manipulating your surroundings is insurmountable. Never again will I believe the perceived heat I see in photographs – I’ll know it’s more about the position of the sun than the temperature!
Later in the afternoon the sun was lower in the sky and I experienced Golden Hour for the first time since properly knowing how to use it to my advantage, and I can say without a doubt that I’ll never look back. Away from studio lights and artificial set ups, the natural golden light from the low sun in beautiful natural surroundings is definitely a winner. Not that I don’t enjoy studio work, I absolutely do, with a passion. Especially on cold wintery days where we can escape and decide exactly how we want a photograph to look. But this introduction to outdoor photography in springtime has excited me beyond belief for the coming summer months. At the moment we have daffodils to brighten our photographic scenes, soon it will be bluebells, then lavender. So much prettiness, I can’t wait.