photo tips | open shade

you’ve heard it said before that photography is all about lighting. this is so true, but it was a hard concept for me to really understand when i first started learning photography. it sounded good, but i never really understood why this was true. it took lots of practice and photos that were dark, soft and just no good before i really grasped the concept of the lighting being the one thing that could make a photo go from good to great.

this weekend, the boys were getting ready to go to a hockey game with Mark so i pulled out my big camera to take photos of them before they left. it was about 3:30pm and we went outside. one of my rules for good photos is to always photograph outside whenever possible. now, at this time of day the sun is high and harsh, so i found a spot with open shade and snapped away.

and this is what i captured…

photography by


photography by


open shade is your best friend. this is true for any camera – from your camera phone to your big dslr camera. direct sunlight is very harsh, so find a spot that is shaded but still has light coming in from the side.

photography + open shade ==>

this is a photo from my iphone of where i took these photos of my boys. you can see the open shade was created by the giant royal palm trees in our yard. i just made sure to keep the boys in this shaded area and let the beautiful natural light do the rest. quinn was sitting on the black driveway just behind the car and he looked up at me for his photo. tate was standing on the black driveway facing me, but still shaded from the harsh direct sunlight for his photo.

it is hard to capture really authentic photos of my boys these days because quinn really loves to make silly faces every time he sees my camera and tate just never stays still long enough for me to take a good photo of him. so on this afternoon, the stars seemed to align just perfectly with beautiful lighting, tate being adorable (i did not ask him to pose – he did this all by himself) and quinn looking at me with that soft smile. what i ended up with was sweet photos of my boys. and it only took about 3 minutes to capture all of this. oh happy day!

photos taken with my nikon d300 and nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. settings for both photos were iso 200, 1/640 and f/3.2.

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