Secrets to Beautiful Backyard Photography
Have you ever watched the sun set slowly over your yard during a lazy summer evening and wished you could freeze the moment? With a little understanding of photography, a camera as simple as the one on your phone can allow you to do just that.
These simple tips should help you to not only capture the scenery of your yard, but also the feeling you have while enjoying it with family and friends.
The most critical aspect of photography is light. Without light, there is no photo. If you want your yard to look its best, you will need to pay attention to what kind of light you’re shooting in.
Directional light is the most flattering type of light on any subject. Imagine a flashlight being held up to a subject’s face. If held directly above or below the face, the light will create harsh shadows on the subject.
Now, if we think of the sun as a flashlight, it makes sense the best time to shoot photos would be when the sun is NOT directly above the Earth. In fact, sunlight is the most beautiful when it is at a 45 degree angle, which occurs during the first hour or two of sunrise, and the last few hours before sunset. Many photographers refer to the time before sunset as “golden hour” because the sun bathes the Earth in golden light.
Quality of Light
The quality of light is also important to take into consideration. Direct sunlight will make your yard look different than if the sun is behind a cloud. This is the difference between “hard light” and “soft light.”
Hard light creates long shadows and emphasizes texture, while soft light allows colors to pop and smoothes out the image. Hard light is considered more dramatic, while soft light is considered more beautiful. Keeping this in mind will help you when photographing different aspects of the yard.
If you want to photograph your dog rolling in the grass, try using hard light to emphasize the texture in his fur and the grass. If you want to emphasize your bright red deck chairs next to your clear blue pool, wait until the sun is behind clouds.
The second most important aspect of photography is composition. You don’t have to be an artist to make your yard look beautiful, but you do need to pay attention to what’s in the frame.
Eliminate clutter in the background. You can usually do this simply by moving your lens, but feel free to move items in your yard around to get the cleanest-looking image. Take a full view of the frame before snapping a picture, not just the center or your main subject.
Pay attention to colors. Summer is all about sundresses and flower gardens, kids playing and swimming in deep blue pools. Reds, yellows, and greens are abundant, so take advantage of whatever colors make your yard beautiful. Play around with contrasting colors like a red ball in the green grass, or yellow pool noodles in the clear blue water.
Shoot from different perspectives. Nothing is more boring than an album full of photos shot from eye-level. Get down and dirty in the grass when shooting flowers and wildlife, or stand on a chair to make your patio look bigger. Get creative!
Experiment and have fun!
The most important thing to remember in photography is to enjoy it! Play around with different angles and shoot in different types of light. Most of all, photograph the people and moments which make you happy!