Now that spring has arrived, it’s the perfect time to grab your camera and venture out to capture the beauty of the season. Unlike the striking contrasts of winter landscapes, the emergence of new life in spring is more delicate and difficult to capture, especially in regions where the season comes in fits and starts.
Whether you’re aiming for a breathtaking panoramic shot of mountain dogwoods or a detailed close-up of a single crocus pushing through the snow, these tips will help you make the most out of your spring photography sessions.
Assemble Your Spring Gear
- Find out how close your camera will focus.
- Use the long telephoto end of your zoom lens.
- Use a small flash with an extension cord if you don’t have one built into your camera, or try bouncing light off a ceiling or wall to soften it up (this is called “bounce lighting”).
- Use a tripod for sharper images; it’s easier than holding still for long periods of time! If you’re shooting handheld, consider using image stabilization features on your camera so that you don’t get blurry shots from shaky hands!
Work the Light
- Work the light. Spring is a time of change, and you can use this to your advantage when shooting your springtime video. The light will move throughout the day, so be sure to keep an eye on it as you shoot. If there’s too much glare on your subject or background, try using a lens shade or repositioning yourself until you find just the right angle for capturing that perfect shot.
- Watch out for backlight! Backlighting can create beautiful effects in flowers by illuminating their petals and leaves with warm tones–but only if you’re careful not to overexpose them (which would result in blown-out whites). If necessary, adjust exposure settings accordingly so that everything looks natural instead of washed out or overexposed.* Use exotic lighting conditions wisely: In addition to experimenting with different types of lighting scenarios during filming sessions at home (and taking note of how each one affects color temperature), consider planning ahead by scouting locations where exotic lighting conditions are likely–such as beachside paths leading into forests full of trees whose leaves have yet not begun changing colors yet
Think New Life
Spring is a time for renewal, and it’s no different for the animals of your city. As the weather warms up and food becomes more plentiful, many of them will be emerging from hibernation or hiding spots to enjoy the sunshine.
You can capture this new life by using long lenses to focus on birds and mammals that are more playful in the springtime. You might even be surprised at how approachable many urban animals are–you may find yourself wondering why you didn’t try filming them before!
Get the Low Down
If you want to capture the spring season in all its glory, get down on the ground and look up. The best way to do this is by using the macro or close-up setting on your camera. This will allow you to get up close and personal with plants, flowers and insects without having them run away from your lens.
When shooting macro photography, try thinking architecture and modern art: think about how shapes work together or stand out against one another; look for patterns in color or texture; pay attention to lines that lead viewers’ eyes through an image (think diagonal lines). You can also use this technique when shooting landscapes–the sky may seem empty at first glance but there are often clouds moving through it! Watch for insects at work too–they’ll make great subjects if they’re doing something interesting (like pollinating flowers).
Look up. The sky is a great subject in spring, especially if you’re looking for something other than a tree. Take advantage of blue skies and interesting cloud patterns, which are more common in spring than they are in summer or fall. This can also be an opportunity to capture these scenes early before trees leaf out and block your view of the sky (and vice versa).
Walk in the Rain
As you walk, look for reflections in puddles of fresh water. The patterns that are created by the raindrops are unique to each puddle and can be used to create interesting compositions.
Another great idea is to get close enough so that you can capture tiny rain droplets clinging to new leaves or flowers and vines. This will give your video a more intimate feel as it shows how nature has been affected by this springtime phenomenon
Control the Chaos
You can control the chaos of spring by using foreground-background composition techniques. For example, if you’re shooting in a park and there are lots of people milling about, try to simplify your background by keeping it simple and clean. Concentrate on crisp compositions with a specific focal point in the foreground (like a flower or tree).
Use Wide Apertures
- Enable your camera’s image stabilization mode. The best way to ensure that you get a stable shot is by using a tripod or some sort of stand, but if you don’t have one handy and can’t afford to buy one, this is the next best thing.
- Use a reasonable Exposure Index of 200 or 400 (or even 800 if it’s available). If you’re shooting in low light conditions with an aperture setting below f/2.8 on most cameras, try increasing the ISO as well–you’ll be able to get away with higher ISOs without sacrificing too much quality.
- Use wide angles when possible! The wider angle lenses allow us photographers more flexibility when framing our shots while also reducing distortion caused by wide-angle lenses themselves (which makes everything look bigger).
Experiment with using long shutter speeds hand held, or even try motion blur in low light.
Try Shooting in Black & White
- Simplify and add impact to the shapes of nature. Black and white photography is a great way to simplify your images, which can often be busy with colors and textures. By going black and white, you’ll be able to focus on the shapes of nature instead of being distracted by its colors.
- Shoot from above or below eye level when possible (and safe). Shooting from an elevated point will give you a unique perspective that most people don’t get to see every day–and it’s especially useful for capturing spring flowers!
Pack for the Road
- Pack a shoulder bag with one body and two lenses.
- Enable your camera’s image stabilization mode.
- Dress for the season!