fiddle leaf photography
Sep 27, 2016
Behind every image there are hundreds of decisions. Even when I’m caught off guard and take a really quick snap, there’s still usually a decision behind settings or composition. But, if I have to time to set up a shot I take into consideration my camera settings along with composition, mood, post processing and the story I want to tell.
Each photographer has their own way of ‘seeing’ the image, which is why I’m excited to join a new monthly Storytellers blog circle with some wonderful visual storytellers from around the world. The premise is pretty simple – to talk about the story behind the story. Why we did what we did and how it impacted our image. The best part is that you get to learn from more than just me! At the end of each blog post you’ll see a link to another. Read, click, read, click, and eventually you’ll end up back here (with new inspiration and insight!).
Ready to go?
This image was taken on my oldest daughter’s birthday. We’d just been at my Mom’s house for dinner and were walking home with her birthday haul. We walk over this bridge pretty much every day, usually stopping to throw leaves or sticks into the creek below, so it’s a special place for us.
I don’t normally carry my DSLR with me out and about as I have a smaller mirrorless camera, but my Mom’s house is dark and I knew I’d want to get some shots of her blowing out her birthday cake candles, so I was carrying my Nikon D750. As we walked over the bridge I asked if we could stop for a second (I only take pictures if the kids are cool with it, which they were), I turned the wagon sideways and stepped back. I didn’t give the girls any other direction or modify anything in the scene other than the wagon.
Settings: 24-70mm lens at 26mm. ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/320
I purposefully centre composed to use the railings as leading lines. Also, I find that by shooting straight on, the horizontal lines of the boards across the bridge don’t interfere with the main subject. I turned the wagon so that it was in line with the floor boards, and so that I’d be able to see both girls’ faces. If I’d left the wagon just as I was pulling it, I would have had to shoot at an angle to get both of them in the frame and all of the lines from the railing and floor would have been too busy.
Because this little forest holds meaning for us, I purposefully shot this down at kids’ level and fairly wide to include the surroundings. Crouched down on the edge of the bridge, I simply waited until at least one kid was looking at me (it was a bonus she was using her brand new magnifying glass, as she’d done for the whole walk home). My little one was looking off towards the water, which tells a story in itself as she’s obsessed with checking the creek each time we go over the bridge. The balloon was in the wagon for our journey home, and I chose to leave it to help reinforce that it was her birthday. Even a viewer who didn’t know it was her birthday, would probably guess that it was a special occasion.
In post processing I added a vignette (darkened area) around the girls to draw the viewer’s attention right to my main subject. Given the trees and the texture in this image, I knew from the time I shot it that it would be processed in colour. Black and white would have been too busy and would have required too much thought on the part of the viewer to pick out the girls and what they were doing
To read more stories behind the image, carry on to Andrea’s blog. Then check back the last Wednesday of next month for another image from me.
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Lifestyle family & newborn photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta
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