World Photo Day, celebrated Aug. 19 this year, aims to inspire you to take better photographs. While the day has passed, it’s never too late to evaluate your photography techniques.

  Local award-winning landscape photographer Jon Buffington and commercial portrait photographer Jill Goodrich Mansfield offered us some of their best advice to get more from your camera.  

Mansfield, owner of Grass Roots Photography, specializing in senior, model and stylized children photography said that photography allows her to fuse music and fashion.

Her photos show her passion for design, colors and texture. 

Mansfield said that the first step in learning to take better photos is to better understand light.

“When I teach my classes I start by talking about light. Understanding light is fundamental to taking great photos,” she said.

If think of your photograph as a painting, light would be the paint. 

“I personally love shooting at the golden hour,” Mansfield said, referring to the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.

“The beautiful glow of the sunset is flattering to all skin tones and you need minimal editing.  Plus, when you have a hot summer, it’s more comfortable shooting in the late of the day.”

But Mansfield also cautions not to overlook other times of the day and different lighting conditions. 

“I shoot in all types of light. Morning light is good also.  I have shot many sessions in full sun. You just have to be careful because it can create harsh shadows.”

In the harsh light of full sun, avoid harsh shadows by turning toward your light source.

“If you’re indoors, look for a window with natural light.  When shooting outdoors in full sun, you can either look for shady spots, and still turn toward your light source.” 

Or, Mansfield suggests turn away from the sun, create some shadows, then you can adjust your camera settings to help bring in light.

“Plus side in keeping the sun behind you is you can get a nice back light to illuminate your subject. It all just depends on what your intention is and the look/style you’re going for,” she said. 

While more technical photography equipment will offer better resolution and more control, the basics carry over from cell phone, a point and shoot, or DSLR

Once you have a handle on lighting, mix it up.

Mansfield suggested, “For more appealing shots, try looking for different shapes, patterns, texture, angles...think outside the box.”

Remember to keep moving around.

“Don’t shoot every shot from the same spot or straight on to your subject. Move around,” she said. 

Be aware of what’s going on in the back ground and remove any distractions. Is that tree branch coming out of the subject’s head? Things like powerlines are so commonplace, that modern city dwellers never notice them until they pop up to ruin an otherwise great photo.   

Lastly, Mansfield added, there are lots of apps and mobile presets for editing your photos. Have fun, be creative, and make memories.

“Remember, you don’t need fancy equipment to take great images,” she said.

Mansfield, owner of Grass Roots Photography, specializing in senior, model and stylized children photography said that photography allows her to fuse music and fashion.

Her photos show her passion for design, colors and texture. 

 

Buffington is an accomplished commercial photographer. He has exhibited at Tullahoma Arts Center his works have been published in Backpacker Magazine.

 

 

John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. He covers Lifestyles in addition to handling education reporting and general news assignments.John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

Staff Writer

John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. He is a graduate of THS, Motlow and MTSU. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

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