Details for our upcoming show! Plus, April Meeting Wrap-up and May Assignment

I have to say that when I logged onto the MPIX site on Wednesday morning, I got a bit choked up. I was so thrilled to see that we had moved from 23 submissions over the weekend, to OVER 70 PHOTOS SUBMITTED!!! And they were all SO beautiful! I could feel so much energy, love and stories from the images. I’m so happy that so many of the club members have decided to participate–it is going to be an awesome show! Can you tell I’m excited??

Some people asked about whether they can help with the show preparations, so I wanted to share some details:

-We’ll be setting up the exhibit at Studio R on Wednesday 5/5 (Cinco de Mayo!) starting at 6:15pm. Leave a comment if you are interested in helping out!

-The Photography show will be at Studio R on Friday 5/7 from 6pm-9pm.

– We’ll be setting up to host visitors to the show right before the show itself (probably starting ~5pm) with some wine and non-alcoholic drinks, and maybe some munchies. Leave a comment if you’d be up for contributing any cookies, cheese, crackers or other hors d’oeuvre type munchies to the festivities! We’ll be buying wine, drinks, and pretzels using the exhibit budget.



This month, Anita Nowacka spoke to our group about creating strong images using natural light. She kicked off the meeting by bringing wine and snacks for us (yum!), had a beautifully prepared slide show to define the essence of what strong images are.

She began by defining the three elements of a strong image:

1) Storyline- what do you want to say through your image?

2) Deliberate composition

3) Correctly exposed, or well “painted” with light. (Photography in greek means to paint with light.)

She ran through a slideshow if images from the Renaissance period and identified the elements that made them compelling- eg. Michelangelo’s “Pieto” 1499, “The Birth of Venus,” “Creation of Adam.”

In each image, she identified a triangle within the image composition which made it strong. She advised us to look for the triangles in each image that we like, and says that they are always there.

She recommended some practical elements to improve our image composition:

1) Props, either literal props or emotional props.  A prop in a photo session adds triangulation with the subject, opens a new dimension, and breathes new life and perspective into the image. A hat was an example of a literal prop. The wind can also be used as a natural prop. Asking the subjects to jump was what she called an emotional prop, to get them to loosen up and bring force and movement to the image.

2) Improve your positioning of your subjects. Having a parent and child posing with their chests facing in towards one another is a stronger  composition than if they are both oriented at the camera. With multiple subjects, build the image- start with just Dad and baby, then add in a third person later to add to the story.

3) Use the outdoor light to help tell the story. Anita said that outdoor light is her favorite light because all the different forms of light are there for the taking if you know where to position your camera and subjects. She identified different types of light by using a flashlight on a volunteer:

Side light -I googled these image results for side light so you could see some examples. Side light is more edgy and moody, and especially effective for black & white photos.

Hair light- pretty self explanatory, I found this example on Anita’s website- subject is backlit and the light is hitting the hair at an angle.

Rim light- basically when subject is eclipsing the light and a thin layer of light is all around the back of them.

Fill light- light that goes directly into the face. Anita uses a 32″ white/gold reflector to reflect light back onto the face if the shadows are too harsh.

If it is an overcast day, then there is nice, diffused light all around, but in automatic mode images can turn a bit flat. She recommends using your histogram and to “expose to the right”- which basically means to overexpose your image slightly to add light. I found a good histogram tutorial here for folks who aren’t familiar with them yet.

If the light is overhead:

you can use your flash to compensate for harsh shadows that may be on your subject’s face

-you can use a technique called “subtractive lighting” which essentially means you use a tool to create a shadow. Anita keeps a black cardstock board that folds up in her car in case she needs to hold it above her subjects to create shade. In a case where one mama was having trouble capturing her son’s gorgeous blue eyes in outdoor light, because the eyes would always go dark, Anita said that subtractive lighting would do the trick.

-you can bring your subject near a building and set your aperture low to eliminate the background.


-Anita’s favorite outdoor locations in Seattle are: Gasworks Park, the Arboretum. Shilshole bay (on a cloudy day)

-She highly recommends Lightroom 2 for post-processing. If you need a tutorial in Lightroom, she recommends that you arrange a session with Laura Shoe. She says that a session with Laura will do wonders!


Our May meeting is going to be back on the third Monday of the month- May 17th at 6:30 in Studio R. The assignment for that meeting is: “Casting outdoor light.” Practice an outdoor shoot where you experiment with using one or more of the different types of outdoor light Anita mentions: hair light, rim light, side light, or fill light. Bonus points if your images have “triangles” within the composition!


One response to “Details for our upcoming show! Plus, April Meeting Wrap-up and May Assignment

  1. Pingback: Exhibit wrap-up & next meeting Monday, May 17! | Mamas With Cameras

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s