Thursday, April 20, 2017

Don't Fear the Night

I've been teaching and shooting forever and one thing that consistently happens when I suggest shooting in low light is an expression of panic and then a firm statement, "I don't do it because I don't like to use flash." Last night I set out with some of my photography students to show that shooting at night doesn't mean that you either get really dark images OR you use a flash. 

We started in Uptown Charlotte on a dreary night around 6:30 and shot until truly dark. Baby steps, right? Realizing that it's ok for your shots to let shadows be dark at night because, well it's NIGHT, is a good thing. No more FIGHTING for full exposure of your image from a bad lighting situation. Embrace the dark and use it to your advantage. 




Watching how the light changed from moment to moment, and then that exact moment that a low light situation becomes a night shooting situation was exciting. Neons got brighter, shadows became defining and the camera becomes a different tool to record it all. 


A few tips:
1 - Wear walking shoes
2 - Be patient and wait for the light you want
3 - Use your ISO, this is what it is made for
4 - Bring friends and be aware of your surroundings
5 - Backpack camera bags are a great choice
6 - A wider DOF (depth of field) will give you a super crisp shot
7 - Expose for the bright lights, and your shadows be richer
8 - Keep your eyes open and remember to look up, especially if you are in an area with large buildings.
9 - Experiment and HAVE FUN!






Sunday, April 16, 2017

Always Trying

I consider myself a "natural" light photographer. I just prefer it. For the longest time, I have to confess, it was because I was afraid of manipulated light. I didn't love the "flash" look, it always looked unnatural and contrived. I've come to learn that it doesn't have to look that way and that incorporating flash and continuous studio lighting can be not only helpful but really fun too.

A studio lighting playdate with a wonderful photographer friend of mine recently was not only enlightening and reaffirming, it was just plain fun. The moral of the story is to just keep on trying new things even if you think you don't "do" that or "hate" that look... I guess in short keep an open-mind and explore. It has a way of creeping in and inspiring in unanticipated ways. Happy Shooting!
     
 


Images are all the copyrighted property of Heather Liebler Photography 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

When April Showers Bring May Flowers...

I teach a photography class a few days a week in addition to my photography sessions. I try to keep it fun and interactive, but also enlightening and inspiring. OK, and I AM a gemini, so often my "plans" are thrown out the window because I just don't feel like teaching about THAT today, I'd rather teach THIS! So when it was rainy and gross outside, but the colorful amazing flowers appeared before me the day before class... well you can guess what happened. Flower photography day is exciting and interactive and it shows that there is ALWAYS something to photograph for very little, IF ANY, cost beyond your photography equipment. I explained all of that to them, we talked specifics of shooting flowers, and then I told them how they have always been my photography project when I'm stuck creatively. They always seem to help me work through whatever block is happening and see the other side and get excited about it.

I realized the next afternoon that they are also my go to for fun. I bought a few amazing specimen and setup a vintage feeling still life. It turned into a wonderful shoot and I'm IN LOVE with the outcome. These remind me of the era of art that just calls to me. It's Vermeer and Rembrandt and beautiful light. It feels subtle and strong, all at the same time. It feels like me...
So when you feel stuck, or happy, or inspired, or uninspired, remember that just picking up your camera and working with light is enough to pull you out and help you to see things in a whole new light.



Images are all the copyrighted property of Heather Liebler Photography

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ballerina Journals

Have your dancer record their dance dreams, accomplishments, dreamed choreography, actual choreography and general rants and raves in the second edition Ballerina Journal. It's a 100 page journal of lined and gridded pages with inspiring dance photographs.

Get Yours TODAY!

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Spring Day Shoot... it's not always roses!

A spring day is a beautiful time for a family shoot. I've been honored to get to record this beautiful family's memories for a number of years through pregnancies, newborns and family lifestyle portraits. I love that others see the advantage of taking the time to do these shoots. It's not a coincidence that I'm a photographer. I love photographs, the memories frozen, the feel of remembering all the moments that make us who we are, not just the individual but the presence of the family that serves as a reminder after we are long gone. So when I get the opportunity to help a family preserve a moment in time, I am ecstatic.

Shoots are rarely perfect for photographer or family, but those moments when they aren't "perfect" are perfect! They are real and unguarded and often are the quintessential representation of that exact moment in time.

 Everyone isn't always smiles. A few years ago, J was not happy and was definitely OVER having his picture taken. If we had waited for him to look at the camera and smile there would be NO pictures that day. This is still one of my favorite family portrait shots. 

We also got some fantastic shots of the whole family. It's real and natural and for me that is what it is all about.



Yesterday we had another awesome shoot. It wasn't perfect but I am in LOVE with these shots. They are unique and genuine and lovely. Thank you to the Cerceo's for allowing me to help record your memories on a regular basis. It's a treasure for me.

Look how they've grown!

I guess the moral is don't get so caught up in the "perfect shot" and instead try to enjoy the time and relish the idea of the memories preserved.






Monday, March 21, 2016

Inspiration, Restarts and a CHALLENGE

First the Inspiration...
I am a mom, peacemaker, wife, caterer (yes lunch packing counts!), visionary, project manager, lounge lizard, reader, advisor, teacher and photographer. Not always in that order and not always at the same time, but these various hats seem to land on my head daily. I was recently asked to contribute a blog for a great site, Invaluable.com with a mention of  http://www.invaluable.com/blog/6-contemporary-landscape-photographers-to-strengthen-any-collection/. Much like the photographers noted in that article. I'm one of those new-era landscape photographers who eschews traditional values and just focuses on capturing the moment in my own unique way". They notice my work and wanted to hear what I had to say. How awesome is that?! (And a bit terrifying, if I'm being honest)
I was flattered and then confused, what was special about my work that they wanted to be a part of it, but have decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and saw that it's a good kick in the pants to get back to my blog (thus the RESTART!). I'm not good at maintaining my blog, primarily because I don't want to sound self-indulgent (like many blogs are), so I've decided to get back to my blog in a careful check on my "all about me quotient" and particularly not going over it. Most will be about photography and how to do it, why it's awesome and important and who's making some great art out there that you may have never heard of. So here we go...


"Dangerous Curve" by Heather Liebler, 2009
I teach a photography class. The first thing I tell them on the very first day is to Shoot with a Purpose. The second thing I tell them is to take a walk that they take everyday, around the block, at the park, at their child's school, and take an extra second or two for every step and notice the world around them. We pass by remarkable things everyday and just don't notice them. We see something and dismiss it as ordinary or ugly and move on past it. I challenge them, and now you, to notice the ordinary or "ugly" and think about why it's labeled as that in our minds. 

I often find a beauty in the "ugly". They are often unique and detailed and intriguing. To me that is beautiful. I love to photograph the ordinary object in a way that makes the viewer stop and notice the beauty and then they just MIGHT notice it more themselves.
 



See the lines and shapes of a rusty gate or a torn tin can
See the way the light falls at the specific time of day
See how the reflection mimics the colors against the grey sky




AND THEN allow yourself the ability and permission to see the world beyond yourself, beyond your immediate and wonder what's beyond it.



Photography can be an incredible tool, at least it has that power for me, to not just self-reflect but to create and evolve.  

Ordinary can be Extraordinary with the right voice. It keeps me grounded and balanced. Not everyone "gets" my photographs all of the time, but I do and that is what matters to me. I create to help myself see and feel and dream and create. I don't have to go to an exotic destination to create beautiful images that make people think and hopefully inspires them.

CHALLENGE DAY: My challenge to you is to photograph a found object in an extraordinary way. Get close to it, maybe move farther away, stand over it, lay under it. Try to find a unique view to give it a voice. Send me your images and we will post a "best of the found objects" giving you full credit to make your voice just a little louder and farther reaching.


******THANK YOU TO invaluable.com for noticing******

Monday, February 1, 2016

Teens with Something To SAY

Teenagers today get such a bad-rap. They are perceived as only interested in themselves and whatever is on their phone. Society seems to think that the only thing on teenagers' phones are a time vortex of facebook,vine, video games and texting. I'm not saying that those things are prevalent in their lives, but maybe, just maybe, they are doing something expressive. I'm a big supporter of Instagram. I love when a teenager looks beyond selfies and starts expressing themselves with creative composition found or created from the world around them. Phones can be a great vehicle for teenagers to look and record beyond themselves, they just need the right tools and motivations. The problem is that you are limited with the a phone's capability when it comes to photography.

A real camera and some basic knowledge of photography and artistic composition can be an amazing tool in the right young, creative hands.I've been thinking that an FUN teen photography workshop could be a great way to get teenagers thinking about CREATING SOMETHING not just taking pictures of themselves. Here are some photographs from my first guinea pig Teen Photography Safari.

The plan is to meet up, chat about photography a bit and then wander around taking pictures and practicing the way we see the world around us. Exploring how to record what they see and make suggestions for more creative compositions or techniques that they could use to develop a unique photographic voice. Please email me or comment and let me know you are interested in the schedule and idea updates as they develop.

This Teen Photography Safari was within two blocks of the Green Uptown. 
Taken without post-processing by Vivien.












All images are the copyrighted property of Vivien Liebler

Contents of Clements Eye Blog is the property of Heather Liebler and Heather Liebler Photography