Updated: Sep 17

photography tricks for natural light photographers
Can you tell what is wrong with this photo?

Many factors contribute to great photography, but none is more important than light. The light source of your photographs will affect their character and mood.

One of the most common mistakes, whether it be an SLR or a mobile phone, is the incorrect use of available light.

photography tricks for natural light photographers
Pic 1 & 2 shot with the Nikon D750 ISO 400 at f/2.8

Above I zoomed in on the image to give you a better example. To an untrained eye. The image looks perfectly fine, however, look at her right hand. It is completely blown out or, better know as overexposed. There are pockets of light bouncing everywhere, distracting you from the subject. The right-hand side of her forehead is also overexposed casting unflattering shadows around her eyes.

This shoot, in particular, was a test shoot for siblings I have coming up in the next couple of weeks and unlike my model Liz I won't be able to pose a 6 and in particular a 2 year old. So the lighting has to be even, enabling them plenty of room to move freely without moving into those pockets of harsh light.

Time of day is very important when shooting, whether you are shooting portraits, family, furry friends, or landscapes. Try not to shoot between 11 am and 3 pm. When the sun is at its harshest, it's definitely not a good idea if you're trying to up your photography game.

Nothing beats the beautiful glow of a dawn sun slowly lighting up the sky or the colors it radiates as dusk descends into darkness. And you landscape photographers, the closer to dusk or dawn the better.

photography tricks for natural light photographers
Shot with the Nikon D750 ISO 400 at f/2.8

This morning, we started shooting at 9:30 am, this tells me that in order for me to photograph the siblings at the same location as the first picture with the water behind them with all that lush greenery, I would need to be there at 8:00 am.

Calculating the placement of light is something that comes with experience and plenty of practice. I have a giggle when I remember how Mother nature loves to play tricks on me. I want a sunny day but she is overcast, in which case, I will push the shoot forward an hour to let more light in.

Clouds are mother nature's natural filter. So if you are shooting weddings, it's a stress-free day. It was my saving grace as a Wedding photographer.

If you can't come back to the same location. The answer is simple, move your subjects, walk further down the river. You can see the improvement it makes to this 3rd image.

And with this last image, we walked further into the river and away from all the harsh light and pockets of harsh light. You will see surroundings softening, the water is clearer. Her skin tones have evened out. Looking magical and creative.

effective natural lighting tips for amateurs
Shot with the Nikon D750 ISO 400 at f/2.8

Just by adopting these techniques. No more unflattering shadows. Photos begin to pop.

These techniques are simple, effective and they work. And, like I said, these techniques apply whether it's an SLR or a mobile phone. Just ensure even light on your subject's face and this will put you on the right path to taking excellent photos.

Be on the lookout by following me on my socials below to see the creative images I shot on this day. It involves feathers.

Now get shooting.

Brenda ☕️ 📷

Updated: Sep 14

Meet Jak McPhail Adonic Art’s International Women of the year 2021.

For over a decade Jak has been the Greenslopes State School Crossing Guard Supervisor, or as the children affectionately call her "lollypop lady," but she is more than that.

I think the initial thing that struck me about this extraordinary woman was her ability to interact with the children. Ensuring, she sends them into school with a smile on their faces. Remembering what each child says to her daily and communicating the same topic of conversation the next time she sees that child. What astounds me is that she does that with every single little person who comes her way.

In Jak's own words, “If a child is crossing the street and is trying to tell me something, I will wait until they have expressed what they need to say. I will hold traffic up if I have to. What they say is important, they need to be heard and I am there to listen.”

Now let's talk about those shorts, intensely bright and very on-trend with what the kids want. Collectively she has 84 and growing. She is forever sourcing materials because children are always asking her to find more. They will usually ask, “Jak, do you have ones with donuts on them? What about Star Wars? What about Elsa?"

Remembering names and conversations is only part of what Jak does. Her commitment to the children runs deep, an exemplary member of the P&C, she attends all meetings with the school’s best interests in mind.

Jak considers the school community as her family and she has stepped forward to stand in as a Grandparent on Grandparent’s day when children have needed one.

Greenslopes State School houses families that speak twenty-eight languages, with various children born in fourteen different countries. Jak understands and acknowledges how diverse the school community is, therefore she converses with children and parents to the best of her ability that come from varied cultures. It is important to Jak to make them feel a part of the school community. To give families a sense of belonging.

I’m not the only person who thinks she’s the bomb in 2020: Jak attracted the attention of the Australian Government with her tireless volunteer work. On Australia day she was recognised and given an award for her outstanding achievements.

Passionate about our environment, she works collectively towards reducing our carbon footprint, advocating recycling by educating children, parents, and peers. Jak was the initial organiser for cans for change within the school. With every cent going straight back to the school.

Jak is an outstanding pillar of the community, kind, giving, empathetic, a shoulder to lean on and we are so very fortunate to have her. A big thank you, Jak, for your tenacious efforts and selfless acts that have made a difference to so many children and their families. Our community has a hero, and we are so much better off with you in it.

Meet Firefighter Hayley Wentworth Adonic Art's International woman of the year.

Adonic Art International Woman of the Year 2020, Hayley Wentworth.

Never have I been so humbled as the day that I turned up to photograph firefighter Hayley, who is stationed at Crows Nest. I mean how do you even begin to say thank you to someone for choosing a job so selfless, so honourable. A person so committed to helping others. For the first time in my life I was rendered speechless.

I was feeling overwhelmed with emotion given our recent summer was deemed the harshest Australia has ever seen. So, while I vacation with my family and while we sat safe in our home and tried and not to inhale the outside air. Our emergency services were in the middle of a blazing fury.

“Can you drive this?” I asked excitedly. “Absolutely!” She replied confidently.

About ten minutes into our shoot, Hayley and her platoon had to respond to an emergency call. Enabling the perfect opportunity to catch her in action.

Click play below as Hayley gets prepared for anything. Make sure you turn the volume up.

To be a Firefighter is so much more than fighting fires as they are trained in many aspects such as.

· Fire prevention and investigation

· Community education

· Home Recovery

· Management of hazardous, toxic and flammable materials

· Recovery after storm

· Flood Responding to rescue calls throughout the State

· Animal rescue

· Open doors for medical & life-threatening situations

· Carrying out building inspections to prepare risk assessment

Another part of a firefighter’s job is to assist in industrial and transport incidents, including road accidents. When attending an incident, firefighters may be required to provide basic first aid until the NSW Ambulance arrive. They provide comfort to victims and advise the public to stay clear of the area.

With this in mind and on a personal note, a month ago my family was directly involved in a horrific car accident in the airport tunnel, taking the life of a friend & seriously injuring three others. So, when Hayley tried to show me the instruments, they use to cut people out of cars, I couldn't bring myself to photograph or even look at the tools. It was too soon. Having come straight from the hospital it triggered me to a dark place. As I listened to Hayley blinking back my tears, I couldn't begin to imagine what she had seen or what risks lay ahead. Yet the dedication in her voice was clearly second to none.

I know deep in my heart that It takes a special kind of person that places their own life in danger to save the life of another. To be a firefighter you need to rely on all your senses, to be committed to your platoon. A firefighting role is psychologically & physically demanding, especially during major emergencies, and involves quick thinking, endurance and teamwork. Firefighters often Work in stressful situations, particularly when people are threatened with injury or injured.

Hayley and Claudia pride themselves on making nutritious meals for their platoon.
An honourable mention goes out to firefighter Claudia Attanasio. Pictured to the right of Hayley.

Pictures above Hayley and Claudia pride themselves on cooking nutritious meals for their platoon.

Just when you think our honourable woman can't get any more selfless, insert hubby (who is also a firefighter) and their two gorgeous children. Hayley still manages to provide a loving environment as a mother and wife. With so much on the line and so much to lose, this beautiful family still manages a healthy work life balance.

Hayley & Rob work on different 24-hour shifts, the balancing act requires 100% emotional and physical effort at work and 100% emotional & physical effort at home.

Having two parents to tuck the children in of an evening at the Wentworth household is rare.

Maintaining good health and physical fitness is also required to be a firefighter.

As you can see from the images below the Wentworth's are a picture of health. Adopting a healthy diet and implementing physical activity to keep fit.

Hayley you pave the way and set an example to all women, the message is clear. Women can do anything they put their minds to. Your passion for your family, peers and your job is outstanding. You are proof that all superheroes don't have to wear capes.

It is an absolute honour to have nominated you the Adonic Art International Woman of the Year 2020.

We thank you for your service.