Half-week homework: Easter

In case you haven’t heard (or been in a grocery store lately), Easter is this Sunday, the 21st. There’s a very specific decorative style and color palette associated with this holiday, making it an ideal opportunity to stretch your photographic legs. There are many ways to approach it, so I’ve divided my examples and suggestions into categories for this one! Whatever your feelings or traditions, I’d love for you to share the images you capture this weekend. Post em’ to our Facebook page or on Instagram with the tags #mymikescamera and #halfweekhomework.

First and foremost, Easter is a sacred day for a majority of those celebrating. If you’re so disposed, tap into your faith and let it inspire your photos. It may feel a little odd to create religious imagery, but it can be a great way to commune with the ineffable as well as communicate what it means to you. One really wonderful picture, emailed to the family or printed on a custom greeting card, can say more than you could with hours of discussion.

In trying to express something powerful, you’re also guaranteed to end up finding yourself using unexpected techniques once you get into the flow. The black and white photo of the rosary below, for example, is not a composite. I used a LitraTorch shining through a shelving peg hole to create the starburst, after getting a great many so-so results using frontal lighting and other locations. I went monochrome, but it’s worth noting that colored filters like the ones at this link can make for striking, surreal starbursts.

It’s also a spring-time holiday, and that means (as I mentioned before) flowers are at their best! Lilies and tulips are the most traditional, but anything suitably pastel or in the right setting can scream “Easter.” A ring light and macro lens are highly recommended for outstanding flora photos, as they can help you isolate your subjects from backgrounds in which they could get lost. (If you don’t have a true macro lens, close-up filters are an inexpensive way to give new capabilities to the lenses you do have.) Taking them inside or setting up some kind of very dark background is a great help, too.

There are plenty of opportunities for less religiously-inclined photographers to enjoy the day, too. Most obvious, of course, are the bunnies. Chocolate or otherwise, they are pretty dang cute.

Close behind in popularity are the dyed eggs. Not only can you get great photos of kids hard at work on their art (hand close-ups, anyone?), but after the eggs are fancified, their prop potential is prodigious. Go on a reverse Easter egg hunt and see how many places you can think of to put the eggs for creative photos!

Speaking of the little egg artists, I’d be remiss to miss the most popular Easter photo subject of all: the family. Be sure to get at least one quality group portrait since everyone’s in one place, for once, and be sure to go wild with the kids. Whether they’re dressed up, in action hunting eggs, or simply enjoying being around a group of loved ones, it’s a golden opportunity—and if you recruit an assistant, you can fill it with natural golden light (or silver, or diffused white…) with a handy reflector kit, without having to worry about setup or power for lighting equipment.

Take lots of candid shots, too, and remember to grab a nice, fast lens. The wide aperture will help you get shutter speeds fast enough to freeze action shots as well as blur your backgrounds for studio-style portraits in natural habitats.

And, if you’ve got a model who’s willing to get a little bit goofy, fluffy rabbit ears never hurt anyone.

Bonus challenge: think waaaaay outside the box…

For the contingent not excited by pastel, there is an alternative opportunity. Take themes and images associated with Easter and push them to their absolute limit. Say something meaningful, or just get weird! Photography is a language of art as rich as any other, and there’s no limit to what you can do.

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