Everyone wants to take photos of sunrises and more want to get a good sunset. I did a quick post last weekend on how I get the colours of those, and today I thought I would give you some tips on how to predict whether you will get a sunset or a sunrise.

One of the things you need to keep an eye on for sunrises, and sunsets, is the weather.  You really need to watch the weather forecast.



To get a good sunrise the weather for the day you want to take photographs has to be bad, or will be changing for the worse.  If the forecast is for a storm that day, or rain, or something that will be worse than the previous day, then the chances are good for a great sunrise.

The other thing you need is some cloud.  Not so much that they block out the sun as it comes up, but scattered clouds.  If you wake up and can see that the sky is overcast, then chances are you won’t get much.  I usually stay home then.  If you see that there are no clouds in the sky at all, you will get some colour near the horizon, but it won’t be brilliant.  Remember the colours are the sun reflecting off the clouds.



Sunsets work the same way with the clouds, if you want the ribbons of colour, or the brilliant colours in the sky, then you need the clouds.  Overcast and too think clouds will show nothing.  scattered clouds are the best.

Unlike sunrises, the forecast has to be for brilliant weather the next day.  I think it is good if you have a good day and the forecast for the next day is even better.  The better the weather the next day, the better the sunset.

Of course this is what we predict, it doesn’t actually mean it will happen.  It can all seem like the perfect conditions, and then nothing happens, or not much. Then there will be days where you thought you woudn’t get anything and you get something spectacular. You will also get better sunsets or sunrises depending on the time of year and where you live, that is something that you will have to experiment with.

Good luck, I hope this helps you get some great photos of the colours in the sky.

On a side note, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, please remember this is how I make my living, so it would be wonderful if you would consider making a small donation.


Some Tips on Photographing the Milky Way

leannecole-milkyway-pointleo-9768I showed some photos today on my main blog of the Milky Way, that I photographed last night and I have had quite a few people ask me what settings I used, so I thought I would do a quick post on what I did.

We traveled away from the city lights as much as possible, so were down on the coast.  We both had apps on our phones that would tell us where the milky way was, though you can kind of see it.

I used a Nikon D800 camera with a 14-24mm 2.8 lens.  Earlier in the day I tried to focus the lens for infinity, put tape on the lens and then turned the lens and camera onto manual focus.

The camera was mounted on a tripod and the lens was pointed in the direction I wanted.  I sent the mode to manual on the camera, put the aperture on f/2.8, the shutter speed on 30 seconds and the ISO on 6400.  Then I took some photos.  You do have to do stuff with the images on the computer, but you can do what you need to with Lightroom.

I did play around with the ISO and took some at 3200, some at 4000, but most of them were at 6400.

It is quite easy to do once the camera is set up, you just keep clicking.

Good luck.

On a side note, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, please remember this is how I make my living, so it would be wonderful if you would consider making a small donation.


The Concept in Conceptual Photography

LeanneCole-woodlandBrideThe other day I went to an event and it was about creative portraiture, or conceptual photography.  I tend to call conceptual photography Fine Art Photography.  The event was to teach people how to do conceptual photography.  I didn’t stay for it, I realised after a while that it really wasn’t for me and is something I have been doing for many many years.

Over the last couple of days since I went I have been thinking about the word conceptual and how it applies here.  It is one thing to do it, and another to be able to explain what it is to other people.  I thought in this post we could look at what conceptual photography is, or rather my understanding of it.  It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

You start with an idea, that idea can come from anywhere.  You see a scene in a movie and suddenly ideas for images are bouncing around your head. Maybe you open a magazine and more ideas start happening.  You start thinking about how this image could come together.  What do you need to make it happen?  Where are you going to take the photos?  Do you need some props?  Do you need a model and who will that model be?

You have a concept of what you want, now you just need to make it happen.  That is conceptual photography, at least how I understand it to be.

I have included an image with this post, the image is called “The Woodland Bride”, an image I took last year.  I am going to talk about how the idea started, and how I made my conceptual image a reality.

I had been watching some things on the internet with an artist who was using cheesecloth to make costumes.  I liked the idea of it, but didn’t want to do exactly the same.  I was also fascinated with the idea of brides.  I think it was because I had been asked to photograph a wedding.  I wondered what it would be like to photograph someone dressed like a bride, but use the cheesecloth and make it all raggedy.  When I got married I didn’t have a traditional wedding, I didn’t really have a wedding dress, and this idea has been festering in my head, the idea of the bridal gown, that was never worn, but keeps coming out.  Worn out by time.  There was the basic concept.

I talked to a friend and she said she would model it for me.  She said that there was this beautiful spot up at her fathers house that she thought I would like.  She was right, I did like it.  I dressed her, or rather put the fabric around her to make her wedding gown.  I tore it more as I was doing it.  Then I gave her the veil.  I put it over her face because I wanted her to be anonymous.  We realised we didn’t have a bouquet, every bride should have one. We looked around and I started picking up sticks.  The sticks were perfect with the concept.  While not originally part of the concept initially they worked well with it.

During the shoot I took many images, but this is the one that seemed to work the best.  I am very pleased with how it came out.

This is how I come up with my ideas, and I am sure many of you have been doing conceptual photography for a long time and didn’t realise that you were.

Sorry, I can’t get the comments here working, but feel free to email me if you have any questions.

On a side note, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, please remember this is how I make my living, so it would be wonderful if you would consider making a small donation.


Entering a Competition

leannecole-pinklakes-6171Well I did it, I got all my images ready and changed them to the right size. I even read the terms and conditions.  A good thing to do when you are entering a competition.  I am so proud of myself.

If you are interested in entering competitions then there is a website that is apparently very good for finding them, and they help narrow down the right ones for you. The site is called Photo Contest Insider.

The image with this post is one of the ones I entered.

MMC13 submissions closing soon.

Only one left to get your images in for the Monochrome Madness challenge this week.


Here are the details if you would like to send me an image for this week.

Now, if you wish to participate and submit an image here is how you do it:-

  • You must email me the image you want to include and if you have a blog or website, or somewhere else, please include the link. My email address is
  • The image size should be as small as it can be, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • Please insert either your name or your blogs name in the file name.
  • Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.
  • Please remember to resize your images, it is fairly simply, you just need to go into any editing software and usually under Image you will find, resize, scale, or image size, something like that and you can resize your image there. Change the dimensions to pixels and make the longest side 1000 pixels or smaller, hit return, and for most types of software that should change the other side automatically as well. Just remember to save it with a different name so you know it is the smaller version.  If you have any problems, please contact me, I don’t mind helping out.

Please note you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger to be in this challenge, you can have a link to a Facebook page, a Flickr page, anywhere really, or no link.  We just want to encourage people to do monochrome images, just for the madness of it.

Just to let you know also, that as soon as the challenge is published, all emails and images you have sent me are deleted from my computer.  I respect your copyright and would never keep any of the images.

Getting the Colours of the Sunset or Sunrise

This morning I went out early to see if I could get a sunrise, I have written a post about this already, Weekend Wanderings – Sunrise Over the Flats, but I thought I might talk about how to take sunrise and sunset photos so you get the colours of what you are actually seeing.


If you look at this image, taken with my phone and processed with Instagram you can see great colours in the water, but not in the sky.  The colours were there in the sky, but they didn’t come out.  Sometimes phones and compact cameras can capture great sunsets and sunrises, but I often find it difficult with my DSLR.

I used to go out and I would be very disappointed with my images because I would get home and the colours would be so washed out.  So through experience I have taught myself how to get the brilliant colours of the sunset or sunrise.


This is how I do them.  I use spot focusing and spot metering.  If there isn’t anything in the sky to focus on, I will focus on something else, then set my focus to manual.  I then move my point so that it is on some part of the colour in the sky or a cloud.  Now that point or spot will meter for that part of the image and I will get the lovely deep colours that you get with these sort of images.

If you do overall metering, then as it gets darker your camera will try to compensate and make everything lighter, and you will lose those deep vibrant colours.

I hope this helps you the next time you are out taking photos of the sunset or sunrise.

On a side note, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, please remember this is how I make my living, so it would be wonderful if you would consider making a small donation.


Taking Photos of People

LeanneCole-briony-9116Today I was teaching a photography class and we were looking at Portrait photography.  I try to give my students as much information as I can about photographing people.  I know that portrait photography is really popular and it can be a lot of fun, but it can also be quite scary.

You can have a model standing there in front of you.  You have the camera and you are taking the photos, but do you know what you are doing?  Do you know how to talk to the model or whoever is standing in front of you?

I have taught quite a few portrait classes now and it always amazes me how shy people are when they have someone in front of them to take photos of.

Some suggestions, spend time with the person you are taking photos of first.  Have a coffee or cup of tea and just talk them, build a relationship with them.  Never underestimate how important small talk is.

Remember when you are talking their photo that they need you to guide them.  They can’t see what you are seeing, so they need you to tell them what to do.  Try asking them to move or something. Change directions, or put their hands somewhere else.

Keep up the small talk, the more comfortable they feel with you the better the images that you get will be.

If you have trouble thinking of poses on the spot, then consider doing a list of poses before hand and just go through them.  Many professional photographers use them.

Good luck with taking your portrait photographs.

MMC12 Submissions Closed

Tuesday night here and for anyone wanting to submit an image it will now have to wait until MMC13.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted images for the post this week.

Teaching Classes

One of the ideas behind having this here is so you and others can be kept up to date with what my plans are for teaching and other aspects of my business.  I do really want to push the sccitysheep-hpm2471-3teaching thing, and so this news blog is going to be great for that.

So, with that in mind, I have some things I want to announce.

Online One on One Photo Editing

I am going to offer online classes for people who want to learn photo editing.  We will do them using Skype.  They will still be One on One classes at this stage.  The price will be the same, AUD$150 for two hours.

Pricing for the One on One classes I think are fair and reasonable, however, I will be adding packages for people who would like to do more than one.  Will publish those soon.

Go to the One on One Photo Editing page for more details.

Photo Walks

I am also planning on developing some photo walks for people to come out with me to take photos.  There will be a variety of places, different dates, different days different times.  At this stage they will be $50 for each one.

These walks will be ideal for people who don’t want to go out on their own and want company when they go.  Especially for early morning and late night photography.  There might also be some day trips to places.

I would also like to hear from people about where they are interested in going as well and I can see if I can plan some trips there.

So tuned for more information on these coming soon.