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Perfect Tips for Summer Shooting

Local photographer Jillian Hafeli recently sent us some useful information on shooting photos during the summer months. Jillian was kind enough to let us pass on some of her knowledge to our customers. A big thanks to Jillian for sharing!

My name is Jillian and I absolutely love to take pictures! I could stop there, but I’ll go on. A few years ago I bought a “nice” camera and began snapping away. I have turned what started as a hobby into a side gig. I work full-time in the legal field, but spend a lot of my spare time behind a camera. I specialize in children’s photography and depending on the weather in Northern Illinois, I prefer outdoor lighting. I’ve come to realize in the short time I’ve been taking pictures; that time of day, lighting and location are of the highest importance when I’m trying to capture the perfect photographic moment.  Here are a few tips I’d like to share with you from my experience..


 Time of Day

Time. Time. Time. Oh, and did we mention… Time! Even more important than weather and location, time is an extremely critical element for your shoot.  I will not shoot during a child’s nap time, feeding time, or a time of day that the child is at their crabbiest.  


If the child is in good spirits I will always choose to shoot then, even if the forecast is saying rain.  Besides, an umbrella can add a nice touch to a picture, not to mention kid’s rain boots…cute!



I’ve found that the best lighting for outside is days that are overcast.  Every time I hear someone complaining about an overcast day, I immediately say, “This is a photographer’s dream day for pictures!”  While blue skies and shining sun is beautiful, it can be a nightmare to a photographer.


Sun shining on your subject can cast a shadow over his or her face, creating a dissatisfying outcome.

Getting the correct lighting of your photo is also of the greatest importance. Manipulating where you position the sun in a photograph can help this immensely. I try to make sure that if the sun is not shining directly on my subject’s face, he or she should be completely in the shade.  On the other hand, if the sun is shining and there is no shade in sight, just go with it and you can get a shot like this!



There are two things that will be in every picture you take: your subject and location. The thing that can make or break a picture is a great location. That’s one of the main reasons I prefer outside photography; who wants a cluttered kitchen in the background of their pictures?  I enjoy a very natural look, with nothing distracting from my subject. The key is to pick a place with abstract backgrounds.

I always look for a local park that has any of the following; a bridge with distressed wood, a brick building, water, long paths, tall weeds, or benches.  You want to make sure that the items in your background won’t take away from the picture. Instead it will add character or blend in and not be unnoticeable.  I try to steer clear of orange street cones, random people, and most of all, big street lights and wires. 

Final Word - Pick the right time, be sure to test your lighting, and choose a great location.  By starting with these simple tasks, everything else should come into focus.  Happy shooting!


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