Engagement Portraits | Austin Texas Wedding

Travis and I are engaged! The past 3 years have been full of adventures and hold many of the best moments of my life. I can’t image anyone better to spend the rest of my life exploring this world with. To announce the news, we headed to the beach to take engagement portraits. The sky cleared up and made for a perfect evening for photos. Here are some of the ones I took at the beach and at home using the tripod and self-timer.





Depth of Field Photography Tutorial | Austin Texas Wedding Photographer

Depth of field is a very important part of photography. Depth of field refers to how much of a photograph is in focus. Aperture, lenses and distance from the subject are all components in depth of field. The zone of sharpness (the subject that is in focus) can be increased or decreased depending on the aperture size.  A wide open aperture will give you the shallowest depth of field. For example, shooting at f1.4 will make your subject in focus and anything behind it or in front of it will be blurry. To give you a visual example of the relationship between aperture settings and depth of field, I took the same photograph 4 times all at different f-stops. You will see that as the numerical f-stops increase more of the image comes into focus.




A shallow depth of field is often ideal for portraits. This allows your subject to be in focus and the background to be soft and out of focus, helping your subject stand out. When shooting landscapes, I typically use a high f-stop for greater depth of field. This allows for maximum sharpness so I do not lose any details in the photograph. The following chart will give you a better idea of what f-stops to use for more or less depth of field.

Metering Tutorial | Austin Texas Wedding Photographer

Metering for the correct exposure is one of the most important aspects when taking a photograph. Metering mistakes when using film makes for a costly oversight. On the other hand, digital photography allows you to see right away whether your exposure is correct, making it easy to learn from your mistakes. Manual mode is the best way to have complete control of your photographs. Manual mode can be intimidating for those new to photography but with patience and practice it becomes second nature when taking a photo.

When looking in the view finder of your camera, you will see a small minus sign, dashes, and a plus sign. It looks similar to this -2..1..’..1..+2 (some cameras don’t have the numbers). This is the light meter. The light meter tells you if too much or not enough light is coming in. If there are multiple dashes towards the minus sign, not enough light is being let in resulting in a dark photo. If multiple dashes are extended towards the plus sign, too much light is coming in resulting in a blown out photo. To get the ‘correct’ exposure, you want to line the dashes up in the center. There are multiple steps to getting the correct exposure. You must set the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed which I will discuss below.

ISO is equivalent to film speed sensitivity. ISO 100 is used in very bright locations, like the beach on a sunny afternoon. Higher ISOs (1600+) are used for very low lighting situations. Higher ISO settings are good when you are taking pictures indoors or at night. The higher the ISO, the more grain and noise you will get. When shooting, especially portraits, I try to use the lowest ISO possible to get clear images without unnecessary noise.

Once I set my ISO based on the lighting, I then set my aperture (also known as the f-stop). The aperture is the opening in a lens in which light travels through. The wider the aperture, the more light allowed in. Smaller aperture numbers equate to wider aperture openings. (This always confused me when I was learning.) For example, f1.4 is a wider aperture than f22. I am a visual learner, so I put together a chart below to show the relation between f-stops.

Aperture Chart  Austin Texas Wedding Photographer

An important note, the aperture controls the depth of field of a photograph. I am not going to go into detail on this today but I included it in the chart for you to see. I will do a separate blog post for depth of field.

The shutter speed is the length of time that the shutter is open. The shutter speed is measured in seconds and fractions of a second. The bigger the denominator the faster the shutter speed. Very fast shutter speeds, such as 1/5000, are good for action shots. This allows for movement to be captured without motion blur. The slowest shutter speed to use with out a tripod is 1/250th second or close to it. Once you get past 1/250th of a second, it becomes difficult to hold the camera steady enough to get a perfectly sharp image. For very low light situations, when using a slower shutter speed, a steady tripod is necessary. If you don’t have a tripod available, try setting your ISO higher or opening your aperture wider to let in more light.

These are just the basics and are by no means rules. In my opinion, the best part of photography is breaking the rules and trying new things. When shooting bridal portraits, I often let in more light than my meter advises. This allows for an etherial, radiant quality of light. When shooting a sunset portrait session in Puerto Rico, I enjoy overexposing photographs to create silhouettes while capturing details in the sky.

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Austin Texas Wedding Photographer.

Austin Texas Portrait Photographer | Surreal

I revamped my fine art website and wanted to share the new look (www.lamclaughlin.com). I keep telling myself that I am going to shoot more film so to get me in the groove I flipped through some old photos. I will be sharing more print scans in the near future.

austintexasportraitphotographer_surreal77Medium format film printed on silver gelatin

Large format film printed on silver gelatinAustinTexasPortraitPhotographer_surreal0nMedium format film printed on silver gelatin

Austin Texas Portrait Photographer | Surreal Photography

Diego ARF | Rincon Puerto Rico Photographer

Diego is an adorable, male dog rescued from the side of the road. Diego is a patient, calm dog who loves people and other animals. He was a great little model! If you are interested in adopting him contact ARF of Rincon.


Check out my wedding photography page for Rincon Puerto Rico Wedding Photography information. Rincon Puerto Rico Photographer.