Photographing the San Antonio Missions

Yes, I’m finally back blogging. It has been awhile, but here is part of the reason for the absence.

San Antonio, Texas is a great city for photography. Photographing the San Antonio missions is something everyone who visits the city should try to do. The four missions were built in San Antonio by Spanish missionaries and are named as follows: Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada. Each of these missions presents amazing opportunities to learn about history,cultures, and your creativity. Yes, one may learn about and develop a new sense of creativity at these locations, because of how many different subjects there are. So, I now present the audience with tips for photographing the San Antonio Missions and missions in general.

  1. Look Up – Many missions have domes near the front of the church at the mission. If the church has a dome, it is likely that the dome will be painted and present a unique subject for a photograph. Many people usually overlook the dome, because one would have to be looking up; which, is unusual, but makes for a great photograph. These churches usually have dim lighting, so it is likely a long-exposure photograph will be necessary. Either a tripod or a very steady hand is necessary. In my case I have neither, so I ended up laying down on the church’s floor and received some interesting looks, but it was worth it.IMG_0804 IMG_0412 IMG_0377
  2. Try different angles – Taking photos from your normal upright and straight forward position is easy; however, these may not be the most interesting photos. Instead try getting low to the ground or standing at an angle. The subjects in these kinds of photos are, in my opinion, more interesting.IMG_0799IMG_0344
  3. Stacking and Framing – These are two photographic concepts that are presented frequently at missions. Stacking many subjects in a photograph can create a captivating effect. Framing focuses the audience in on the subject and creates a more natural introduction to the subject. This can be achieved by finding many candles in a row, for stacking, or many arches. For framing, one may use an old window or tree branches.

IMG_0386 IMG_0394Hopefully these tips can help some of you if you ever decide to visit one of the many missions located in the southwestern United States. Here are some more photographs from the trip.IMG_0366 IMG_0407 IMG_0431 IMG_0791 IMG_0916 IMG_0689 IMG_0552If you enjoyed this post please like or comment.


Luminescent Lighting

Lighting is what gives a photograph a personality. As a photographer one should say do I want this photo to be apparent or mysterious, vivid or bland, happy or depressed. These moods can be achieved by knowing how to use the four kinds of lighting.

  1. Diffused lighting – Lighting is spread evenly throughout the photo. Diffused lighting minimizes shadows in photos and ,some times, can eliminate all shadows in photos. Diffused lighting can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles in photos, so many portraits of older subjects use diffused lighting to their advantage. Diffused lighting can be created naturally when the sky is overcast. Since the sunlight is having to travel through a layer of clouds, the light is spread out. Diffused lighting creates a mysterious or bland scene; however, it all depends on the subject. As seen in the photo below there are no apparent shadows and the lighting is mostly even throughout the photo due to an overcast sky.grad
  2. Back lighting – Caused when the light source is located behind the subject. Excellent for creating a sense of drama and for creating silhouettes. Back lighting is simple to achieve, especially around sunrise and sunset. When the sun is at a low position in the sky it is easier to place a subject in between the sun and camera creating back lighting. As seen in the photo below some storm clouds are back lit by the setting sun creating a silhouette of the clouds.clouds
  3. Front lighting – Caused when the light source is in front of the subject. Unfortunately, front lighting places shadows behind the subject and can cause these photos to appear “flat”. The flat feeling is a result of the loss of shadows and makes these photos seem more two dimensional. The photo below is an example of front lighting. Now, while this photo is not exceptionally flat, due to the motion of the water, it is still front lighting.
  4. Side lighting – Caused when the source of lighting is located at one side of a subject. As a result of the source of light coming from one side of the subject, usually one half of the subject will be well lit, while the other half is covered in a shadow. The subjects curves and edges are noticeable allowing for the differentiation of elevation on the subject. Side lighting can cause a three dimensional effect to appear in a photo. Side lighting is also exceptionally good for dramatic photos. As seen below the subject is side lit allowing for parts of the rock formation to be well lit, while other areas are blanketed by shadows.


If you enjoyed this post please like or comment. Do it. He’s watching YOU!