When to Use a Polarizing Filter

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Today’s feature is from .

Jes says:

“Marlene contacted me through Instagram and asked if I would want to come to her home to photograph her and her husband, Salo, in their natural environment to celebrate their pregnancy.

I believe she was around 5 months in these photos. After a bit of Instagram research, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

She was half yogi, half fashion expert. Her hair was cropped and her face bare, but she made sure to ask my advice when choosing which Chanel or Jimmy Choo heels to throw on – “even if they aren’t in the photograph”.

Salo is a Grammy-winning Latin composer, and he serenaded us on the piano during the entire session, only taking his eyes off the keys to gaze at his wife. This was simply them, and I just happened to be in the room with a camera.

For the outdoor images, Marlene and I chose a white, Free People gown from her wardrobe, and we headed down the road to a nature reserve in Laguna Beach. She opted to go barefoot, of course.

Even though I had only known them for two hours, by the end of the session I felt as though I was part of their family.

By starting in their home and watching them go about their normal routine, (interacting with each other as if I wasn’t there), I felt perfectly comfortable posing them in a wide outdoor setting.

The arrangements felt natural for all of us, and I do believe it was because they had welcomed me into their personal environment versus a photographer hosting a family in the comfort of their own studio/common shooting location.

It was truly a magical session, and Marlene and Salo welcomed their baby boy, Julian, into the world just four weeks ago.”

Jes’s Photography Tip:

Soft, natural window light is my dream, and their home happened to have plenty of it. Even in areas that it didn’t, a little grain and a bumped ISO doesn’t bother me as it tends to add to the raw feeling of the photos.

For lens choice, the indoor space was also small, and I wanted to be as intimate as possible with my framing. I used my 50mm 1.4 and stayed between 1.4 and 2.0.

The outdoor light was also rare for Southern California – a thin blanket of sea fog had yet to burn off at our 1pm session, allowing for a softly-lit afternoon.

For this part of the session, I pulled out my 24-70 with a circular polarizer filter – which is a must for capturing the landscape and retaining the highlights of the sky and background in the bright California light.

There wasn’t any blue sky on this day, but the rocks and dress would have been more overexposed for my liking (had I exposed for the shadows without a polarizer). They save me every time!

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Jes used a Canon 5D MK III with a Canon 50 1.4 lens and a Canon 24-70 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Jes Workman is a Greater Los Angeles Area, CA Wedding and Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Camera Settings.


Maternity photos can be a lot of fun, especially when you get to photograph the mother during pregnancy, and then the newborn once they’ve been welcomed into the world.

One of the best ways to do that is set up a package that includes a maternity session and a newborn session. If you’re still struggling with pricing and packaging, there’s a lot of great resources out there to help you sort it all out.

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