Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

Ask Anything: Blue Skies and Website Design

Another installment of Ask Anything! Today I wanted to talk a little bit about lighting in harsh sunlight and website design. Random I know, but stick with me:) By NO means do I believe that what I talk about below is the only or right way, but rather it is just what I have found to work best for me. If you have any questions, or suggestions, I welcome your response. My hope is that this series can create a dialog and not be just a one way conversation. Don't forget, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them here or here or leave feedback in the comment section below. And of course you can always send questions my way at I hope that these posts are helpful to you. I'd love feedback on how I can make this series even more beneficial to those reading! On to the questions!

Stephanie asked: Love your recent sneak peak. I have to ask, how did you hold the sky so blue? Are you using flash outdoors? Amazing, they look great!

BEFORE: (SOTC) 85mm, ISO 100, 1/2500, F 3.5

AFTER: Warming in Lightroom, Wish You Were Here Totally Rad Action


None of the images from the First Look were flashed. I was using all natural light despite how bright and high the sun was. Because I had my subject facing into the sun, I was able to capture the bright blue sky behind her. Had I positioned myself facing into the sun (on the other side of the bride), in order to expose for the subject, I would have had to over expose the image, blowing out the sky. I really wanted to create some contrast with this blue sky and the bride's white dress so I challenged myself to see if I could photograph her in the bright, direct sunlight. It also helped that there wasn't a cloud in the sky that day, so no light was diffused or softened. Often this can be SUPER challenging because this lighting can create extremely harsh shadows on your subjects, particularly under the eyes. But in this situation it was beneficial to help create that bright blue sky. You can also see the direction the light was coming from, off to the bride's right. It was never directly hitting her face, which avoided harsh shadows under the eyes and gave a dimensional look to her face. In post processing, I applied Wish You Were Here action from the Totally Rad Action Sets, which increases the vibrancy of the blues and the greens in an image. You can check out Totally Rad here. Hope that helps!:)

Abbey - Hey Deborah! I think you did an awesome job with the evolution of your branding and website. It’s one cohesive look throughout the website and blog. One question – at what point in your business did you decide to invest in a more professional website? I’m in my 1st year of photography and while I’m still trying to find my style, I feel like I’m going to have to have a site that is more “me” and will be more appealing to clients when they visit my site. Hopefully you can address this process in one of your future “Ask Anything” posts. Thanks!

In my very first year of business I hosted a Blu Domain site. Quite honestly I had no idea if this "business thing" would work out and I didn't want to invest in a customized site without knowing if I could make this work! I paid $50 for the site for the whole year! Whaaat?!:) The Blue Domain site worked well for me at the time, but as the business grew I knew I needed a better way to express myself on the internet. Half way through last year I decided that I need to invest in customization and so I contacted my designer (Tara of Stupendous Design) and asked her to help me redesign my web presence. We launched the new design in October of last year through Showit.

I knew I was ready for a new design when I started to see a clearer picture of the clients I wanted and the photographer I was becoming. When you are first starting out (and I am still just starting out!) I think it's hard to figure out who you are as a photographer, who your ideal clients are and what your perfect business looks like. Those things take time and thought and should not be rushed. If you have a clear picture and answers to those questions, and you're financially ready to take that step go for it! But if you're not, don't feel like you need to figure it out all right now. As someone who wants things RIGHT NOW, it's hard for me to learn how to wait. Everyone works in their own time and run their own race. I often need to remind myself that "Rome wasn't built in a day," and that the longer it takes me to build the foundations of my business, the stronger overall it will be. If you'd like to chat more in depth about this, please get in touch!


I am really loving this series, and I am loving all the questions and responses I get from you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. If you have any suggestions on how this series could be improved I'd love to hear from you too! Have a great day!