Yay! Here's our first learning! It's all about LIGHTING.
This can be the difference between a poor photograph and a great photograph.
Today we will learn about lighting photographs well in your home and outdoors, some handy tips that only take a few seconds to implement,
and we have a fun task this week to practice your new learned skills.
There is a huuuuuge technical side to lighting, but we won’t be having tech chat here today.
So what DO you need to know about lighting to use it to your advantage?
- Natural light is light that comes from the sun or moon. Artificial light is light that comes from lamps, lightbulbs, headlights, torches, streetlights.
- Using artificial lighting takes a lot of practice and it’s really beneficial to learn the tech side to using it, so we can understand it. Once we understand it, we can control it to create the mood, texture and brightness that we desire in an image. Because we aren’t going into the technical side here, we will focus on natural light today.
- Natural light is my favourite! Firstly it’s all around us in abundance, it’s easy to use at any given moment and
it produces beautiful flattering photographs.
- If we want a brightly lit photograph inside, we need to increase the natural light available on our subject. This can be done by opening curtains and doors and positioning the subject near the light – so sometimes we need to move ourselves to get the best natural light.
- We also need to look at how we position the subject and the camera in relation to the light. If the natural light is behind the camera facing the subject, the subject will be brightly lit. If the natural light is behind the subject facing the camera, we can have a huge shadow on the subjects face. If the subject is on an angle to the light source, so the light is falling across their face, we can have a brightly lit photograph but with some shadows creating mood and tone. Play around with it this week!
- Sometimes the light will be too bright or too harsh. How can we fix this? We “diffuse” it.
The easiest way to do this is with a day blind or sheer curtains.
- A little note on photographing people in natural light…
we all want to look our best in photographs and one easy way we can help is by making sure the lighting doesn’t create harsh shadows on the face, especially under the eyes, as this definitely doesn’t give us our desired effect!
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
When I am welcomed into a clients home to document their memories, I will wonder from room to room and turn off all the overhead lights.
"But don't lights bring "light" to the photos?"
Whilst they do, they don't bring flattering light. Being lit from above creates shadows around our eyes, creates a colour cast and isn't very nice.
So take a second to turn off the overhead lights.
WITH OVERHEAD LIGHTS OFF
WITH OVERHEAD LIGHTS ON
OPEN THE CURTAINS
This might sound a bit obvious to some, but open the curtains or blinds to let the light stream into the room.
Again, this only takes a second to do and makes a huge difference to your finish photographs.
Do you have day blinds? It can be fun to play with these to see if you prefer the look of them closed or opened. Day blinds do definitely reduce the level of light streaming in but can also provide a nice neutral background if the view outside isn't desirable.
WITH CURTAINS CLOSED
WITH CURTAINS OPEN
What about outdoors?
Not all sunlight is great in photographs! Here's a few elements we are seeking:
- avoid shooting during the day, unless it's an overcast day. A sunny day will act like overhead lighting indoors, in that it creates unflattering shadows on our faces. If you can't avoid shooting at this time (and honestly, it can be more important to capture the true moment!), aim to position those you're photographing in the shade. This will remove any shadows!
- try to shoot at "golden hour". This is the hour after sunrise and before sunset when the sky is it's prettiest and the sun is low, meaning we have flattering light - golden light! This is the time of day that I aim to photograph outdoor sessions.
- be creative with the positioning. Having the sun to a 45 degree angle to their faces is great! Front on can get squinty eyes, and with practice behind can look amazing at golden hour, but not so much during the day.
YOUR WEEKLY TASK
This week, I want you to practice your lighting skills.
For your task, seek out the light in your home. Take note of what time of day the light hits rooms or spots beautifully.
Create and capture a moment next to one of the windows.
Remember the tips you have learnt today.
When you have your moment captured,
send the photograph through to me!
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOGRAPH
Email your photograph to
with the subject line
Make sure when attaching the photograph you select "actual size"
I am always here to support you. Whether you have a question, a concern or you want to show me the images you are taking!
The best way to contact me is via email at