Lighting. Wow, that’s the one thing that can make the difference between a great shot and a poor one. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any tips on taking photos in the dark (ie. at night or indoors without windows), because I’m terrible at that. I was just at Barnes & Noble yesterday, reading for free perusing a possible buy, leafing through the book to find indoor photography tips. I have a lot to learn. The only time I take indoor shots in the evening is when I must, like for birthdays. Every birthday photo I have is ugly. Seriously. You’ll never see them.
Oh, but natural lighting…I do love natural lighting. I’ve found that the best lighting is in the early part of the day or late in the day. There is just absolutely no point in trying to take nice photos on a sunny Summer day at 2pm when the sun is high up and the shadows are harsh. You can sometimes capture good lighting in the mid-day if the shade is right, or the weather brings in a storm, but for the best bet, shoot in the early morning or late afternoon.
Early Morning Light. I have, um, just 2 photos to show you of early morning. Still working on becoming a morning person. The below photos were taken around 5:30am in January, the day after I got my new camera lens. I was so excited to use it that I literally woke up before the sun and waited for the light. I was given the gift of capturing a few birds (on film):
We can even take pretty shots indoors by windows, if the lighting is right. You’ll know when it’s right. You’re attracted to a certain rocking chair or a certain room at a certain time of each day, right? Why? Because the lighting is so pretty then. Just go with your instincts. They’re right.
This one was taken indoors, by a window, around 2-3pm in February:
Afternoon Light. I thought I’d post some photos of a single photo session, taken in January on the American Gulf Coast (that matters, since our sun is probably brighter, and you may need to adjust somewhere else), around 1-2pm (which is not “late in the day,” but then again, it is, since it’s Winter in January here and the sun is down by 5pm). I took the shots within a span of probably an hour or less. They show you what happens as your subject moves into the sun or into the shade, and if the camera does the same.
Side Lighting. Here, you can see that our little gal is running out of the shade and into the sun. The sun is behind me (the camera), and is side-lighting her. This is the (sad) day I realized her legs had grown out of that dress. Sigh.
Shade on a Bright Day. This shot was taken right before or after the shot above, but was taken in the shade. I’m (the camera) still standing in the same spot. Oh, I really hope he didn’t miss that ball.
Light coming into the Camera Lens. The below shots show what happens when the camera lens is collecting a lot of light coming into it.
In the shot on the left, the subject (my man) is the shade, but this time the sun is to the front-right of the camera, so it is able to collect quite a bit of light, washing the photo out much more than it did the photos above.
When my man moved in front of the sun, the camera lens collected a full barrel of sunlight, so I got the photo on the right. See how the background totally washes out?
That washed-out background wouldn’t always be a good effect, but I love it for that shot. It frames him nicely, making him pop out. Which, of course, since it’s my handsome man, I don’t mind a bit.
Here is another photo taken in almost the same spot, also with a washed-out background.
In this photo, I loved that washed-out-background effect so much that I edited it (Photoshopped), putting a bit more saturation back into the photo. It is one of my favorites of our littles ones. For one thing, they’re happy with each other and showing a bit of love for once, but also, the effect of the lighting makes their blue eyes pop and gives the little angels a bit of a halo effect.
Oh, great, I just said “edit.” That opens another can of worms, and one that I really really know nothing about. I’m just playing, self teaching myself. Go to Pioneer Woman’s Photography blog for some great down-to-earth advice from another self-learner.
Today: Get the Light Right
Yesterday’s tip from the non-expert: Be Odd
Tuesday’s tip: Get Cozy with Your Subject
Monday’s tip: Take Lots of Shots. Lots.
Tomorrow we’re sharing photos. Ready? I hope you’ll share your good and bad shots with us, too! (and this time, I won’t make you wait half the day to see the post. It will go up at about midnight CST tonight).