A Little Byrdie Told Me | The Light Effect

Photographer John Berger once said, “What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are time and light.” Often overlooked, light is a fundamental aspect in photography. 

Today is International Day of Light and as a primarily natural light photographer, I wanted to share three light tips to help you in your photography, whether it’s a camera phone or DSLR. 

Find the Light

Since one of the primary ingredients of a good photograph is light, you need to find it! If you’re taking a photo indoors try to find a space that is well lit and bright. Large windows with blinds and curtains out of the way, make a great space for a photo. I often open my front door which lets in a ton of light to help with a well-lit photo. If there’s a lot of light coming through a window and you’re close to it, you may want to use a sheer or white sheet to help diffuse the light. 

Place the light

While you can’t physically place the sun where you want it, you can usually place your subject. Making sure the light shines on your subject straight on is the most common but you have to make sure the sun isn’t too harsh. You can also position your subject in front of the light to create more drama. A flattering spot is to light the image from the side (subject facing the sun with one shoulder). This will cast a nice light on the face while giving some great shadows too. While the sun can be harsh, my favorite days to shoot are overcast or cloudy days. The clouds naturally diffuse the light, making shadows softer. If a bright sunny day is what you have to work with, utilizing a tree to create shade or utilizing a building to bounce light off of will help your photograph look great!

Discover special light

Golden hour (the hour after sunrise and hour before sunset) and blue hour (the hour before sunrise and and hour after sunset) creates very soft light, perfect for most photos. When working with these be aware that golden hour will cast more yellow while blue hour (you guessed it!) casts more blue. Keep that in mind when editing the image. When it’s bright and sunny, filtering light through a tree can create cool shadows that makes the photo extra special. 

I hope these tips will help you as you are out and about capturing moments of your life! 

Image of special uses of light in photos
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