Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pic Tip #2

pic tip #2: lighting

first of all, turn off your flash! there's really no substitute for natural light and a stock flash is about as bad as it gets. yes, a flash will light up your subject enough to focus on it, but if you're photographing a person, it is way too harsh of a light.

i always prefer to do outdoor shoots, but if you're working with a newborn, that's probably not practical. in this scenario, you should choose the best lit room in your house, the one with the most direct sunlight, and set up your backdrop there. also, remember that whatever you lay the baby on will be reflective in a way (unless you use a black fabric). that means that if you lay the baby on a red blanket, the light is going to get reflected onto the baby in a way the makes him/her look more red. i prefer to lay them on white, because it doesn't add a color, just brightens them up a bit.

timing is everything! when shooting indoors, you'll want to schedule the shoot for midday or the time of day when the sunlight streams into that room the most. shooting outdoors is a whole different ballgame, though.

when shooting outdoors, you have 3 options for the best light: 1) in the shade  2) on a cloudy day  3) sunrise/sunset. the main point here is to avoid the midday sun. the reason being that it casts unflattering shadows on your subjects' faces. it tends to make eyes look hooded with circles underneath. not to mention the fact that everyone would be squinting. yeah, not at all flattering.

so, back to the good options...

if you must shoot midday, try to find a nice shaded area, maybe under a tree or, if you're in a city, in an alley, etc.
in the shade

if the day of your shoot doesn't dawn bright and sunny, don't fret! clouds are our friends! :) i've done some of my best work on cloudy days.
on a cloudy day

my favorite time of day to shoot is an hour or two before sunset (an hour or two after sunrise is also a great time, but who wants to get up that early???). the light then is so soft and warm that can be very forgiving. it tends to make skin look smoother and can even soften wrinkles. try not to shoot with the sun directly in your subject's eyes, though. it's better to have the sun streaming down on them at an angle.

side-lit at sunset
if you're feeling brave, try shooting with the sun at their back. it takes some practice to figure out exactly how to position them this way, but it can give you a really cool effect.
backlit at sunset

that's our lesson for today, kids. now, get out there and give it a try! let me know which kind of lighting option you prefer and send me some pics. i'd love to post some success stories!

also, if you have any specific questions about photography that you'd like me to cover, you can either leave me a comment or send me an email. :)

13 comments:

lise said...

Very interesting, thanks! i've done some of my best work on cloudy days too! I love cloudy days, in particular just before or after the rain!^^

Stephanie said...

I always used to want to sunny days when I had my pictures taken, but now that I'm trying to take more pictures of my daughter I'm realizing sunny isn't always better like you mentioned. Thanks again for the wonderful tips!

Crystal Theresa said...

I'm new to your site via ICLW and really like the photos you shared. Thanks for the great tips -- I never really thought about the fabric/background reflecting light in that color, but totally makes sense!

Bridget said...

Great tips!! Now if I could just make my pictures look that good!

NV said...

Your lighting is amazing in all of your photos. As a graphic designer, I am not easily impressed. But, I would totally hire you girlfriend! One day I will get my camera out and try these tips :)

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

What great tips! You are an amazing photographer!

myjourneythruinfertility said...

I promise I will get to you regarding the humpday hero award- very honored :)

But . . . Bridget over at the lost stork told me you are 30 minutes from gettysburg?!!!!! where are you? I am in Westminster MD!!! Please dear god tell me you are close! feel free to email me or comment- I would love to see if we are anywhere near each other!

DandelionBreeze... previously NYMum said...

Love your tips and your photos... thank you :) xo

Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples said...

Just found your blog! What a great photographer you are. Now following along on your little blog. So happy that you made it through to the "other side". Still struggling with fertility myself. Hope you stop by and see me sometime! ;)

soonafamily said...

Hi from ICLW! I love these tips and fabulous photos!

Maria said...

your photos are stunning, carlia.
i rarely turn the flash on...i agree! it never makes for as pretty and crisp a picture.
<3
xoxo

Shannon said...

My first lighting class starts tonight and I'm so excited. I tried taking some backlit shots of my daughter last night and I did not get the results I wanted. Of course, she was in a moving swing at the time. I probably should have started simpler, eh? :)

kakabeautyblog.com said...

This is fab! Thanks for the great tips! Question: How do I photo a face shot without distorting the colours of the make up if I'm doing a make up post? :) Thx!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...