Thursday, January 14, 2010

photog tip thursday--lighting

thought i wouldn't post on this today did you? yes this is my THIRD post for the day (be sure to check out the other two!), but i really want to keep up with these blog posts and hold myself accountable to keep up with my photography goals.

again, i am just a mom with a camera with a passion to capture each memory in a photograph--i'm still learning and i'd love to help inspire you to get out your camera and capture some great pics of your own munchkins!

today i wanted to talk about lighting. lighting differentiates a good picture from a bad picture. if the lighting is not good, it really doesn't matter what kind of camera or lens you have or photo editing software.

the biggest thing you can do to drastically change your photos TODAY is to NEVER use a flash. using a flash distorts colors, images, causes shadows, etc and basically takes away everything you LOVE about good photographs.

what does this mean? it means that you need to either a) get outside for your photo shoot (ideal) or b) if you want/have to shoot inside you need to switch your camera out of "automatic" mode. if you are in "auto" mode, 9.5 times out of 10 it will NOT be light enough for your flash not to automatically pop up.

because i want to keep these posts relatively short and sweet and VERY basic, tonight i'm just going to focus on solving the flash issue by shooting outside.

the best outdoor lighting you can use is an overcast day because the clouds diffuse the natural sunlight. you don't have to deal with direct sunlight issues and the lighting works great with skin tones. if it's not overcast out, you can still find great lighting conditions. you want to place your subject in the shade and you want to be in the sunlight.

try it out and experiment. take some pictures inside with the flash on and then go take some pictures outside and compare. it doesn't even matter what you are taking a picture of (it could be a leaf or a cup of water!) but you will see what a TREMENDOUS difference not using flash will make.

you can see from my examples--the picture above is taken outside with no flash and i didn't even edit the photo in photoshop, and below is a pic i took inside using "auto" mode with auto flash. you can see how much it changes the colors and skin tones.

next week, i'll address how to shoot inside without using a flash, ie shooting in a mode other than "auto".



Jeanette said...

great tips Erin! I always cringe when I "need" to use the flash for indoor photos. I'll turn on every possible light source to avoid it but did you know you an turn down (or up) the intensity of your flash so the edges/shadows when you do use the flash are not as harsh? Even still, you can't beat natural lighting!

Jennifer said...

So happy that I came across your blog. I just bought the REBEL myself and need lots of tips. Thanks!