Friday, October 18, 2013

Photography Tips: Natural Light

As bloggers, we're expected to write quality material for our readers, be it a review, a giveaway, or our own original content. But no matter how amazing our literary prowess might be, if we don't deliver a pretty or well composed image to go along with it, readers can get bored and find another blog to visit. 

Some people are natural photographers, and some people need a gentle nudge along the way, but everyone can take great photographs! I'll be posting small tutorials and tips from time to time, which will help you learn to take your photos from 'blah', to 'tada'!

Today's lesson: Natural Light!


Poor lighting is, without a doubt, one of the easiest ways to make your photos look amateur and awful. I don't want to come off as mean or bitchy...but seriously, it only takes a few extra minutes of planning to get great lighting on any photo, especially one for a product review! Many bloggers end up with images like this due to being in a hurry to get the photos taken, only taking their images at night, etc. Look at the images I posted above, and note just how orange the top one looks. That's because I have wood paneled walls in my home, and my light bulbs make my whole house have this awful yellow light. It makes all my photographs look like absolute crap. So what can you do about that? Use the flash on the camera!

WRONG. Whoever told you to use your flash, should be punched in the face. I have seen countless photos on blogs, with good composition, pretty staging, and the whole effect has been ruined because the intense light of the flash has drowned out everything. Anything that can reflect, will reflect. So not only is your image washed out with lifeless lighting, but you're simultaneously being blinded by the reflection given off by the wrapping, metal parts, etc. The flash on a camera should only be used in very specific circumstances. Think about your flash as a lethal weapon, which should be used with extreme caution and with a trained professional present.

So how can you take a good photo, quickly, without having to resort to complicated lighting systems?

Open the curtains.

Seriously, that's all I did to get the bottom photo. I opened my curtains, allowing in the natural light, and I didn't even have to move from my desk. You can take a photo inside the comfort of your own home, or outdoors. I generally take my outdoor photos between 7am-10am, and 2pm-5pm. I shoot my indoor photos when the sun is too high, between 11 am and 1pm. By doing this, your photo isn't too bright, but it isn't too dark either. Natural light creates depth within the photograph, which makes your overall product much more appealing.

Some people i have talked to think that it takes too much trouble to use natural light. Not really, it just takes a bit of planning. Even for busy mothers and women who work outside the home, you just have to think of a span of maybe 3 minutes where you can snap a few photos outdoors or inside. When the kids are napping, before work, after work, during lunchtime, etc.

I hope this has helped some of you with your own photography challenges, and please let me know if you would like to read more tips!

Love and Lightning Bugs,
  Photobucket

13 comments:

Crista Hebel said...

As an amateur photographer (if that!) I can use all the tips I can get- thank you for this. the comparison is very helpful, as is natural light ;)

debdenny said...

Great Tips! I will try to use them! Thanks!

Gluten Free for Jen said...

Great suggestions! I agree natural lighting is so much better. I try really hard to use it but have learned what settings on my camera can assist when even natural lighting (or lack there of) is not the greatest.

Hobbies on a Budget said...

Hmmm... I take alot of my craft pictures at my kitchen table and always get a red glow. That is probably because I'm taking it where there are no windows and the overlight is glaring AND I have my flash on. All no - no's. I'm going to take some pictures tomorrow for a review I have coming up and see how it works outside. Great points. I definitely want more of your tips!!!

Hobbies on a Budget said...

And did I mention my kitchen table is wood? No wonder they look weird.

Cheap Is The *New* Classy said...

It's amazing what a difference opening the curtains makes. I also need to stop taking pics on my wood kitchen table. I have the same red tint in my pics that Hobbies on a Budget is talking about.

Thanks for the tips!

DeDa Studios said...

Thanks for the tips...I take terrible pic's. I need all the help I can get.

Brr23 said...

It's amazing when using a camera how the littlest things can effect the pictures. Always trying to figure out what you need to do for each picture can be fun though! Great tips!

AdventuresFrugalMom said...

wow great tips thanks for sharing with us

Sol Searching said...

I sure needed this blog post. I am working on taking better pictures. So this will definitely help me with lighting.

Thanks a million Isabella.

Lesley said...

Thanks for the tips! I love taking pictures, and I've been working on making mine better. :)

Sandra Roberts said...

WOW! I turn my flash off and I still get crappy photos! LOL I never once thought about opening the curtains. I'll have to remember to do that for the next review post.

Katrina said...

Thanks! I am slowly getting better at taking pictures. The light in our apartment is horrible and it's hard to get much natural light. I really don't like going outside to take pictures, especially of hot food.