Learn how to take better pictures using natural light.
I love natural light photography, and learning how to use sunlight to my advantage in all the different settings is key to success. Indoor photography with just natural light can be a challenge. Here are a few tips I collected along the way!
- Learn your camera settings. First and foremost you need to acquaint yourself a bit with your camera. I usually say put it into the Manual mode and experiment. Here are some brief basics:
ISO – This measures the sensitivity of your image sensor. The higher the ISO number the faster shutter speed you can use to freeze the movement. But be cautious, a big ISO will make your image more grainy.
Shutter speed – This number indicates how long the shutter will remain open. A lower shutter speed will give you more light in the image, but once you are below 80 it is hard to get sharp images without a tripod.
Aperture (f/number) – the lower the number the larger or wider aperture size, which results in a shallow depth of field. Conversely a large f/number (say f/16) results in a smaller or narrower aperture size and therefore a deeper depth of field.
- Learn to find good light in your home. This is simple try and error. Try taking pictures in different rooms, at different times of day. You will have a variety of results to choose from. This will largely depend on the orientation of your apartment, and what space gets direct sun light, at what time of day. Midday light might not be the most flattering for outdoor photography, but indoors, you can easily make it work to your advantage. Put your subject in front of a curtained window to get best results.
- Use a reflector. It is easy to make a reflector, you just need a large white sheet of paper board. Catch light with the sheet, and bounce it onto your subject. You might need a third person to help you hold it in place, or just be creative. 😉
- Learn how to diffuse light. A diffuser is anything that softens light. In our case, it can be a curtain, making the sunlight less harsh. Harsh light will create harsh shadows, and can lead to burning your object’s skin (in the picture). Soft light is more flattering to the skin.
- Turn off artificial light. They don’t mix well. Electric light can affect your white balance, which in short can mess up your colors. And the one color we worry about the most is the one of your subject’s skin.
- Use a tripod. As you lower your shutter speed, there is more room for blur, but keep in mind, that the tripod will only keep your camera still. So you should pay attention that your model can be still as well.
Now go and practice, and you will learn that indoor photography isn’t all that complicated. I love photographing indoors, as it means I can do a session at my clients home. This usually results in everyone feeling more comfortable and relaxed, as they are in a familiar setting.
Please let me know what other tips you have to add to this list.
And as always contact me if you get stuck, Im happy to help!
And if you need some more tips on how to photograph your kiddos, head over here.