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Photography 101 Tips and Tricks-Lighting

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Hello everyone!  Welcome to Photography 101.  I am excited to finally be able to start this series called Photography 101, where I will be sharing secrets, tips & tricks, must do’s, and ideas for your photo’s!

photography101 Photography 101 Tips and Tricks Lighting

Over the past year I have inundated myself with photography how-to video’s, hundreds of photography tutorials, and analyzed all the pretty photo’s on Craftgawker and Foodgawker.

They say content is king, and the first thing people see are your photos and if your picture doesn’t grab their attention they will probably overlook all your wonderful content and hard work.  

By no means do I or will I claim to be a professional photographer, but I have learned some great tips, tricks, and secrets to make photo’s pretty and am dying to share them with you!

If it weren’t for all those how-to videos and tutorials I would still  be taking photo’s like this:

Photography Tips and Tricks Photography 101 Tips and Tricks Lighting

Is that picture uuuu-gly or what?!!  I have a folder saved on my computer called FLOPS  for photo’s like this, I love before and afters.

Let’s talk about this uuuugly photo!  The first thing you will notice is it’s too dark, which is going to be the focus today, because proper lightening is EVERYTHING.

Ok, if that wasn’t the first thing you noticed then it had to have been the ugly background! Yikes, what was I thinking?!

You don’t want your background to stand out more than what you are taking of picture of. Color is good, but it needs to flow, not dominate the photo.

The next thing you probably noticed is the glare and the shadows on the utensils.  That is caused by several reasons.  The photo was taken under a light in my dining room, which is a BIG no-no!  I will explain in a minute why.

There are also shadows and reflections I will talk about, too.  And then there’s just an overall dullness to the photo.

I haven’t mentioned anything nice about the photo, because there isn’t anything good about it!  When I first started blogging I gave the word c-l-u-e-l-e-s-s a new meaning when it came to photography.

I kept reading everyone talk about how important proper lighting was, so I started practicing new techniques, because that photo wasn’t working! Ick!

When it come to lighting, there are 2 major rules to follow.

Rule #1-NEVER use your flash.  It’s not the proper lighting and it creates a dull, yellow tint to your photo.

Rule #2-ALWAYS use natural sunlight.  I know if you live up north you have a lot of Winter days and don’t see the sun everyday and in that case many people use a Table Top Photography Light Kit in a Box  and the investment is well worth it!  BUT if you have access to the sun, then use the sun.  It will make a world of difference in the quality of your photo.  In fact, it’s so important it will determine if people click on it or not.

The good thing is you don’t even have to go outside, unless you just want to.

You need to set up an area just for taking pictures and it needs to be by a window.  Here is the trick on how to capture the  sunlight.

Photography Tips and Tricks Lighting Photography 101 Tips and Tricks Lighting

Set up a table right in front of a window. I use a table that sits in front of my patio door. When I need the sunlight I just open up my blinds and the beautiful sunlight comes right in. Right on my table where I’m going to shoot.

See how there’s not any dark corners anywhere? That’s because there’s a poster board covered with foil that is reflecting the light back into the center.  Vital for photos!  This prevents shadows and glares and keeps all the light focused in the middle.

I use poster board covered with foil or white poster board, and they both work fine.  Don’t use something with colored paper on it like a bright pink poster board, because it will cast a pink tint on your photo.  Use either foil or something white.

For the background I use another poster board and just cover it with the colored paper I want to use or leave it white or black.  I even have some poster boards I’ve covered with wrapping paper!

 Poster boards rock!

This one tip has totally changed the way I take photos.  I find myself scheduling what time of day to take photos and planing my day around when the sun is out.  That means I usually make my projects in the evening, so they will be ready the next day when it’s sunny for their shoot.  I even have changed the way I run errands.  I try to schedule when I’m not going to be home when it’s darker so I’m not wasting good sunlight when I could be taking photos.   And I never take photo’s using lamps, or lights in my house anymore.  I have had to go back and re-do so many photos, because of this one reason.

If only had I know then, what I know now!  Oh well, live and learn.  It’s all part of blogging.

The best way to learn how is to keep practicing and don’t give up!  If you were like me, I had NO CLUE about photography.  I used to use those disposable cameras…ha!  I changed cameras and just started practicing.

That’s what it takes…practice, practice, practice!

And it’s all been well worth it!

Because now I have learned how to go from this:

Yuk!

Photography Tips and Tricks Photography 101 Tips and Tricks Lighting

To this:

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Callie says, Doesn’t the sun make me look pretty?

sewlicioushomedecor Photography 101 Tips and Tricks Lighting

She always has to be right in the middle of everything!

I hope this helps!  Stay tuned for more posts coming up on lighting, photo secrets, more tips and tricks and we will even talk about Craftgawker and Foodgawker!

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  1. You are a genius! Thank you for these tips! I’m going to the craft store tomorrow to get some poster boards! ((hugs)) Thank you! Julia
    Julia@Happy House and Home recently posted…Hand Painted Wooden SignMy Profile

  2. We all know a great photograph can make or break your post! Wonderful tips and tricks to great photography!
    Ashley @ 3 Little Greenwoods recently posted…The Big Green Elephant ~ My Grandmother’s Hope ChestMy Profile

  3. I like the foil covered poster board tip. I’m also trying to work on my photos and they are slowly getting better. Thanks for the tips.

  4. Great tips! Thank you so much! I think I really need to invest some time and a bit of money into a proper place and backdrop for taking pics.
    Joanna Sormunen recently posted…Gospel Friday CountdownMy Profile

    • Joanna, it’s really not that expensive to get started. I just used a table I already had and bought a few poster boards. That’s just for the basics tho, but with that you can get some great photo’s! :)

  5. Thanks for the tips—we can definitely use them:) Can’t wait to see the rest of the upcoming series. I really only have on room that has decent natural light (I will try this soon) found you at showstopper Saturday. Have a great weekend…:)
    Rachel Kathyg @ onlinesisterhood recently posted…Cucumber Salad and Healthy Banana ice creamMy Profile

    • Hello Rachel and Kathy! I’m so glad you stopped by. Actually, I do too and it’s in my dining room of all places, oh well…can’t sacrifice the pictures! lol

  6. Marti, great tips! The right lighting is so important for good pictures.
    Jann from Newton Custom Interiors recently posted…It’s Kind Of Crazy Around Here!My Profile

  7. Thank you so much for these tips Marti. I have been struggling with taking good photos. ‘Had decided that making them outdoors on a little wall in the yard works best, and it does. Problem comes when it is raining or too cold outdoors to do this, or the wind is blowing too strongly. Now I will try your tips. Looking forward to more great photography tips :)

    • I’ve been very pleased taking them this way, you are still able to get the sunlight without enduring the weather. I’m glad this was helpful!

  8. I will have to try out some of these lighting tricks! Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren,
    http://www.atouchofsoutherngrace.com/
    Lauren recently posted…St. Patty’s Day GreenMy Profile

  9. Maryann Hernandez says:

    I love your cat I’m the crazy cat lady

  10. Love the tips. We are really needing to improve and this was a great start for us. Thanks!
    Deborah recently posted…Matchmaker-Uses for “Missing” SocksMy Profile

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  1. […] Reason number two….I was waiting and ready to post this this morning at 10:00AM and not 8AM, because I wanted some great sunlight.  When taking photo’s, lighting is everything.  To learn tips and secrets on taking photo’s with good lighting, see my post on my new Photography 101 Series-Lighting. […]

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