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