Saturday, 10 August 2013

How to take the best photos in natural light

Hello all! I'm Lauren from Introvert's Introduction, and I'm so excited to be giving you guys some tips on how to shoot awesome photos in any kind of weather! Whether you live in a place where the weather changes in an instant, or where you live under a perpetually similar sky, it's important to know how to make your photos look the best they can no matter what the weatherman predicts. (outfit details; dress: handmade // shirt: thrifted // tights/shoes: forever 21) 
 Overcast days are what I most often deal with, and it is my favorite weather to shoot in. What I love about overcast days is that the clouds act as a natural diffuser to the sunlight, so no matter which direction you turn, the light remains constant. As long as all the settings on your camera are correct, there's no way you won't get a perfectly lit photo. You'll notice the shadows and highlights are still the same no matter which direction I face. Because the light is evenly diffused thanks to clouds, the line between highlights and shadows are not sharp at all, which makes for a very flattering photo. Because you don't really have to worry about where the sun is in proportion to you, you can focus on matching (or contrasting) your outfit to whatever background you want without having to worry about harsh lighting. Since the light is still in the sky, for close up shots I angle the camera down, so that I can look up and allow more light to hit my face in a flattering way (I tend to sit down on the grass for this type of photo). This looks a lot better than me standing up in the four different directions because now my eyes aren't shadowed by my bangs and my eyes and lips are catching the reflection of the light. It's all about allowing light to fill in the shadows so you are more evenly toned. (outfit details; shirt: topshop // skirt/shoes: thrifted) 
 On sunny days, you have more options depending on how you want your photos to look. My personal favorite is going into the shade (1) because, just like in overcast days, there won't be harsh lines between the shadows and highlights and I will get nice rich tones instead of overexposed ones. Another option is to face the sun (3), and some cameras are capable of capturing all the detail in an outfit while there is harsh sunlight on it. In general though, those harsh lines are not flattering, and as you can see, my eyes are completely hidden in shadow, and there are weird shadows on the inside of my arm and on my thighs (though it does make my legs more muscular than they actually are, so that's a plus!). If you're going for a more light look, turning your back to the sun (2) may be the way to go. You'll get really pretty lens flares (the blue line near my elbow is one such flare) and pretty backlighting on your hair. Just make sure that the sun is directly behind you and not to the side (you can just check this by looking at your shadow. For example in the middle photo above, my shadow is in front of me, so I know I'm good), otherwise you will get those weird harsh shadows. Shooting in the sun also makes your background fairly overexposed, as you can see from the second of these two portraits. The first portrait was shot in the shade, and has more even tones between myself and the background. Photojojo also recently posted about shooting during midday if you would like to read more about this, which you can check out here. (outfit details; shirt: forever 21 // skirt: thrifted // necklace: c/o jewelissima) 
 Shooting during the beautiful golden hour (which is near sunset, and is when the sunlight is a beautiful golden color, such as in these photos that I took of my brother here.) But since where I live, golden hour isn't until around 10:30, sometimes I'm too impatient to wait. These photos were taken very near that time frame, so the sunlight is still obviously in the west and allows for beautiful backlighting. The difference between backlighting during midday and during evening is that during the evening you (or your subject) are more evenly toned with your background, whereas midday light makes your background overexposed. A good tip for shooting with backlighting is that if you're having to use autofocus on your camera, angle yourself so that the sun is behind and to the left or right of you (as opposed to directly behind you), so that the lens can focus correctly. If the sun is directly behind you, sometimes it's too much sun for the autofocus function to handle and you'll either get a blurry photo or no photo at all. But once you get into that sweet spot, it's pure magic! If you have any further questions, concerns, comments, or advice to share, please let me know by leaving a comment or by emailing me. I hope you have a wonderful day!

15 comments:

  1. really helpful post! :)

    http://thisgirlloveschic.blogspot.co.uk

    xx

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  2. These are really great tips, thanks for the great post! :)

    laurenlovesmakeupxoxo.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. This is so helpful! Thanks for the tips!

    sweeterthanserenity.blogspot.com

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  4. This is such a useful and brilliant post!! Thank you Lauren :D I'm a serial bad light offender I have to say, sometimes I like the effect but it's true that cloudy days are the best!!

    Holly Mixtures
    xx

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  5. interesting post :) thanks!

    www.apinchofshaz.blogspot.com
    xo

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  6. I've always taken my photos indoors, but have recently discovered a fab outdoor location... However, I had no idea how difficult outdoor photography would be, and my first efforts have been abysmal! Will definitely be trying out these tips, thank you :)

    Sam Muses xx

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  7. Great post and really informative. :) I've never really thought about this when taking photos before, but I realise now how important it is. ♥

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  8. This is awesome! Love all these tips! Thanks, Lauren!
    ~Sara

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  9. loved this post and saving the link for later use..


    thanx :)

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  10. I love this post! Lighting is something I'd still struggling with, so this was a great read.

    Out of curiosity, where do you live that it gets dark so late?!

    xoxo Jackie
    http://somethingaboutthatthing.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I live in Alaska. It starts to get dark around 11pm, but now that fall is coming, the days are getting shorter!

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  11. Oooh my goodness Lauren - this post is absolutely INCREDIBLE! You are so talented!

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