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Lighting can make an ordinary picture become extraordinary! In fact, many photographers say lighting can make or break an image. Natural light is one of my favorite light sources to use. The great thing is, with a little bit of preparation, you can achieve natural light photography inside or outdoors.
NATURAL LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
It doesn’t matter what type of house you have, you can still use window light to improve your images. In fact, I thought I had terrible lighting in my house (I live in a house in the woods with a lot of tree coverage in the fall and winter), but after taking a workshop focused solely on indoor lighting, I realized that there is a lot more light than I thought. I tell you this so you don’t get discouraged that you only have one small window in a room. We can work with that! Natural light photography is still possible for you.
GET NEAR A WINDOW
Star by encouraging your subject to play in good light.
There are several ways to do this.
One way is to take a minute to make sure that the activity your kids do is near a window. This may require you to re-arrange your furniture but it will be worth it.
Or you can even re-arrange your children to be near some great windows!
My kids have started to do more activities at the living room coffee table and I wanted to capture all the fun on camera. I decided to rotate my table so it was parallel to the big picture window. Now when they are busy playing or working at the table, they are both illuminated by the natural light.
There is also a spot in my living room where they do a lot of puzzles, make believe, and coloring. They also like to just sit. I made sure to put their favorite rocking chair by the back door so that I have continual natural light on them.
You don’t need to make huge changes. Just think about where your subject spends most of their time. Can you move that closer to a window?
Maybe your subject doesn’t have a favorite table or stationary place they like to play. You can still encourage them to play in good light. Do they love to play with trains on the floor? Why not put the box over by the window so when they decide to set it up, they are already in some nice natural light.
Now that you know how to set up your house to make picture taking just a little easier, let’s talk about some tricks you can use to make your subject look even better in window lighting.
45 DEGREE ANGLE PHOTOGRAPHY
Like I said earlier, there are tons of different ways to take advantage of window lighting. One of the most popular is placing your subject at a 45 degree angle from the window. This allows nice soft shadows to fall on your subject. Shadows are a good thing. They add dimension to your subject.
Examples of 45 Degree Angle Photos
To achieve this, you want to place yourself next to the window. Have your subjects sitting at a 45 degree angle to the window. Do not have them face the window directly, or the light might look flat. The shadows will add dimension.
Here is the image produced:
Oh, catchlights. Catchlights are a photographer’s dream. They can help your subject’s eyes look like they are full of life, instead of black and hollow looking.
Catchlights is the fancy name for the reflection of light in your subject’s eye.
HOW TO ACHIEVE CATCHLIGHTS
It’s actually quite simple. Have your subject look towards the light. This will help their eyes to “catch” the light.
Examples Of Catchlights
See the added bit of sparkle when you look directly into their eyes? It will magically brighten a photo is an instant.
Here is an example of what a photo looks like without catchlights. Hopefully you can see the difference!
No one likes a flat photo. Use these natural light photography tips — placing your subject near a window, keeping them at a 45 degree angle from the light, and capturing catchlights to make your photos sparkle and shine.
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Hello, just wanted to write and say how excited I am that I have stumbled across this website! Its opened me eyes on how to use my Nikon d300 better (ss,iso,aperture) and all the extra little goodies that make a photo pop! I very excited to do a session with catchlights! Thank you so much for making something seem so hard to understand, to understandable!
Can’t wait to go home and find a location inside my home where I can take pictures. Natural lighting is best but not always easy to find.
buttercream bakehouse says
great info. My biggest challenge is photography and I always try and use natural light. I will try the 45 degree angle rule.
oh..this is all so helpful. Always room for improvement on this front..thank you!