Photosanity – The Light You Have

Hi All!

As you probably know, I’m mentoring a group of San Diego photographers who have signed up for Photosanity, an online workshop that helps parents take better photos as well as get a handle on organizing, editing, and sharing them! In previous posts, I’ve covered what to look for to get the best photos and tips to capture natural eye contact and smiles. This week’s lesson is about making the most from the light you have.

One of the first things you’ll learn about photographing in natural light is that the best light for photographs can be found within the first and last hours of daylight. That’s when the sun is closest to the horizon, and the layers of atmosphere diffuse the sun’s rays, producing gorgeously soft light. The hour before sunset even has a special name–the “golden hour”–because the light tends to be deliciously warm, soft, and forgiving. Seriously, it’s a portrait photographer’s dream! (It’s true–contrary to popular belief, bright sunlight is not good for photos! I have no clue how that myth even got started!)

But what happens when you have an event planned at a time other than dusk or dawn? Or what about those times when you’re out making memories with your family at high noon? Well, we have to learn to deal with those lighting situations as well. There are several tactics I usually employ to tackle challenging light, but let’s talk about one for now: find shade!

This is pretty easy. If you’re out at a park, go under the nearest tree. Or find an umbrella. Or a building. Or something. Trees are usually most abundant, and provide really nice light! Here are some examples I captured at one of last year’s photo sessions under the shade of a nearby structure or tree.

Gorgeous, huh? :)

And, if you can’t battle the sun, at least play nice, eh? Another tactic is to embrace the harsh sun, head-on. And get some gorgeous flare as a result! For this photo, I was shooting towards the sunlight, but metering for my subject, and I allowed the sun to hit my lens for the flare.

I’ll be blogging about future workshop lessons so make sure you “like” me on Facebook to get the latest updates! In the meantime, you can also check out the free Photosanity video lesson on the top 5 tips to take better photos of your kids!!


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