How to take brighter photos

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I get a ton of questions about how to take bright photos. Truth be told I had to really experiment with different ways to get the photos that I have now. Most if not all of my pictures are taken indoor with limited amount of light. I have 2 windows and 1 door giving me all of the light I need. Whatever situation you are in, I believe you can take gorgeous bright photos. Today I'm going to show you how!



Light

Lighting is extremely important to your photos. It will make or break  how your photos will look. I do all of my photos in natural light. Natural light is the best lighting hands down! I tend to get next to my door or next to my 2 big windows in my family room. I move furniture out of the way to get the best lighting. Go around your home and experiment with different set ups. I was able to take gorgeous photos in my room for the new stock photos for October by choosing the right time of day to take them.

Ask yourself, Where is the best lighting  in your home. What time of the day is the best for natural light in that area. Often harsh light comes through in the middle of the day. Whereas the softest light can be seen during the early parts of the morning during sunrise and later parts of the evening during sunset. Get familiar with the best area and time of day for the best lighting.

Stray away from flash at all cost. Camera flash washes out the scene...no bueno! Flatlays are best done near windows for soft lighting.


These photos were taken in a bedroom with only 1 small window. 
ISO 400, Aperture F2.8, Shutter Speed 1/60sec

Reflector

If the only time you have to take photos are during harsh lighting situations, then reflectors are a sure fire way to soften any harsh light. The main reflector I use to diffuse harsh light can literally be found around my home. The reflector I use is white poster board or anything that is white. White bounces light back onto your image while also diffusing any harsh shadows that are accrued from the direct sunlight. Put the white board opposite to your light source.


These photos were taken in a living room during harsh sunlight. However I used a white poster board to defuse harsh shadows. 
ISO 200, Aperture F5.6, Shutter Speed 1/60sec
Camera Settings
Whether you are using your phone camera or a DSLR your camera plays a big role. Learn the ins and outs of your camera before you start shooting in manual. The exposure triangle that includes aperture, ISO, and shutter speed play a key role in create the bright images you know and love.

Aperture: controls the amount of light that travels through the lens. This is usually indicated by the "f-number."  When the f-number increases (f14-20) the opening of the lens decreases creating a darker image and a wider depth of field.  Where as when the f-number decreases(f1.4-2.8) the opening increases creating a brighter image and a shallow depth of field. To get that bokeh (gorgeous blurred background) I use my Canon lens 50mm lens. My f-stop is usually on the lowest number which is f.2.8 for my photo. It produces the brightest and gives me that blurry background.

Shutter Speed: Controls how long the light is permitted to enter your camera when you click the shutter button. This is used mostly for action and movement in photos. With still photos I tend to stick to 1/60sec. Use higher shutter speeds when outdoors(1/1000) and lower shutter speeds (1/60) when indoors. On darker days you'll want the shutter speed to be slower (lower 1/30) to allow more light in but be aware of the blur. Keep your images sharp and crisp with a tripod.

ISO: This is the last thing you should focus on when brightening up your images. The higher your ISO the more likely you will get noise or grain, depending on the type of lens you have . Basically it will produce a poor quality image. I like to stay between ISO 100-800.

If you have know clue what Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO is I got you covered right here!

Editing
Last but certainly not least is the post editing work. I love this part because you can really make almost any photo look good when done correctly. I use Adobe Lightroom for editing. While the editing system can be a bit confusing for new beginners I have seen the greatest results in this editing software. I like to shoot my photos in a Raw format so that I can go in and work with white balance and have more control over what the photos looks like afterwards. I tend to focus on exposure, contrast, whites,blacks, and highlights.


The best thing you need to get bright images is to get to the light. Experiment with different lighting and times through out the day. Use a reflector for days where you need to take photos during direct sunlight. Then focus your attention to the post editing process. Get to know your camera in order to create a photo that is all you.

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1 comment

  1. These are some seriously awesome tips! Natural light is my best friend. :] :]

    // itsCarmen.com

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