Photography series: Natural light tips for in-home photography

Photography series: Natural light tips for in-home photography

How are you doing dear friends? I hope you are safe and healthy.

Millions of us around the world are now facing weeks or even months at home. I wish there was a quick solution so that lives could be saved and daily routines could go back to normal but it looks like it might take a a little while so we need to be strong and patient. We are all in this together and together is how we will get through it, right?

The situation we find ourselves in can be very hard to handle in many different ways. I’m trying to make the best out of the worst and follow the words by Rajesh Goyal who said “these days can give us a new direction & purpose. The compulsory time we spent at home can be an opportunity to discover hidden gems, buried treasures, more of our huge potential & extraordinary capabilities. It’s a chance to use these days to learn more about the things we are passionate about & have abilities to do.”

As you know my greatest passion lies in styling and photography so as promised last week  I will continue with my photography series, during the quarantine time. If you are taking in-home photos these days I hope you will find the series inspirational, try new approach and learn something new along the way.

The #1 tip – NATURAL LIGHT

Let’s talk about natural light. It seems like every article, book and workshop starts with the statement – “light is the key” but the truth is, paying more attention to light really is the most important step to improve your skills and achieve stunning results. Many of us believe that ‘good light’ at home means bright with many huge windows but let me tell you this – it is not a must. What is important is understanding your light and learning how to work with it – each home has a potential and can become a great base for your indoor photoshoots (if you still have doubts , I hope soon you will see your home is great too!)

So let’s start with observing the light

Now that we are spending our days at home, we have a chance to get to know the light that enters through the windows. Sometimes it floods the room softly, sometimes it beams in creating contrasts, other times it does not enter at all. Being at home all day gives us a great chance to learn how the light moves from one room to another, how it behaves, how its intensity changes during the day, what atmosphere it creates. It’s time to know what is happening and when.

I have a fun task for you.

I encourage you to take notes and make some test snaps during the day. Wake up early in the morning on a sunny day, open all your windows and observe. Enter each room several times during the day and write down or capture with your camera what you see. At the end of the day you will know which room, has what type of light and when it reaches its peak. I know very well what to expect from light in my apartment: our living room is best lit in the morning with direct light coming through the windows but reaches the softest look around 2 pm. Our dining room has very limited light in the morning (on a cloudy days it’s quite dark) but is perfect for contrast images in the strong afternoon light. I hope you see what I mean?

Let’s experiment 

I’ve always been struck by the beauty of light but capturing it can be tricky. As the saying goes practice makes us perfect so there is no better way to make progress than taking your camera and shooting.
Try having fun with the light, playing with curtains or blinds to create softer entry.  They can do wonders for diffusing light and reducing harsh contrasts and add that dreamy feeling to the image. Have you ever tried that?
Experiment with your options: open your windows, close them, leave them half open, shoot through the window glass, close with curtains, move the curtains…anything else that comes to your mind will work to and every different setting will create different result.

Your vision and natural light

The final effect will always depend on your vision and the light you decide to go for. What is your subject? Is it a room you want to show? A product you want to feature? A family member or pet?  The same subject can look completely differently in different lighting so it is up to you what the final result will be and how you want to show what you are shooting. Is the image soft and bright? Is it dark and moody? Perhaps dramatic contrasts? In case you don’t have a specific preference, try experimenting and see what you like best. There is no right or wrong when it comes to photography, it’s all about creativity and your own personal taste!

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”George Eastman

You will find many courses online teaching photography focusing mainly on camera’s technical details and settings which are of course important but in my personal opinion not enough to make that WOW effect.

I learned along the way that in order to create inspiring images we need to combine our vision + styling + technical aspects of photography.

I will be back next week with another post in the photography series. In the meantime if you would like to learn more from me, I discuss all of the above in details in Product Styling and Photography. Click to read more.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Stay safe and strong my friend!



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