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How to Find the Best Light for Photos

Want to know the very first thing I look for when I show up for a photo session? It’s not the scenery or the best background or even what my clients are wearing….it’s the light. I look for the light. I know that sounds like a very “photographer” thing to say, but it seriously can make or break your photo. 

Finding the light can take some practice, but I learned and so can you. 

Today let’s talk about how to find the best light for photos inside your home…where we’re all spending a lot of time right now. 

  1. Turn off all of the overhead lights in your house and open up the blinds/curtains and let the light pour in. Think of your windows as giant lights.
  2. Notice how the light shifts throughout the day. You might have great light in your living room in the morning, but as the sun shifts, it gets darker and darker. 
  3. Look for soft, even light. (See example below) This is important…soft and even. For most pictures you’re taking of your family, you probably don’t want harsh shadows on their faces or dappled sunlight dotting their cheeks, so before you place them for a photo, take a look at how the sun is hitting the surfaces. Is it soft and even or is it harsh and broken? 
  4. Avoid having the light directly behind your subject. Unless you have a reflector or another light source, their face is going to end up being really dark. Instead, angle them toward the light (window).
  5. If their face is a little dark, just a step or two toward the light can make a big difference. If you have a floor to ceiling window or door in your home, you’ll probably find that it’s your favorite place to take pictures (my favorite is my storm door).
example of good light for photos

Like most things worthwhile, finding the light really does take time and practice. I remember feeling foolish when I first started learning about photography and hearing people talk about the light, because, well… i couldn’t see it! I had to look at a lot of examples of bad and good light in order to finally identify the difference for myself. Then I had to take a lot of bad pictures…lots of them…to see it in my own work. But once you find the good light, you won’t want to step out of it.

If you love learning about photography, grab your free Starter Kit: Getting to Know Your Fancy Camera.

Until Next Time,

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