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simple tricks for amateur photographers using natural light.

photography tricks for natural light photographers
Can you tell what is wrong with this photo?

Many factors contribute to great photography, but none is more important than light. The light source of your photographs will affect their character and mood.

One of the most common mistakes, whether it be an SLR or a mobile phone, is the incorrect use of available light.

photography tricks for natural light photographers
Pic 1 & 2 shot with the Nikon D750 ISO 400 at f/2.8

Above I zoomed in on the image to give you a better example. To an untrained eye. The image looks perfectly fine, however, look at her right hand. It is completely blown out or, better know as overexposed. There are pockets of light bouncing everywhere, distracting you from the subject. The right-hand side of her forehead is also overexposed casting unflattering shadows around her eyes.

This shoot, in particular, was a test shoot for siblings I have coming up in the next couple of weeks and unlike my model Liz I won't be able to pose a 6 and in particular a 2 year old. So the lighting has to be even, enabling them plenty of room to move freely without moving into those pockets of harsh light.

Time of day is very important when shooting, whether you are shooting portraits, family, furry friends, or landscapes. Try not to shoot between 11 am and 3 pm. When the sun is at its harshest, it's definitely not a good idea if you're trying to up your photography game.

Nothing beats the beautiful glow of a dawn sun slowly lighting up the sky or the colors it radiates as dusk descends into darkness. And you landscape photographers, the closer to dusk or dawn the better.

photography tricks for natural light photographers
Shot with the Nikon D750 ISO 400 at f/2.8

This morning, we started shooting at 9:30 am, this tells me that in order for me to photograph the siblings at the same location as the first picture with the water behind them with all that lush greenery, I would need to be there at 8:00 am.

Calculating the placement of light is something that comes with experience and plenty of practice. I have a giggle when I remember how Mother nature loves to play tricks on me. I want a sunny day but she is overcast, in which case, I will push the shoot forward an hour to let more light in.

Clouds are mother nature's natural filter. So if you are shooting weddings, it's a stress-free day. It was my saving grace as a Wedding photographer.

If you can't come back to the same location. The answer is simple, move your subjects, walk further down the river. You can see the improvement it makes to this 3rd image.

And with this last image, we walked further into the river and away from all the harsh light and pockets of harsh light. You will see surroundings softening, the water is clearer. Her skin tones have evened out. Looking magical and creative.

effective natural lighting tips for amateurs
Shot with the Nikon D750 ISO 400 at f/2.8

Just by adopting these techniques. No more unflattering shadows. Photos begin to pop.

These techniques are simple, effective and they work. And, like I said, these techniques apply whether it's an SLR or a mobile phone. Just ensure even light on your subject's face and this will put you on the right path to taking excellent photos.

Be on the lookout by following me on my socials below to see the creative images I shot on this day. It involves feathers.

Now get shooting.

Brenda ☕️ 📷


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