by Courtney Fanning
You have probably experienced this already but finding the right light can make such a huge impact of your image. Have you ever grabbed your photo to take a cute photo of someone sitting in front of a window and you look on your camera and they are just a black shadow? Not so cute anymore huh. Well I want to share with you how you can prevent that and how to take well lit, beautiful photos of your family! So get your camera ready and let’s get started!
Best Place to Start
Start walking around your home at different times of the day. Do you see any rooms that have windows allowing soft light in? Typically, the best rooms are on the south and west side of your home (though I love some warm morning light too) in the late morning or mid afternoon. You can take images with north facing windows, they just have a cooler tone to them (at least in my home).
Soft vs Harsh Light
Above I mentioned finding soft light, but maybe you are not sure what I mean. Soft light is light that will be even across your subject’s face. Think about when it is overcast, the sun isn’t creating any harsh shadows on your face when you are outside because the clouds are diffusing the light. An overcast day can be great for taking indoor photos as well, you just need to take them during peak brightness (high noon or early afternoon) as you lose your light faster in the evening making your image grainy. If you have only harsh light, try diffusing it with a light shade or moving your subject back out of the direct light. Keep your subject as close as you can to the light though. Let me give you an example here:
On the left you can tell he is sitting in direct sunlight. The sun is create ugly lines on his face and he was having a hard time looking at me as the sun was right in his eyes. These were both taken from a south facing window at 4pm. The image on the right was taken from the same distance and spot I just shifted him a little left to get out of the direct light but still allowed him to be well lit. Here is an example of how I had this set up. I was sitting directly in front of the window by that pillow and made sure I was below the light source (the window here). Even though he wasn’t sitting in the direct sunlight I still didn’t want to be blocking the window because that will affect your light. (Have I said “light” enough yet? HAHA)
When you have practice under your belt, go ahead and get creative. Try using harsh light to get creative and tell the story you are trying to capture. I love playing with shadows to create a mood in my images. You can also practice diffusing harsh light with a lace curtain, fun shades, or a thin blanket. This is where it can really get fun and you can create some memorable images of your kids.