When I first started out as a photographer, I first learned all about natural light because that was the style that I was drawn to. The first few months I started my business I was able to plan my sessions around golden hour. I was 100% in control of not only the light, but the location of where I wanted to shoot! So here I was, newbie photographer, and wanted to plunge into wedding photography! But the kicker about wedding photography, is not only are things happening SO FREAKING FAST… but you don’t always have total control on where you’re shooting… You can’t always shoot during golden hour.. in fact 95% of the wedding day is NOT shot at golden hour! So the first time I was put into a situation where I had to shoot indoors… it totally freaked me out because I had never learned the basics of indoor light much less extra tips to make it look amazing!! I did my best, tried to stay confident, but deep down, I was freaking out. So after learning the ins and outs of light- here are my FIVE biggest tips on making indoor light look ah-ma-zing. This is a good one my friends!
Find a Room with Light Painted Walls
So this is a big one! Actually, all of these are huge.. but this is the first thing you should look for! Find a room that has lightly colored painted walls! Like white or beige! Thank GOD the trend with the dark red dining rooms or dark green kitchens are gone forever! And thank you Jesus that white is IN! Because it makes our jobs as photographers SO much easier! Because light BOUNCES like Tigger on steroids, it will bounce whatever color is on the wall back into your client’s face! This is called “color cast”. It will make editing hell, and it will be almost impossible to get those gorgeous images you want!! Also! Not only are white walls great for lighting purposes, but having a clean background for your client showcases THEM instead of Grandma’s 1969 lime green wall paper. 🙂
2. Find the Biggest Window
So after you have found a location that has light colored walls, find yourself a big window! The standard size windows do great, but the bigger the window the better and bigger the light coming in! This can be in a dining room, living room, or bedroom! So Step 1: Find light colored walls to avoid color cast. Step 2: Find the window and gravitate toward it! And Step 3: Turn off all the lights.
3. Turn Off All the Tungsten Lights in the Room
“Wait. What? You mean you wan’t me turn off the lights? I thought photographers NEEDED light!?” This is the general response I get when I ask the venue or home owner to turn off the lights in the room. And I’ll be honest- the first time I had someone question me.. I was like, “Oh crap.. did I just make the right call?” The answer, my friend, is YES. Yes, it is the right call! Let me explain. Daylight(natural light from the sun) and tungsten light(artificial light from most light bulbs) have two different colors (or temperatures). So to make sure that your subject is in even, clean light- you have to choose one color! I normally ALWAYS go with the daylight, which is why I will turn off the tungsten lights in the room— UNLESS there are zero window and only tungsten light… therefore don’t turn off the lights honey or you’ll be in the dark— but thats a different topic on a different day! Lets keep in simple and just say we are only going to talk about shooting natural light!! 🙂
4. Place the Client Facing The Window
So I am sure you’ve seen those amazing bridal portraits of the bride in the window opening up the curtains and all you see is her gorgeous silhouette! That is gorgeous, but thats not what you want to do here. You want to put the client FACING the window so that the natural light is filling in her imperfections in her face such as: dark circles, acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. Your client will forever be grateful! This is also a really good selfie tip! 😉 (you’re welcome)
5. Use a Reflector
I always always always bring reflectors with me on wedding days because I never know what locations or light I am working with until I show up! Reflectors are like a huge white shield that you can have someone hold up that will bounce light that is coming in through the window back onto the subject! SO lets just say you are ONLY given a room with blue walls— you can use your reflector to shield your bride from having the blue color cast from the wall.. and now you have the light bouncing off of a white reflector! I use reflectors especially when I am shooting bridal details! This helps lift shadows and brighten my images! It’s seriously a game changer! This is the reflector I use! You can purchase it HERE ! 🙂
So thats it my friends! My FIVE biggest secrets that will instantly change your images!! I hope this helps!!
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