These easy photography tips from Meg of Snap Happy Mom prove that you don't need a DSLR to take a good picture. Meg is dedicated to teaching moms about photography, so they can feel confident with any camera in-hand.
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Many aspiring photographer struggle with indoor photography, especially in the winter when it’s harder to shoot outside.
But indoor photography isn’t actually hard – it just requires a little more planning and creativity. Today I have a simple hack for you to take evenly-lit portraits using window light. You can use this tip with any type of camera - even a camera phone!
Basically, most people know that indirect light from windows and sliding glass doors is awesome for photography. One of the easiest things you can do is place your subject next to a window and take pictures; the only problem is that sometimes you might get more shadows than you wanted.
My quick and easy hack is to use a piece of white poster board to bounce the light around and brighten up the side of the subject that isn’t facing the window. Seriously - it's really as easy as it sounds!
Here’s an example. You can see that there is a big glass door on the left side of the frame here. Technically, this picture is just fine as it is! (To be clear, shadows in pictures aren’t bad. But, for the purposes of this tutorial we’re going for a classic, evenly-lit portrait.)
Check out what happens on the picture on the right! The only difference in that I used the poster board you can see to reflect the window light over to the other side of his face.
You can see the difference in the shadows - on his skin and his clothes - it's significantly brighter, because of light reflecting off the white poster board! These pictures are not edited in any way – that little piece of foam core just brightens up the shadows and makes it more evenly lit.
I use this tip all the time for newborn pictures at home, sibling shots, classic portraits, and more. You can do it too!
Here are some tips:
- Pick the right time of day to shoot. You want there to be brightness coming from the windows, but not actual patches of sunlight. This is called indirect light, and it is perfect for portraits!
- Position your subject near the window, with the light coming from their side. Then add the poster board, and play with the angle to get it to reflect towards the front of their face.
- You can either prop up the poster board up on a chair or piece of furniture, or you can have someone else hold it for you. It’s a great job for an eager sibling to do!
- I use cheap foam core poster board - it's stiff but lightweight. You can also buy a 5-in-one reflector for about $20 on Amazon if you’re interested in photography, but foam core or poster board is cheap and easy for moms.
- Normally, I wouldn’t have the poster board showing in the pictures, or I would plan on cropping them out. I left it in these pictures to show you the obvious difference, but usually the poster board would be a foot father away, just out of sight from my camera.
Quick Tip Photo Cards
Is this your kind of easy-to-understand tutorial? Then you'll love my Quick Tip Photo Cards!
Check out these handy photography “cheat sheet” cards for moms. I created these cards to provide you with all the things you might need to reference while you’re shooting. There are plenty more tips like this, including outdoor lighting, indoor lighting, using flash, and more!
And, lighting is only one topic discussed in these handy cards. The cards cover all sorts of topics that any mom can use to take better pictures: avoiding blurry photos, working with kids, how exposure works, what aperture means, manual mode troubleshooting, and more!
These cards are intended to fit in your camera bag or pocket, so that they are easy to use and carry with you. Plus, they are super cute and color-coded, which makes it more enjoyable, right? Right!
Check out the Quick Tip Photo Cards here - they would make a GREAT gift for a mom who’s learning how to use her new camera! Or... you can treat yourself. 🙂
Snap Happy Mom is dedicated to helping moms (and Dads!) learn how to take better pictures of their families. Meg wants you to have pictures that matter to them, and that capture those precious moments of parenting and childhood. No matter what kind of camera you have or how experienced you are, she can help you feel more comfortable behind that camera.
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