"Every artist was first an amateur." ~Unknown The three most important things a photographer needs in order to take a photograph are a camera, a subject and light! It's funny because we don't usually think of the third one very much. But for obvious reasons, light is surely a necessity! If you don't have light you cannot have a photograph. Sometimes your camera will help you get light in dim situations (i.e. the flash) and sometimes you can add light yourself (i.e. lamp light or other alternative light). You can also just rely on the environment to give light to you (i.e. the sun or the moon). Today we will talk about the third option, taking light from your environment and making it work for you. I think every photographer knows that this is a life lesson that never stops. Learning how to manipulate light in your environment is not only challenging, it is very intricate and difficult to explain. The best way to learn it is to just experiment with it. Try different angles and see how it works for you. See what you like. Here are a few examples to get you started.

1. Side light.

Side lighting is just that: light that comes from the side. There are tons of ways to get this type of lighting. You will see it often inside homes next to your window. You can also see this outside next to a building or in a doorway when you half in the light and half in the shadows. Sometimes your subject will fall completely dark inside the shadows and other times they won't. But placing your subject just in the middle is the important step here. Anything else and it becomes a different type of light. Trust me. There are many!

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

2. Back light.

Back lighting is something that takes a while to master. When you have the light coming into your camera from in front of you a couple things tend to happen. You can get lots of glare and haze if you are not careful. And, as you can imagine, your subject will become dark because the light is behind them! You can make this work for you by making your subject a silhouette but sometimes that is not what we want! Sometimes just moving a few inches from left to right will make a difference on how the light shows into your camera. Here are some examples of mine.

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

So go out there and experiment with light! It is so fun to be able to know how to manipulate and mold the light to do what you want. Not only that, your pictures will thank you for it.

If you missed my last two lessons please feel free to take a look. It is amazing what wonderful things you can accomplish with just a few tips under your belt. First you can learn all about composition and when you are ready go ahead and read about how simple backgrounds can make your subjects pop.

Lastly, if you think this is all fun to read but are not ready to take it on yourself then please don't hesitate to contact (me!) the professional so I can do it all for you! Contact me today so we can schedule your dream session!

Much Love,



Member of National Association of Child Photographers 

Heather Floyd NAPCP

Member of Red Thread Sessions

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