3 Tips for Taking Great Pictures Using Natural Light

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If you've ever wondered how to get great pictures using available light, then you need to master the skill of natural light photography. Use these three tips so you can start taking great pictures using natural light.

Control Your Light

You may not be able to control the level of natural light or its clarity, but you can still manipulate certain aspects of the way it interacts with your subjects. For instance, if you're in a room with windows, closing or opening the curtains or blinds can significantly change the amount of light coming into the room. This also works wonderfully for creating targeted directional light. If you're in a room with two light sources like two windows, you can cover up one window so you can control how the image turns out. Consider changing your position and move around buildings or large structures to see how this will impact your picture.

Dodge the Sun

Though it seems like the best time of day for using natural light would be when the sun is the brightest at high noon, that is actually the worst. Light found in the middle of the day, can often lead to sharply directed light that causes hot spots, stark shadows and high contrast in your photos. If for some reason, you want the harsh shadows and bright light of direct sunlight, then high noon may be the perfect time. But if you want a more soft and even light for your portrait, you're better off shooting in the early morning hours. If you take pictures in the early morning, you'll find that the morning air has a clarity to it that you won't find at any other time of the day. Overcast days are also great for taking pictures outside because there are no bright or harsh shadows.

Control Your Speeds

If you use regular film instead of digital, it's advisable that you use a medium-range film speed (400 is ideal) to ensure that you'll be able to shoot in most situations. If you use high or low speed films, it can cause you to work around the available light rather than using it to your advantage which will cause a lot of wasted time and missed shots. It's a good idea to choose a shutter speed for the day (you'll soon get good at judging this with some practice) and only adjust the F Stop or vice versa. The fewer things you have to worry about during your shoot, the more "in" the moment you will be.

If you've ever taken pictures using natural light, then you know it can be either one of the best or worst experiences a photographer can have. The more you practice using natural light, the less mistakes you'll make and the better your pictures will turn out. As always, remember to keep it fun and everything should turn out just fine.


Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames. Visit our website and see our selection of 8x10 picture frames in a wide variety of styles, shapes and colors. Shop online and see our selection of metal and wood 8x10 picture frames or call 1-800-780-0699.

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