The Golden Hour in Photography


Ok, I know I keep going on about it, but really if there's one aspect of a scene that can make or break the image more than any other, it's the lighting. You might have the most incredible landscape or stunning portrait model, but without the right quality of light and knowing how to make best use of it, you can still be left with a flat, dull, and uninspiring photo, so it's often very important to find the right time of day to shoot your outdoor scene. This brings me neatly on to the The Golden Hour in photography (or sometimes 'Magic Hour'), it's roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset. The exact times and durations vary depending on the time of year, and where in the world you are. The further you are from the equator, the longer your golden hour. During the golden hour, the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, warm light which for most subjects is more flattering than the harsh midday sun that we're sometimes unable to avoid. The light at these times is also less contrasty, which reducing the chances of losing parts of your subject in strong shadows or blown-out highlights. The warm glow adds a pleasing feel to the scene, and the long shadows help to pick out details, adding texture and depth to the image. And if that wasn't enough, there's an added bonus, there are generally fewer people around at dawn and dusk than there are at other times of the day, giving you a chance to capture your images in peace and quiet. To shoot the sun as [...]

The Golden Hour in Photography2017-05-29T16:22:15+01:00

Window light portraits, Part I – Shooting parallel to window


Natural light photography - Window Light portrait tips For many portraits, nothing beats the natural beauty of window light. The larger the light source in relation to the subject, the softer the light, so directional window light can can create beautifully lit, soft portraits that bring out great looking skin tones and display a seemingly perfect balance between shadows and highlights. There are several ways to use window light for portraits, providing varying lighting pattern for different 'looks', in this tip I'm going to be covering shooting parallel to the window. This type of light provides directional light for a slightly more dramatic look. About the window Avoid sunshine streaming in through the window, as it will ruin the portrait. Choose a north facing window (or south if you live in the southern hemisphere!), or a cloudy day. If it's a large window, sometimes there can be too much light, that might be fine, but you'd have to experiment. You can also draw the curtains or close blinds to get a more dramatic portrait. Subject positioning The closer your subject is to the window, the stronger the contrast between light and shadow on their face, generally speaking about 4 feet (just over a metre) is fine. As your subject moves further into the room, the light will be flatter and less dramatic. The angle of the light should be from above, so if the window isn't very high, or you have a tall subject, sit them down. Your subject should either look slightly off-camera towards the window, or look at the camera but with their face turned slightly towards the window (this will provide [...]

Window light portraits, Part I – Shooting parallel to window2017-10-10T15:43:56+01:00

Natural light photography on stormy days


When it comes to improving the quality of your photos, learning about light isn’t that sexy is it? Many people would much prefer to learn about their shiny new camera or lenses, rather than being shown some easy photography lighting tips. But it’s fair to say that a good understanding and use of light will improve your photos far more than a whole bag full of cameras and accessories. As an added bonus, light is with us all of the time (nearly!), and you don’t have to carry it around with you!! Sometimes, all it needs to create a much better photo is just a little thought and awareness of the light. So here’s a great natural light photography tip for certain bad weather days. The London Eye I was raised in London, and often go and re-visit my home town, one amazing attraction there is the London Eye, a huge Ferris wheel on the south bank of the River Thames, it moves around very slowly and offers fabulous views across the London and its skyline. When I paid a visit with my camera last year, the weather was awful, but despite that, I was still able to get a great shot of ‘The Eye’ with some beautiful light. As you can see from the photo above, the weather was stormy and cloudy and a few minutes before I took this shot, the light was very poor. I could see that although there was enough light to take a photo, it just wasn’t a good quality light, being very bland and grey, and I knew that if I just took a photo there and then (like many other people were doing!), that it would just [...]

Natural light photography on stormy days2017-05-29T16:22:16+01:00
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