Natural Light Photography Tips and Tricks

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In a world of automatic cameras and built in flashes, it's easy to forget how rewarding natural light photography can be. Although getting great results without studio lighting equipment can be more challenging, using natural light can make you a more skilled photographer and often creates some truly stunning images.

Many of photography's greatest minds swore by working with the environment rather than manipulating it. If you think you're up to the challenge, here are a few things to keep in mind before you set off into the world:

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 example, when you take pictures in your house, you can open or close the curtains or blinds to change the amount of light coming into the room.

This also works for creating focused directional light. If you're in a room with two light sources like windows, you can always cover one side to get the focus and direction of light that you want. Try moving around buildings and structures to see how your movement changes the way your pictures end up.

Watch Out for 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. The bright and direct light in the middle of the day can cause high contrast, hotspots and stark shadows in your pictures.

If you do happen to want the harsh look of direct sunlight, then noon may be a good time. However, if you're looking for soft and even light for portraits, you'll get much better results in the early morning hours. Morning air has a sort of clarity to it that is hard to describe, but you'll immediately see the difference in your images. You will also find that overcast days are great for natural lighting of subjects as your pictures will be bright but lack harsh directional 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. High and low speed films are very situational and may cause you to work around available light rather than with it causing you to have 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.

Shooting with natural light can be one of the most fun or most frustrating experiences a photographer can have. As you use work more regularly in natural light photography, you will see more successes and less mistakes. By applying these tips, paying attention to detail and having fun, your images should turn out just fine.

Autumn Lockwood loves taking pictures and is a writer for YourPictureFrames.com. Your Picture Frames offers a large selection of stylish picture frames in a wide variety of styles, finishes and sizes. If you're looking for a baby shower gift or a frame for a school photo visit our website or call us toll free at 1-800-780-0699.

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