Friday, January 31, 2014

photography club: natural lighting techniques

It is no secret that I love the warmth of the sun.  Sometime in the last year or so I became obsessed with capturing it in my photos.  I've learned all sorts of fun techniques and terminology on the topic, strictly on an amateur basis.  Here are a few of the natural lighting tips I shared with the high school photography club this semester.  You've probably seen most of the photos on my blog at some point or another, but i think pretty pictures are always worth a second glance.
sun flare is my absolute favorite.  i feel like i can actually see teh sun in this photo.  and look at those sweet prismatic rainbows on my kitty.  wow.  the sun adds so much personality and emotion to this shot.

sun flare is easiest to capture in the morning or evening when the sun is closer to the horizon.  i just place the sun at the top edge of my photo and tilt the lens till i see the sun leaking across the image.  this photo was taken in the early morning.  it was a foggy day too which played up the drama of the sunbeams breaking the dawn.

a bit of evening sun flare, shadowplay, and a crazy cool green and red spot of light on the lawn.

our cub scouts playing football before dinner at the fall campout.  i love everything about this one.  the sun has added so much drama and intensity.

sun flare can also be captured at high noon.  you just have to look for places where the sunlight is leaking around the edge of another object.  standing under a tree and looking up through the leaves is a surefire way to capture it during this time of day.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.  i can't wait for spring!

redbuds and sunshine.  makes my heart skip a beat.

backlighting is when the light is behind the subject.  i love this for flowers and leaves.  the interplay of light and shadows through the transparent foilage is just lovely.

backlighting can also product a nice halo effect like the one here highlighting the frost edging this fallen leaf.

shining on these two sweeties (also love the sparkles leaking in the railing).

the same cutie brunette from above with her wild baby curls.  and enough light in the foreground to still get catchlights.

and if there's not enough light in the foreground, the color starts leaching out of the shot, producing a backlit silhouette.  this one was created because i was under the pier.

this one in the early eveing as the light was fading.

and not much light at all here as my niece holds her baby on the fourth of july.

bokah results from a shallow depth of field that causes the background to blur.  any little light reflectors in that background will then put on a sparkly show.  in this pic, the sparkles are causes by blurred water droplets.

here the bokah is from fall leaves on the trees.

and here jsut a touch from sunlight reflecting on the leaves reflected in the window.

and finally, a little blow out.  blow out, like most of the naturally lighting techniques here, is often considered a photography nuisance.  like here there is too much light coming in from the window to the right.  it's reflecting off the white fur and causing the photo to lose definition around the nose area.

but blow out isn't all bad.  love the etherial look it created here.  this was a late afternoon photo taken while i was laying in the grass.  the neighbors must think i'm crazy.

early morning light.

and blow out at the beach with all that light reflecting off the white sand.  what?  you didn't realize there's a beach behind him?  yep.  but i love this shot.  i don't always want the sand and surf to fade away, but in this case, oh my.  look at that tan skin and adorable cheeks as he smiles at his mama who's reflected in his lenses. 

here are some great articles i found on the various topics i mentioned here.  these are written by professionals with a gift for putting their thoughts in terms that laymen can understand.


backlighting silhouetttes


blow out

sun flare

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