Well hello there! I’m very excited that this month, our Photo Clinic posts have a festive twist (and just wait until you see what Emily has planned. I already can’t wait to read it!). Today I’m going to be talking about light – making the best of available light and photographing lights!
If you are a fan of using natural light then this time of the year is the worst! By the time school is finished, it’s practically dark so what’s a snap happy girl to do? First off, I try and take photos as early in the day as I possibly can and I have learnt where all the best spots are in my house and at what time of the day. Whenever I can, I position my little darlings in a doorway or facing a window and stand with the window behind me (I mayyyy have even stepped out into the garden and photographed them through the open door to let as much light in as possible…). I like to use a portrait or prime lens and shoot with a large aperture to let as much light into the camera as possible (usually f1.8-f3.5). If you’re using a bridge camera or kit lens or zoom lens, I’d shoot at the widest setting. I usually shoot in aperture priority (A or Av on the dial). I set my aperture, set my ISO and check the shutter speed. I don’t like to shoot slow if I can help it, I have pretty shaky hands (seriously, my videos are shocking) so I like to keep my shutter speed faster than 1/125 if I can, maybe 1/60 if I’m photographing something stationary. I will take up the ISO until I am happy with the shutter speed, I don’t mind a bit of noise/grain in my images, it really is a personal thing but if you aren’t a fan, I’d keep the ISO below 1600 if you can.
Until fairly recently, I didn’t use a reflector but bought one on sale (mine is similar to this one if you’re interested) and it made more of a difference than I thought. I’d read various tutorials and had tried using white card and homemade reflectors but they didn’t work nearly as well. It also works well to attract a little one’s attention if you need to! You can either prop it against something or even get the person you’re photographing to hold it. I took a few photos of my little duo out in the garden last week. I’d started in the house but the light was just awful (just after 4pm) so I moved them out into the garden with the reflector (Poor kid inherited my uber paleness too, I’m often asked if he’s under the weather…No, we’re just *really* pale!)
Holding the reflector…it’s a little too bright but as you can see, it really works. These are unedited, I like to warm up photos a bit, especially this time of year.
Better positioned reflector
I think it’s lovely to take photos in the home, I think it really helps tell the story and I love looking back at old photos and remembering the decor! I love to use lights or a Christmas tree as a backdrop.
You can also use the tree for a silhouette shot. For this I focused on the tree so that he would be dark.
And you don’t even need the kids! You can get creative with the tree, try out different exposures and focusing, maybe make a slow motion or speeded up video (take a look at this post from Xanthe on slow motion video!). I made this GIF of my mum’s tree and it was really simple and easy to do (tutorial to come!) and it’s fun to send in an email or for a blog post. (I am kicking myself for not using a tripod for this – see the shaky hands I mentioned?)
Going back to exposures, I set my camera up on a tripod and played around with different shutter speeds. The photo below was taken with a 30 second exposure. I love the starburst.
If you switch your lens to manual focus, you can try out some different looks. (Don’t forget to set it back after. I had a mad moment of panic when I thought my lens had broken!)
Hopefully that’s given you some ideas! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!