Trust me, I completely understand if you feel disheartened and can’t quite figure out how to take bright photos for your blog. That is something I really struggled with when I first started blogging, and I would always get really disheartened when taking photos. It got to the point where I wouldn’t blog consistently simply because I hated the way my pictures turned out. Honestly, this was a problem for me up until a few months ago. Now, I really like taking photos because I’ve finally gotten into the groove of things. My pictures are in no way perfect and I’m not an expert by any means. I still get really frustrated at times, but these simple tips really helped me and I hope they help you too!
How To Take Bright Photos
I haven’t been able to look back ever since I discovered the wonders of natural lighting. I basically have no life on Sundays because during the day I spend several hours taking photographs. Even if you don’t have a lot of natural light in your home (like me), I suggest still using natural light and then playing around with editing afterwards.
Reflecting light is a great way to amp up the brightness even if you have limited lighting. You can buy reflectors or you can use a white foam board/ poster board, which is what I use for my photography setup.
Use light backgrounds
This kind of goes hand in hand with reflecting light. Using light colored backgrounds will reflect light and make your pictures brighter. If you use a lot of dark backgrounds then your images of course will come out darker.
Avoid direct sunlight
If you do use natural light, avoid direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause harsh shadows. I personally take photos during the day when no direct sunlight is in the room. Overcast days are my favorite because it gives a very even diffused light.
Use artificial light
Natural lighting can be very finicky and difficult to work with, and balancing a full time job/school means you’ll most likely have to take pictures at night sometimes. In that case, invest in artificial lights. I used to use umbrella lights until February of this year when I purchased some soft boxes.
Use daylight bulbs
If you do use artificial light, make sure you use daylight bulbs. Basically, daylight bulbs with a color temperature of 5500K are ideal because they’re not too yellow or too blue in tone. Never ever use regular yellow bulbs because those will make your pictures way too yellow!
The exposure triangle
If you have a DSLR then you should really get to know “the exposure triangle.” The exposure triangle consists of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
ISO: if you have really dim lighting then up the ISO because this will add brightness to your pictures. But, make sure you don’t go over 800 because that is when your pictures can start to get a bit grainy.
Aperture: this is the f stop number. Aperture can be confusing, but basically a lower number will allow more light to come in. A higher number will allow less light to come in. If you hear someone say high or wide aperture that really means the number is lower (i.e. f/ 1.8) and vice versa. Aperture also affects depth of field. A higher aperture (low number) is great if you want a blurred background with focus on one object. A lower aperture (high number i.e. f/ 16) means more will be in focus, but remember that will allow less light in.
Shutter Speed: this is the amount of time the shutter speed is open. A lower number means it’s going to be quicker, while a higher shutter speed means it’s going to be open longer. Shutter speed deals with blur and motion in a picture, but it can also affect brightness. Basically, without getting too complicated, a slower shutter speed (lower number) will make your images brighter. But, a number too high or too low will be affected by camera shake.
Camera shake indirectly affects brightness, which is why I think a tripod is a really good investment. Investing in a tripod will allow you to have a slower shutter speed and that will brighten your photos while still being clear and crisp.
Adjust your white balance
Your camera’s white balance is really important if you don’t want your pictures to come out too yellow or blue toned. I personally use “AWB” which is the auto white balance, and think it works great. But, you can use the other settings depending on your lighting and even set your own custom white balance. Basically, take a picture of a white piece of paper in the lighting you’re using and choose the custom white balance option.
Don’t use flash
I used to use my camera’s flash all the time because I thought it would help brighten up my photos. But, it really just gives causes your photos to have uneven lighting and harsh shadows, which is no good if you’re trying to have evenly lit bright photos.
Focus on editing
Lastly, editing really makes all the difference! Upping your exposure, highlights, adjusting your curves, and adjusting the temperature are just a few things you can do to make your images much brighter.
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