I thought I’d have a crack at a competition ran by Urban Cottage Industries. The task is to upload a photo in natural light and one in artificial light. I decided to do a bit of a blog post giving tips on how to shoot in both circumstances.
Taking photos isn’t as easy as just clicking a button. There’s a lot more to think about if you want to take a photo that stands out from the rest.
You have to think of your surroundings and environment when selecting your camera settings. We would all love to be able to have that low ISO and quick shutter speed for sharp photos, but out in the real world, you don’t always have that option.
Using a lightbox can be handy to help you get the right type of photos for your blog. You can achieve that blurry background, sharp image, and a stunning close up with ease. But you can’t carry around massive lightboxes with you in everyday life.
Well, you could, but you would probably draw a lot of attention to yourself.
Here are some tips on how to take great photos in both natural and artificial light on the go.
The above photo was taken at London zoo on a sunny day in July. I was able to use a fast shutter speed and zoom in to get a clear photo of the penguin in motion.
The greatest thing about natural light is that it’s free! The only problem is that it can’t be guaranteed. Especially when living in the UK.
Time of day.
Around midday, the sun will produce neutral white colours with high contrast. During sunrise and sunset, your photos will have a very warm look to them and less contrast. So the time of day you’re taking the photo is something to think about.
Another thing to think about is whether it is cloudy or not. When the sky is clear, you get hard light. Hard light brings out more colours and contrast.
You’ll get softer light on a cloudy day. Photos taken in softer light will have softer edges in shadows, but the photos can seem duller compared to a sunny day. Avoid taking photos of the sky in soft light as it will just be white.
Soft light is great for taking photos of people. It’s also good for taking photos in woods, forests, still life flowers.
Backlight is a great way to take photos of buildings and landscapes. Especially as the sun is setting. It’s where the sun is behind the thing you’re taking a photo of and it causes an eerie, moody effect.
The above photo was taken in Disney World where I was able to take advantage of the light from the fireworks to get a lovely photo of the silhouette of the Disney castle with the fireworks in the background.
Taking photos in artificial light or at night is a bit more tricky. One thing you need to be able to do is to adjust your shutter speed.
A faster shutter speed gives you a clearer, sharper image, but because the shutter speed is fast, it does not let much light in. This means in darker conditions, your photo will be dark or even completely black.
Using a slower shutter speed means more light gets in, so you will be able to take photos in darker conditions. The downfall to this is that photos can often be blurry if the shutter speed is too slow.
You can get some great results by using a slow shutter speed if you have some objects moving and everything else still.
Seek out the light source.
Take advantage of light sources, such as street lights, shop windows or indoor lighting.
Take note of where the light source is shining and you might be able to capture some objects in stunning light.