Natural light (ie the sun) is going to be the best light. That means if you are in your house the natural light will be coming in from windows and doors. If you are taking photos inside, turn off the lights and open up the blinds/shades to let in the natural light. (If you are using a point and shoot then you may need the extra light from light bulbs but try without the lights to see what happens!) Then place your subject near the light source. Try point their face (if you are using a person as a subject) toward the light to get the sparkle (catch light) in their eyes.
How do you do this with moving little kids? Well, my kids rarely sit still long enough for a posed picture. So I try to get them to play near a window or the door (assuming it isn't the baby who will run outside if the door is open!). Then I can take pictures of them in nice light while they are playing. I am also known to bribe with treats/rewards if I really want a picture of something special.
These two pictures below are Matthew and John looking out the window in our kitchen. I am pretty sure I gave them a reward (like a cookie) if they sat for 5 photos. (not that this was something special but I wanted to practice that day!) These pictures aren't particularly exciting, but it is good practice anyways!
In this photo below, notice I opened the door here to let more light on Matthew while was playing a game. This room is a bit darker so I tried to direct the light onto him. It kind of gives him a neat glow on the side of his body.
This cute picture of Bella twirling is obviously next to lots of windows.
I opened the blinds all the way up on the window to my right in this photo. It puts a nice light on us as John reads to me. (You can see the left side of the photo is brighter than the right due to where the light source is).
John and my dad are next to the windows in my kitchen for this photo. So they are being lit from the front and the side. I also like that because of the light we can see their reflection in the table.
This photo of Thomas is in the living room without a ton of light. So notice how his face is kind of perpendicular to the window (one side of his face is light more than the other). He still has nice sparkly eyes since he is toward the window. You can put the subject in a spot where it is lit but the light falls away quickly to make it a dark background. Garages are actually a good place for this because if you put your subject close to the light (the edge of the garage) then the background will be dark, thus hiding all the junk in your garage. :)
This one of Thomas is in the same room as the photo above but just closer to the window and a different angle so the light is hitting him a little different.
In the photo below, Matthew is in the same room as Thomas was in above. He is pretty close to the window but hiding behind the chair. I took the photo through the chair legs and you can see how his cute little tushie is lit up.
You can also do the opposite of making the background dark. If you shoot up against a window, it will 'blow out' the background and you can't see any messiness outside the windows like in the the below photo of John by the window. If you have a point and shoot, this won't work well because it will be more of a silhouette photo, but that can be cool too.
So YOUR challenge for today is go through your house and notice where the light is hitting. (Of course, this will change throughout the day!) Look for bright spots on the floor or shadows. Are there any neat places to take pictures where there would be good lighting? Places maybe to avoid? Which rooms have lots of light for nice bright photos and which rooms may have lower light for darker or dramatic photos? Are there any locations where there is lots of reflected light (like maybe a kitchen with white cabinets). Then try to take some pictures of your kids, or still life if you don't have cooperative kids handy, and see what light looks best, which way should they turn, what is more dramatic, what looks bad, etc. This is also perfect for practicing setting the camera for manual! :)
For those of you who are advanced participants, try to go out of your comfort zone in your house. Find new places to shoot, dramatic light (maybe striped light through blinds or dappled light), etc. Or try to use unique artificial light (ex: ipad light, light from an open fridge door, computer screen) if you have natural light down pat. Or for a bigger challenge, try to make the shadow the subject of your photo.
I am eager to see what everyone comes up with on facebook!
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