Welcome to Design House Digital’s School of Design. Today, and every single day in September, we’ll have new blog posts; informative, detailed, and FREE classes that will take your digital scrapbooking to the next level. Each subject will have a new post weekly, and at the end of the month you won’t believe how much you’ve learned! Our schedule is as follows:
- Thursdays – Journaling From the Heart with Jen Papadimitriou
- Fridays - Photography Tips and Tricks with Lori Pickens
- Saturdays – You and Your Camera with Allison Waken & Shannon Dombkowski
- Sundays – Standout Shadows with Gennifer Bursett
- Mondays – Design Theory with Tiffany Tillman
- Tuesdays – Blogging Secrets with Mary Shaw
- Wednesdays – Maximizing Templates with Renee Fink
We’re so excited about this, and hope you will be, too!
Hi everyone. Lori here. I’m not sure if you knew this about me or not, but in addition to being an avid scrapbooker, I happen to be a professional photographer. I’m here this week to share with you all the tips and tricks that I use to get great images for my clients.
In my opinion, by far the most important aspect of getting a great image is finding the light. You can have an awesome backdrop or location, all the props you want, and maybe even the cutest kid in the world, but if you don’t have proper lighting the image will fall far short of its potential. For me, the best way to know I have good light is look for the catchlights.
Catchlight is a photography term used to describe the reflection of your light source in the subject’s eyes.
It’s not a guarantee, but the majority of the time, if you can see nice catchlights you can know that your subject’s face is going to be well lit.
If you are indoors, one of the best ways to get great catchlights is to have your subject facing a window. One option is to actually place you between the subject and the window. This will give you a more flat lighting look with very little shadows because the subject’s face is evenly lit. In the photo below, our glass sliding door is behind me and Faith is lying on the floor in front of me. You can see I have nice catchlights and there are very little shadows on her face. The closer your subject is to the window or light source the larger the catchlight will be.
Another great option is 45-degree lighting. Instead of having the subject face you directly, you can turn them slightly away from the window, so that the light falls across his or her face. In this case, you will have more shadows that can also give depth to your image. The trick is to make sure you catchlights in both eyes, so be careful not to turn them too much where the eye furthest from the window looks more like a dark circle. In the image below the light source is at a 45 degree angle with my niece and you can see how the light shines across it producing shadows on one side, but there are still nice catchlights in the upper corner of her eye.
My favorite outdoor lighting is what’s called open shade. Open shade is where your subject is directly in the shade, but there is open sky in front of them. You can place them in the open shade and then turn them around, shooting at them from different directions, until you see the catchlights in their eyes.
One sure fire way to get nice catchlights in your children’s eyes when you’re outside is to have them look up slightly. This way they are looking towards the light source (the sun) and it will reflect back in their eyes.
Another great tip is to look for natural reflectors. Practically everything reflects light. You can even use sidewalks or the sides of buildings to reflect back into your subjects eyes. This is one reason I almost always wear a white shirt when I have client sessions; I can actually act as a natural reflector and add a little more light to my subject.
The best advice I have for learning light is to just watch for catchlights in every day situations. Even if your not taking pictures, but happen to be sitting at the table or playing with the kids in the floor. Notice whether or not you can see a catchlight and at what angle they are from the light source. Pretty soon, you’ll notice them all the time and knowing how to get them for your pictures will be second nature.
I hope these tips and tricks help you find the light and capture some great moments. Be sure to stay tuned this month for all the School of Design posts. I’ll be back to share more of my photography tips about how to to get your kids attention and even smiles, poses and milestones for certain age groups, and ideas for starting photo traditions. You don’t want to miss it!