Using Natural Light In Your Photography (Plus a Giveaway!)

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.

In today’s world, cameras are only an arm length away (or less!).  Like many people, I keep my phone nearby during the day in order to check my texts or emails, but more than anything, I want a camera close by to capture pictures or videos of my kids.  But how many times have I taken a picture thinking it’s going to turn out so great, only to be disappointed because of a lighting issue?  Let me tell you, the answer is a lot.  And it’s frustrating!  But the good news is, using light to your advantage is a skill you can learn, especially with the help of a good teacher.

Meet Kendra from Kendra Leigh Photography and Video.  If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you might remember the guest post she did last spring about how to choose colors for family pictures.  It’s a fantastic post and I highly recommend it if you’re considering taking family pictures any time in the near future.  In addition, Kendra is the person behind many of my more styled shoots (the ones where I’m in the picture), such as this and this as well as one coming up this Friday. She is a very talented photographer and I’m so lucky to have her as my friend.

Today, Kendra is going to be sharing an important tip on how to use light to capture those beautiful images on your camera that you see with your eyes.

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Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.

I am Kendra Hill of Kendra Leigh Photography and Video; I’ve been a professional photographer for three years, and have a Bachelor’s degree in Film from UVU.  Because I take pictures all the time, and I love what I do, I’ve been able to learn many tips and tricks on how to use different qualities of light to capture beautiful images.  The mastery of light is something everyone can learn, and I will teach you how to create beautiful images regardless of what camera you have!

One of the best ways to improve the quality of your photography is to ‘see the light.’  Light is the most powerful tool we have when we take a picture.  It can make the ordinary look absolutely extraordinary.  There are quite a few kinds of light, which we will talk about during the Snap Happy Course (see details below).  One of the best types of light for photography is diffused light.

What is diffused light?

When using natural sunlight, it can be very harsh when shining directly on your subject.  But, it can be diffused by cloud cover, a doorway, garage, window, tree overhang, etc.  By using an object to diffuse harsh front light, it becomes a softer, more flattering light.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Sheer curtains diffuse the light in this photo

If at all possible, you want to avoid harsh front light as it creates dramatic shadows, and often leaves your subject squinting to protect their eyes.  We don’t always have a choice on what time of day we take our pictures, and it is important to capture your memories regardless of the light you have to work with.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Trees diffuse light in this photo

However, if you can find a tree, door, sheer curtains, or other way to soften that harsh light it will help you to create more beautiful images.  This is only one natural lighting technique.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Edge of wall diffuses the light in this photo

Coming in March is a photography class you don’t want to miss.  It’s called Snap Happy and in this class, I’m teaching you how to take the best photos possible, in any kind of light, whether it is noon or dusk.  This is a local, hands-on class on March 4, 2017 from 2-5 PM in Springville, UT.  (Sorry to those of you out of state or not within driving distance!)

This beginning photography class will cover:

  • Equipment
  • Protecting your Memories
  • The 5 Steps to Happy Snaps
  • How to Lose 10 lbs in the Camera
  • And a Q&A

The Snap Happy class is $60 for a 2-hour technical course, followed by a photoshoot with a child model, or we can take photos of each other if you want, so you can practice what you’ve learned.  When I have received your class fee, your spot is secured. I have a limited number of seats and they are filling up, so sign up quickly.  This is a class you will not want to miss!  To give another person the opportunity to transform their snaps, Shani and I have teamed up to do a giveaway and present one of our followers on social media a chance to win one of our remaining spots!  If you send in your class fee to secure your spot and happen to win our contest, your fee will be refunded.

A DSLR is not a requirement, however, portions of the class which discuss manual functions may not be applicable on other cameras.

If you have any further questions, please email me at kendra@klphotographyandvideo.com, or call/text me at 385-221-8849.

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I’ve got to tell you that I have made the mistake of taking pictures of my kids outside, knowing that light is important for good pictures, only to end up with squinty eyes or hands over the face because I put them directly in the sun.  Have you been there too?  
The giveaway for (1) Snap Happy class will run from Wednesday, February 15 to Tuesday, February 21 ending at midnight MST.  The winner will be announced on both my and Kendra’s Facebook page on Wednesday, February 22.  If you’d like to enter the giveaway, see the requirements below.  Good luck!
Requirements:
  • 14 years or older
  • Ability to come to the class in Springville, UT on March 4, 2017 from 2-5pm
  • Have a camera (any kind!)

To enter the giveaway, you will need to:

  • Visit Sunshine & Munchkins Facebook page (1 entry)
  • Visit Kendra Leigh Photography and Videos Facebook page (1 entry)
  • Leave a comment below about a photography technique you’d like to learn (1 entry)
  • Follow Sunshine & Munchkins on Instagram (optional: extra entry)
  • Follow Kendra Leigh Photography and Video on Instagram (optional: extra entry)

I am signed up to take Kendra’s class next month and I am so excited to be able to learn from a professional and then try out what I learn on my poor, unsuspecting kids.  Good luck and if you know someone who would be interested in signing up for the class or entering the giveaway, send them my way!

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

How to Sell Your Stuff Online: Taking Pictures (Part 1 of 4)

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Today I’m introducing the first of a four part series about how to sell your stuff online.  Just this summer, I sold over $1100 at ONE yard sale.  I’ve sold hundreds of dollars worth of stuff through Facebook yard sale groups over the last few years, as well as through local sites.  I’ve even sold items on Amazon and Ebay although not as often as the others.  So I feel pretty good about sharing some advice with you in the hopes that you can have some success as well.

In the first part of this series I’m going to go over taking pictures.  I’m going to explain why good pictures make a difference and I’ll give some examples of good and bad pictures.

To begin with, let’s start with the obvious: good pictures sell.  If you see a picture of an item or product that is bright and shows off the item well, you are more likely to be interested in buying it.  If you see a picture of an item that looks dusty or the lighting is bad, you probably won’t be all that interested in checking it out further, even if it’s something you’re looking for.  Some people are good at seeing the potential of an item, but many people want to skim through pictures and will stop on the one that is bright, clear and easy to see what’s being sold.

So how do you take a good picture of what you want to sell?

First step is to clean it up.  If it’s furniture, wipe it down.  If it’s clothes, hang them up or put them in the dryer to get the wrinkles out before hanging it up or laying it out flat.  Even something that looks old can look decent if you clean it.  (This is also important when you’re hosting a yard sale.)

Second step is to take a picture.  Here are some tips:

  • Good lighting: Don’t take it in the basement where there’s only one light bulb.  Try to take pictures in the daytime in a well lit room.  If that’s not an option, turn on the light so it’s bright.
  • Use a decent camera, even if it’s just your phone.  Most of the pictures I take are with my phone rather than my point and shoot or DSLR simply because it’s more convenient.
  • Have a neutral background behind your item.  I use my couch, which is grey, or a plain wall.  Complicated or busy backgrounds will detract from whatever it is you’re selling.
  • Take individual pictures of each item, unless it comes as a set.  If it comes as a set, take pictures of each item and one picture of everything together.  Do not take a picture of a bunch of random items and then list off each item in the picture.

Here are some examples of bad pictures vs good pictures.  I just want to point out that the good pictures really are the ones that I post online.  The bad ones I took to contrast, but I’ve seen so many people post pictures like this.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking decent pictures takes time, but as they say, time is money and if you spend a few extra minutes to get those pictures, it will definitely pay off.  (Pun intended.)

Lastly, upload your pictures onto your computer and save them in a file.  You will want to save all your for sale items in one place so you can find them easily.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series about pricing, which I’ll be posting on Wednesday!