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This title may sound misleading or like “click bait”. How can just ONE thing be the answer to such a big problem of trying to perfect your photos? Well, I think you’re going to be surprised!!!
Some of the most frequently asked questions I get are about my editing, my presets, my shooting style, etc. People ask how I get things so consistent, what I do in Lightroom to make my images look so bright, how I make eyes/skin tones pop and SO MUCH MORE. But, the reality is that what I do in Lightroom and what I do in my camera aren’t the biggest factor in what my photos look like. The ONE thing that affects your images the most is…
Yep. If I am shooting in a horrible lighting scenario…there is NOTHING I can do in Lightroom or in my camera to fix it. But, if I am shooting in GOOD light…I can make it consistent with the rest of my photos, minimize my time in Lightroom and blow my clients away with gorgeous galleries.
So, as photographers, we need to be able to FIND and RECOGNIZE the best lighting scenarios. So, in this blog post, I’m going to share my top 3 tips for FINDING THE RIGHT LIGHT. AND, as a bonus, I’m giving away a FREE guide at the end of this post!
#1: Shoot at golden hour!
“Golden hour” refers to the two hours after the sun rises or before the sun sets. It is the BEST time for photographers to shoot because the light is less harsh and easier to manipulate. The temps are also way lower at night in the summer, so there’s also that bonus 😉 When shooting portrait sessions, I ONLY ever shoot during the 1-2 hours before the sun sets. So, during the summertime my shoots typically begin around 6:30pm in Virginia. You can use the Weather app or Google the sunset times in your area to plan start times that coordinate with the ideal lighting!
#2: Search for locations ahead of time
This one may seem obvious…but I would bet that you haven’t tried it! When I am scouting a new location, I make sure that I do it at the SAME TIME I will be shooting it. So, if I am looking for new shooting locations in the Fredericksburg area…I’m not going to drive around at noon to find them. I’m going to wait until golden hour (exactly when I will be photographing my client) and find locations based solely on the LIGHT. If a location is covered in gorgeous blooms but is in harsh, direct light…I won’t shoot here. My priority is ALWAYS to find the best light first!
#3: Bring in a reflector (or steer clear of too much green!)
If you don’t live somewhere with a lot of green grass…then this tip may not affect you as much! But, if you’re in Virginia (or anywhere with green grass) like me, then you know this struggle! To avoid getting the ugly green cast on my client’s skin, I bring a white reflector with me to senior sessions (THIS ONE!) to bounce white light back onto their skin. At engagement sessions, I look more for natural reflectors, which I talk more about in my free e-book below!
So, now the you know my tricks for FINDING the natural light…I’m going to take it a step further. In my new FREE E-book below I’m sharing my 3 FAVORITE lighting scenarios for natural light photos! Grab your copy here:
This is where I share my photography work, resources for photographers + a peek into my life living in the low-country. Keep scrolling for more resources!
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Looking to grow your photography business, capture better images or streamline your workflows? Every single week, I share new videos with practical, no-fluff content just for you! Come binge-watch all the past videos, and be sure to subscribe to see them each week:
My client booking workflow with honeybook
3 tips for posing high school seniors
Client gallery delivery with cloudspot
Ever wondered what programs I use in my business? My camera gear? My must-have photography products? Maybe just my favorite outfits to wear on wedding days? I've compiled a massive list of ALL my favorite things in every category!
Beautiful work! Do you take a light stand with you for the reflector, or do you have someone with you hold it?