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Photography tips: Understanding lighting

Lighting is probably one of the things that frustrates me the most about photography.  You don’t just need light, you need the right amount and right type of light or your pictures don’t look good. As part of the online photography class I’m taking, I’ve learned a bit about lighting. While I knew that I could turn the flash on and off if I needed it, I had no idea that there were other things I could do to affect the lighting on my dSLR.  I’m far from an expert but here are a few of my photography tips.

There are different colors of light. I’m sure you’ve taken pictures inside with incandescent light and seen a sort of yellow cast to your picture.  I’m sure you’ve also noticed that pictures taken outside on a cloudy day are not the same as pictures taken outside on a sunny day.  They just look different. To change the color *temperature* of your lighting, you need to adjust your white balance (WB).  Each camera is different so I am not going to bother telling you how I did it on my Canon. Look at your manual for directions.

My camera has several different preset settings like cloudy, tungsten, sunny, etc.  as well as a custom setting.  Here are three different photos I took of one of my favorite oil lamps using (in order) automatic, tungsten, and custom.

lighting automatic

lighting tungsten

lighting custom

You can see the difference even more in this collage:

Lighting collage

What photography tips can you share?



About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media.

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