Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Day FIVE | Swoonful of Sugar

Post your photos on Instagram and use the hashtags #swoonfulofsugar + #glow.
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Today’s challenge is glow. Each of us may interpret glow in different ways, so go with your original instinct because that’s what this project is all about: you exploring. To me, we all glow, but we can set ourselves up for success in photography by using natural light to our advantage.

Survey your home for great natural light. Lightly colored rooms usually prove to be better than those with dark walls since they reflect light. The same theory holds true for white or lightly colored fabrics such as window treatments and bedding. When you think you have found your go-to spots, open shutters and window treatments to allow the maximum amount of soft natural light to flood the room.

If you are using your iPhone to capture special moments, there are a few things I’ve learned. To start, when you are taking photos with your iPhone, you can tap the screen in different spots to adjust the exposure to your liking. You will notice that your image will lighten or darken depending on where you touch your screen and where the dark and light spots are on your image. Once you take the photo, I have found that the Visual Supply Co. app’s fill light feature also helps to freshen up my iPhone photos. To find this feature, add your photo to the VSCO app, click on the paint brush, then click on the wrench + screwdriver, then click on the circle with a half moon full of stripes + a solid half moon. This is the fill light. Play around here to suit your taste + export your shot to your camera roll.

Shooting with a DSLR? Then you have even more opportunity to control your glow. Start by shooting on the manual mode at a larger aperture, slower shutter speed, and increasing your ISO as needed. If you need a little refresher, continue reading. When looking through your viewfinder, have you ever noticed the light meter in there? Take a look… There is a zero in the center and on Nikon cameras there is a + on the left and a – on the right. When the dashes are on the + side of the zero, your image is overexposed (light/bright).  When the dashes are on the right side of the zero, your image is underexposed (dark). I believe this is opposite on Canon cameras. Use this meter! I personally like to overexpose my images a tad, but that is just how I like to shoot. You do what feels right for you. Now, you need to understand many aspects of your camera, but three in particular: Aperture, Shutter Speed + ISO. These three features work together. Let me explain. Aperture is how large or small the opening is in your lense that allows light to travel onto your image sensor. The larger your aperture opening is, the more light will flood your image sensor giving you a brighter image with a more shallow depth of field. The smaller your aperture, the less light will enter. Depending on your lens your largest aperture opening could be F 1.4 or only F 3.5. Moving on to shutter speed, this is how fast or slow your shutter opens and closes. The slower your shutter speed the more light will enter, and the faster the shutter speed the less light will enter. When photographing indoors, you will usually need to use aperture and shutter speed to your advantage. This means you might need your aperture as low as it will go, and you might need your shutter speed around 1/100 of a second. However, the key is using your light meter. I promise it will lead the way. There are times when you might want to disobey the light meter, but it is a great place to start! Lastly for today, let’s discuss ISO. This is how sensitive your image sensor is to light. It can play a big role in you not having to use your flash. The lower your ISO setting is, the less sensitive your sensor is to light. The higher your ISO setting is, the more sensitive your sensor is to light. Go ahead and try it. Set your ISO at 200 and snap a photo. Then set your ISO to 800 and snap a photo. See how much lighter and brighter your image goes from 200 to 800? This can be a great tool when shooting in darker rooms.

So how do you get glow in your photos? Try pushing the limits a little. Shoot on the overexposed side of your meter just a tad. Also, shoot your subjects in brightly lit spaces.

Now if you want to really play, put your light source behind your subject, but expose for your subjects face not the background.

Just so you know, this is not gospel, but it works for me. We all have to find what works for each of us and what is appealing to our own eyes. Now go out and shoot!

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