Little Messages and Reflection

Beach Scenes

Photography 101 (lighting)

I love photography and the many ways you can create beautiful images and unique pictures.  But, alas, I am not knowledgeable in that area so I invited someone to come share with us photography tips.

Meet Carlie!  She takes lovely photographs and is going to share some tips and the importance of lighting when it comes to photography…

Oh!  Don’t forget to check out her lovely blog!  Welcome Carlie!


Photography has been a passion of mine since childhood, but I didn’t just pick up a camera and become a photographer.

It takes time, patience, and many mistakes.

When I took my first photography course in college we only shot with natural light.

Natural light is known as available light, most commonly, the sun. By not allowing us to use a flash, my professor taught us how to be prepared for any lighting situation. To this day I still do not use flash even when it’s pitch black out.

For any beginning photographers out there, my advice would be to experiment, experiment, experiment!

Once you have mastered shooting with natural light, the possibilities are endless. Lighting can be used to create intense and dramatic photo effects.

Here are a couple pointers, I wish someone had told me when I was first starting out.

  • The best time to shoot is known as the ‘golden’ hour, which is just before sunset or sunrise.
  • Pay close attention to which direction the light is coming from.
  • Let’s say you are shooting a woman in front of a tree. If the sun is shining upon her face (direct sunlight), you will get a warm, light, and detailed photo.
  • If the sun is coming from behind her, which is known as ‘backlighting’, it would create a hard, vivid and contrasted image.
  •  Both lighting situations can work to your advantage; I love to use direct sunlight for portraits to bring out the details in my subjects’ faces and to get a beautiful glow.

I like to use backlighting to create artsy and contrasted silhouettes. Shooting in shade also makes for a beautiful, softer image, but make sure there aren’t shadows being cast on your subjects.

I hope this article was helpful. Remember to experiment and learn from your mistakes : )

A backlit image. You will notice that the image is darker, contrasty, and you lose detail in the subject’s face.

Now I’ve turned him around and he has direct sunlight hitting his face. We can now see more and a beautiful glow upon his face.

In this image I used backlighting to create a contrasted and colorful silhouette of this little boy running along the beach.