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 giveaway

28 comments

  1. I really would love to take this class! Too bad I am not in Utah. Great tips on diffusing light, though!

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    1. Sorry you won't be able to attend! I hope the tips Kendra shared will be helpful to you though.

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  2. Wish I loved closer! I am in serious need of this!

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    1. I'm really looking forward to the class!

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  3. I enjoyed reading this post, I got my first DSLR last year and have come a long way but still have a LOT to learn! I would love to come to thus class and learn more about the basic camera function/settings.

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    1. DSLRs can be kind of intimidating to use and having someone right there with you is so helpful! Hopefully you can come to the class!

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  4. This is a wonderful tip! I love how soft the lighting looks when diffused with a curtain.

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    1. Same here Emily! It just creates this soft look that is beautiful.

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  5. I want to learn more about posing, and rule of thirds- etcetera.

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    1. Those are all really helpful tips too Rachel! You can have great light but if you don't have some other elements then your pictures won't turn out as well.

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  6. I'd love to learn about studio photography, like with backdrops, with some props. (old western style, like Lagoon does)

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    1. I'd like to learn more about that too Leslie! As much fun as outdoor shoots are, it's nice to do things on a smaller scale sometimes.

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  7. Sounds like a great class! I love using natural lighting. I really produces the best, most natural looking photos, in my opinion.

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    1. So true Joscelyn! Your pictures are always gorgeous!

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  8. These are such helpful tips! I have been trying to play with photography a little, and lighting has been a struggle! Thanks for sharing!

    Erin | www.awelderswife.com

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    1. I'm glad you found them helpful Erin! Learning to take good pictures can be tricky but thankfully it's also a skill that you can learn.

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  9. All great tips!!! I try taking my photos in natural lighting as much as I can. When I am not able to get good lighting, I use my lighting kit.

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    1. I really need to invest in a small lighting kit. I just bought at tripod which has been extremely helpful as well.

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  10. Had no idea diffused light can give you such great results! Great lighting is so key for good photos.

    Alix | www.apintsizedlifeblog.com

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    1. I know, right?! Lighting is either your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to taking pictures.

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  11. Light is EVERYTHING in photos. Love her tips!

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    1. So true Lora! Your pictures always look so bright and well lit.

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  12. I really wish I lived closer! ;)
    Thanks for the tips, though!
    XO, Vanessa

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    1. Haha, no kidding Vanessa! Hopefully these tips were helpful to you across the world. ;)

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    1. Thanks Jenn! Kendra definitely knows what she's talking about.

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  14. I wish I lived closer because I need all the photography help I can get. Great tips about lighting, that's often one of my biggest challenges!

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    1. I wish you lived closer too! ;) Lighting is tricky so I'm looking forward to some tips from the class.

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