Hello and Welcome to Day Two!
Today we are going to look at using Natural Light and getting the best from our Smartphones.
I am a huge fan of natural light photography and very, very rarely use a flash for any of my photography. And I definitely never use a flash for my Instagram images. If I can’t get a photograph in good, natural light then I don’t share it on Instagram.
Sometimes I am invited to events where the lighting is horrible, so if I do take an image there then I will only share that on Twitter and possibly Facebook.
Instagram images are not stand alone ones. They all make up your gallery and it’s important that you think of Instagram as a gallery of images. Potential new followers will judge you on your gallery page and not just one image. You are really as best as your most recent 9 images! So, I am really strict with myself about what I post. And good lighting is a must!
I am really lucky because I have a beautiful studio with an abundance of natural light. The majority of my Instagram images are shot there. But I do still photograph stuff and people (my children!) at home and that is where I am always as close to the windows as I can get. And always chasing the light.
Windows are your friends indoors, so make sure you get as close to them as you can. It is amazing what moving a metre closer to a window can do.
Remember to turn off all your lights. It might seem too dark when you turn them off but that is partly your eyes adjusting to the light. If it is too dark to take a photograph then wait until the next day. It really will be worth the wait!
When you take photographs outside it is also important to think about light. It is much easier to take photographs outside but there are still things to think about.
Mornings and late afternoon/evenings are the best time to take photographs. Unless it’s the Winter when any moment of light should be grabbed!
Try to avoid harsh shadows. Be careful with overexposing on sunny days and getting dark, gloomy, flat images on dark days.
Start to really look at the light. Pay attention to what the light is doing indoors and outdoors. The most you notice it and practise using it the easier it will be to know when to take your photographs, where to stand and where to place your subjects.
Have little props to hand, so you can practise at home as the light changes. And outdoors it can be good to regularly capture the same scene at different times of day and in different weather. That can really help you see and understand how the light works for your photography.
Using Your Smartphone
I only use my iPhone 6 for all the images on my @emilyquinton Instagram account and for the majority of my @thequinskis account.
I use the camera app for taking all my photographs on my phone. Camera + and VSCO Cam are also great but try to avoid using the Instagram camera as the quality isn't as good.
I shoot Square for all my Instagram images. You can share Portrait and Landscape images on Instagram but I really prefer to keep them all square. I do love Square images and I think it's great to choose one format and stick to it. It really helps to keep your gallery looking consistent.
I you really, really want to mix and match then I would recommend having a Square image with plenty of white, negative space next to a Landscape or Portrait. Unless you use the new option Instagram gives you, which allows you to upload Portrait and Landscape images straight into Instagram (without having to use another app) and it then gives you a Square crop in the gallery view, which makes it all look consistent. Only when you click on the image does it appear as the Landscape or Portrait image. But be careful with this. The centre of your image needs to look good. Otherwise the Square crop won't work well.
For example if I uploaded this image of my little girl, the Square crop would just be tree trunk. I'm not sure that would get many likes or clicks!
When I take each photograph I tap the screen to focus on the subject. On an iPhone a sunshine then appears. This adjusts the exposure, which means you can swipe up to make the image brighter or down to make it darker. If you don't know about this I can guarantee you'll be playing with that for the rest of the day and showing anyone who will watch! Such a good feature.
For Android users you can usually adjust your exposure too. Look for +/- and if you can add that to your camera screen then do. It's good to use it as often as you need to. If you are stuck please ask in the Facebook Group and I'll help you.
Once I have taken my images I then edit my favourite ones in PicTapGo. This isn't available for Android but Afterlight and VSCO are great alternatives. Those two are also available for iPhones too.
I love PicTapGo because it has so many filter options. You can control how much of each one you use and you can add as many as you like.
You can then save your recipes and favourites to use again. This makes editing a series of images particularly quick!
I then mark the ones I want to upload to Instagram (or other social media platforms) and have them ready for when I want to use them.
Today try to find the best natural light in your home or workplace. You might need to experiment with different rooms and windows to find the best spots. And remember the light will change throughout the day.
Take one happy thing and practise photographing it with your phone (or whichever camera you want to use for your Instagram Gallery) following today's tips. Remember to play with the exposure too!
And finally have a go at editing it. Feel free to share the results in our Facebook Group and please don't forget to ask any questions you might have. Have fun! xo