Are you tired of capturing dark and uninspiring photos? Do you want to take your photography skills to the next level? Then you’re in the right place!
As a beginner photographer, it’s easy to make common lighting mistakes that produce dull images. However, by understanding these errors, you can say goodbye to poorly lit, unflattering shots and hello to stunning, professional-looking photos.
Here, we’ll walk you through the top 5 photography lighting mistakes and provide practical tips on how to avoid them.
Let’s get started!
Have you ever taken a photo that turned out brighter than you expected? That’s called overexposure, which happens when too much light enters the camera sensor. Using the wrong camera settings, shooting in bright sunlight without adjusting the camera, or using a flash that’s too powerful for the scene can cause overexposure, making your photos look washed out.
Changing your camera’s settings can help overcome this flaw. You can use a smaller aperture or a faster shutter speed to reduce the amount of light entering the camera’s sensor. However, if you’re unsure about the best settings, use the camera’s automatic or semi-automatic modes like aperture or shutter priority.
You can also use neutral density filters. These are darkened glass pieces attached to the front of your lens to reduce the light coming in and allow you to use slower shutter speeds or larger apertures.
If you’re shooting in bright sunlight, you can use a diffuser or reflector to reduce light. A diffuser is a translucent material placed between the subject and the light source to soften the light and reduce harsh shadows. On the other hand, a reflector is a reflective surface used to bounce light onto the subject and give extra illumination without overexposing the image.
If your photos turn out darker than you wanted them to be, they could be underexposed. This occurs when too little light enters the camera’s sensors making your photos look dull.
Underexposure happens when you use the wrong camera settings, shoot photos in low light without adjusting the camera, or use a too-weak flash for the scene.
To avoid image underexposure in your photos, you can use a bigger aperture or slower shutter speed to allow more light into your camera. Alternatively, you can use the camera’s automatic mode to find the best settings.
You can also use extra light sources like a flash or continuous lighting setup to illuminate the subject. If you’re shooting outdoors, try using a reflector or a white sheet to bounce light onto the subject and brighten the image.
Using exposure compensation can also help correct underexposure. This camera feature allows you to adjust an image’s exposure by a certain number of stops. Increasing exposure compensation can brighten up an underexposed image and reveal important details.
3. Improper White Balance
White balance determines the colour temperature of your images. It involves adjusting the colours in an image to match the actual subject colours in real life. A good white balance ensures the colours in your photos look accurate and natural, while an improper one makes your images seem unrealistic.
The lighting conditions for your photos determine the overall white balance of the image. For example, indoor plants taken under incandescent bulbs may have a yellowish-orange tint, while those taken under fluorescent lights may have a bluish-green hue.
To avoid improper white balance in your photos, use the camera’s auto white balance mode to adjust the settings based on the lighting conditions. You can also use a grey card. This tool lets you set a custom white balance by providing a neutral grey reference point for the camera to adjust the colours accurately.
Alternatively, you can adjust the white balance during post-processing. Most photo editing software allows you to fine-tune the white balance after taking the photo.
4. Harsh Shadows
Harsh shadows occur when the light source is too strong or direct, creating dark, contrasting shadows that are distracting. For example, if you’re taking photos outdoors on a sunny day, the direct or strong rays may create harsh shadows. Similarly, If the subject is positioned in a way that allows the light source to create shadows on their face or body, it can create an unsightly look.
A diffuser helps to soften the light source, dispersing it evenly and creating a more natural, flattering look. On the other hand, a reflector bounces light onto the subject, reducing the contrast and softening harsh shadows.
Moving the subject or light source to a different location or angle can also help create more even lighting conditions.
5. Unflattering Angles
Unflattering angles can make your subject appear awkward, unappealing, or even unrecognisable. For example, taking a photo from too low or too high a vantage point results in a distorted perspective. Similarly, tilting the camera or using a wide-angle lens creates distortion that makes your subject appear wider or thinner than they actually are.
To avoid unflattering angles, take multiple photos from different vantage points to see which ones are most flattering to your subject. You can also use a tripod to stabilise the camera and maintain a consistent position.
Additionally, using a tilt-shift lens allows you to control the perspective and focus of the image. This creates a natural look that highlights your subject’s best features.
Brighten Up Your Photography
Don’t let poor lighting hold you back any longer! You can create artistic photos that amaze your audience by avoiding these common mistakes. Remember, lighting is an art, and with practice and dedication, you can master it.