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Geek Lab

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GeekLabHi everyone!  It’s Mariah, and I’m glad to be part of the Clique Kits Design team.  I can’t wait to show off the great products and kits with my layouts and cards.  Today, however, I wanted to talk about some photography tips for you to use in order to improve your pictures.

Let’s start today with the basic most fundamental thing in photography, light.  A photo is taken with an exposure of light.  Too much or too little will not give you a good exposure or photo.  You will always have a good photo if the light is right.  If you take a photo with too much light, it is going to blow out a lot of the color.  That means the colors will not be vivid, or the sky might not appear blue.  If your light is low, the photo will be dark.  If you are using a cellphone, your photo might appear grainy, especially if you use a flash.  When I take photos with my DSLR or my phone, I usually don’t use my flash.  I prefer the look of natural light far more than that of a flash.  So how do I do that?

Everyone has a place in their home where they will have optimum light for photos at least for part of the day.  In my home, my kitchen table is one of the best places for all day, natural light photos.  The windows are uncovered and are located under my back porch.  This set up creates an “Open Shade” situation.  My front porch is also a great place for light too, because the light from the sun is diffused.

Geeklabphoto1Here is a photo I took of my son on his birthday at the kitchen table.  He is directly facing the window.  You can see the light is really good.  The color in the photo is nice, and you can see the catch light in his eyes.  Catch lights are basically the shiny spots in his eyes.  If you have good light, your subject will have catchlights in their eyes.

Here are some places for you to look for in your home where you can find good natural light:

*In front of a window.

*In a room with skylights

*Under a porch or tree in your yard

*Under any sort of shade structure.

*In a room where you have a lot white (tile, walls, etc.) to reflect the light.

If you want to add some dramatic effects to your photos, you can use light to do that.  I love sun flare.  It’s one of my most favorite light tricks and it’s so easy to do.  Sun flare is considered a mistake.  It happens when you aim your camera directly into the sun and streaks and circles appear.  Mistake or not, I LOVE it.  It is something I use in my professional photos as well as my personal photos to add a little extra drama.

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To get this effect in your photos all you have to do is aim your camera directly into the sun.  You will have to fine tune it just to make sure it’s not too much sun flare.  The photo above was taken with my phone.  I just aimed it right into the sun which was behind the flowers.  I added a filter in Instagram to make it more dramatic.  I’m sorry, I don’t know what filter it was, but you can play around with the different filters to get your photos to look how you like them.  The photo below was taken with my DSLR.  I just wanted to show you it can be done using both types of camera.

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Additional Sun Flare tips:

*Sun flare can be done inside, either with an artificial light source or the sun coming in from the window.

*No sun flare will ever be the same, so you will need to play around to get different colors, or circles, or light streams in your photos.

*Cell phones will not produce circles in sun flare at least so far that I’ve seen.  I’ve used both an iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5.  (If you look very closely at the photo of my son with the bow and arrow  you will see a tiny circle Mid-photo right in front of the arrow.) Sun flare circle sizes will vary depending on the light with your DSLR.

Another way to add dramatic effects to your photo is to use back lighting. Back lighting is when there is a light source behind your subject.  My examples today will be of photos I’ve taken inside in front of windows.  You will see the light behind the subject is very bright.  The first photo was taken with my DSLR.  I then converted it to a black and white photo because I thought it fit the mood of the photo better.

Geeklab4This example, below, is one I took on my cell phone, in front of my trusty kitchen window.  I used a filter on Instagram to convert it to black and white.  This one has a little touch of sun flare too.  Back lighting is really beautiful at sunset.  Just place your subject in front of the sun.

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Last but not least, light has color.  Look at the light throughout the day.  If you really look closely, you will see the color changes.  Right now, in the early fall, the light has a great golden color to it.  You will get golden light year round if you take photos outside one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.  Here in New Mexico, the light is more golden in the evening time.  So you will have to pay attention to your location’s light.  Always, always look at light.  Study it.  Check out the same location in your home, yard, or city throughout the day to watch how it changes.  I guarantee you will see a huge improvement in your photos if you start to master your knowledge of light.

I hope you found this helpful.  If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.  I will be happy to answer them.

CK_VarsityTeam_Mariah

11 thoughts on “Geek Lab

  1. Mariah, this tutorial is just fabulous!! I MUST BOOKMARK for easy reference! I love your easy to follow tips and information on photography! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this!

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  2. Love this post Mariah! What fabulous tips. I definitely have to keep this all in mind when I’m taking photos (of my puppy) hehe. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The above post was by me – Lacey

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  4. Great post Mariah! Valuable tips!

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  5. Fabulous post! I think I learned some new things today!! Thanks for posting this.

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  6. Mariah! Great tips!! Beautiful photos!!!

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  7. Awesome tips Mariah!! pinning this for sure!

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  8. Thanks Mariah! I always need photography tips, especially that reminder to keep studying the light.

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  9. Great post….thanks so much for sharing….yes, lighting can be challenging for sure.

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  10. Great tip Mariah! I certainly need to keep working those light!

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  11. Pingback: Geek Lab: Tips for taking better photos in 2015 | Clique Kits Blog

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