Photography Tips: Playing with Light

We all know that the main theme for this pandemic is “stay home”. This period has provided us with opportunities to explore our culinary skills, clean the house, finish the books we had started, and learn new things within our four walls.

For photography lovers, it has also provided an opportunity to rediscover corners of the house and turn them into works of art. Photography’s greatest ally is natural light. With it, a place or object without beauty becomes something unique! We can use light to our advantage and play with it, creating patterns, colors, and effects with objects that we can find around us.

Here are some tips on how to play with natural light to create unique and intriguing effects in your photos.

1 – Look for shadows

Often, the light that comes in through the window produces beautiful effects when resting on objects or on the wall. Look for cutouts made by the light and the golden color of the end of the day. If you can’t find a shadow you like, create one yourself. With the help of a tripod (or not), create a bucolic scene or still lifes where you can take advantage of the beautiful light that comes through the window. Or, find inspiration in shadow play and create silhouettes with parts of your body or of others.

2 – The mesh and the colander

I’m sure you’ve seen photographs, mainly portraits, with patterns floating over the subject’s face, floral patterns with specks of light, or even some more abstract shapes. Do you know how to reproduce this effect? One of the secrets is to take a colander and face it towards the light, and that’s how the miracle happens. Another tip is to use a fabric like an open mesh or even some crochet work that you find buried in linen trunks at home. The result is very romantic! If you have someone to help, it’ll be easier.

3 – Color filters

Do you like crafts? If you like to sketch or journal, you likely have several pieces of paper of all textures, sizes, and shapes at home. For this tip, you will need cellophane of any color. Place the transparent piece of colored paper in front of the lens (either camera or cell phone). That way you will “tint” the photograph. You can add the filter to cover a small portion of the photograph or all of it. (Today we’re talking about photographing with natural light, but the cellophane tip works great if used with lamp light covered with cellophane. The light that will emanate from it will be the color of the paper).

4- Old CD/DVD

Who doesn’t like rainbows? In addition to being the sign of the covenant that God made with Noah, it’s impossible not to admire its colors. Can you imagine having a rainbow in your house? Better yet, being able to register it with your cell phone or camera, without it being in the sky. Let’s use an old CD or DVD. Notice the direction of the light and place it so that it doesn’t appear in the photo, only its reflection. It will take some trial and error. The result will be a small “rainbow”, which looks great if you are shooting details (I prefer to use this technique on people and body detail shots).

prism photography tips

5 – Prism

The last tip is to use a prism. There are several options, some prisms are very cheap and can even be found as travel souvenirs in several countries. The effect is similar to that of the CD/DVD, but it also adds a “double image” and reflections to the photograph. It’s a technique widely used in the world of fashion and portraiture, as its effect is very smooth and romantic.

prism photography tips

I hope you enjoyed these tips and that you are soon able to explore these tips inside and outside your house. You’ll find that they will enrich your photographs, as well as help you have fun exploring what’s around you and finding new functions for different objects. There are even more things that can be used, but in the end, the secret is to look around and think, “What can I do with this?” Be creative and happy photographing!

Don’t forget to check our our previous article on photography tips here!

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