Finding the Light – More Tips for Natural Lighting

I was reflecting back on my last post here at 5 Minutes and thought to myself, “In order to harness the light one must find the light” which is what my last post featured. I felt quite poetic, like Ghandi perhaps, but for about a half a second and because I realized this post should have preceded my last. In order to fully utlize the light, you need to know how to find it.



I moved about 10 feet. Well, Laura did. These shots are straight out of Laura’s camera. All she did was move 10 feet and turn a different direction.  Light reflects off all sorts of surfaces. In this case, it was the metal roof of the pavillon, often it’s sidewalks. Audrey Woulard is famous for working with natural alighting so she’s an expert at finding the light. You can do this too. Put out your hand and see where the light is the most even and warm. People may think you’re crazy, they may think you know what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter what people think, find the light and it will make a world of difference in your pictures.

One of the most important things you can learn to do when taking your pictures is learning to find the light. I was at a family shindig with one of my fabulous cousins doing the camera talk thing. As the sun was setting the light changed positions and in a matter of minutes where there was beautiful light, there was none to be found. So I said to Laura, let me show you a cool trick. I’m going to hold up my hand to find good light. I learned from Rodger Newbold, from the  Salt Lake Arts Center.



In one direction the light was bluish because of the shadows and in another area it was golden. Look at the two examples. Crazy! So hold your hand up to the light and and see where the light falls. If there are lots of shadows on your hand, move it (and yourself) around until you can find good even lighting. E-A-S-Y. Why spend time editing if you don’t have to? Simple tricks like this can make your pictures look good in the camera and will save you work in the end.

Good luck!   



  1. says

    This is wonderful practical advice! Thank you! :)

    Tell me — are you able to see the difference by viewing the pictures in your camera?
    Were you using different light balance settings as well?

    Sometimes I have a hard time decided which setting to use – cloudy vs sunny vs shade when it is a partly cloudy day :)

    • says

      Yes, I could see the difference in the LCD screen, The White balance was set for the same for each shot. The light reflected off the metal roof and sidewalk and warmed up the picture immediately. When it’s partly cloudy, I recommend that setting, Daylight is 5500 K, Cloudy is 6500 K, and Shade is 7500 K. The higher the temp the cooler it is. A lot of times I’ll use AWB, unless it’s shade because then everyone looks so blue!

  2. says

    Great trick!! I have to remember that. I hate when pictures turn out dark or the color just isnt right. Now, if you can just tell me how to keep my son still long enough to take his picture in that good light….

    • says

      Actually, my couzie Laura took the shot and this is my other couzie Lisa who truly one of the sweetest kindest people you will ever meet:) I’m so blessed to have such a great family!

    • says

      Christy, you know I find that the more I learn the less i know. There’s always something to learn and the great thing is we can do it together!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *