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Photography tips: 7 ways to play with light

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Light is one of the most important aspects of photography, and can make such a difference in the photo you’re taking. I’m obsessed with it. I’ve put together 7 fun ways to play with light. Enjoy.

photo credit: Sheye Rosemeyer

Oh-so-sweet sunflare

I’ve always loved photography, but one woman deepened my love affair with it, and that’s Sheye Rosemeyer. She’s a lover of natural light, and once you start exploring her photos you’ll be mesmerised with the way she goes about capturing it. It’s just stunning. You can see above how she’s photographed into the sun, and it’s flared out in the photograph. Just beautiful.

photo credit: pol ubeda

Get crafty with light painting

Light painting can be done at night, or in a dark space, by using a torch or a sparkler to create light patterns. You can write words, or make shapes as well. Fancy!

photo credit: MiquelGP54

Explore sweet sunsets

The light in the late afternoon as the sun goes down is my favourite light. It’s beautiful, often unpredictable and never disappoints {unless of course it rains, or the clouds get in the way!}. Depending on the weather, the sky can be a range of colours. I’ve managed to pick up beautiful pinks one day, vibrant oranges the next, and then soft yellows another. Of course, if you play around with filters you can make the colours much more vibrant {the clarity feature on Camera+ is great for that}.

photo credit: dorena-wm

And let’s not forget sunrises too

And we can’t forget sunrises either. I dream of seeing a sunrise over the beach one day. It’s on my bucket list. The light in the morning is soft, and beautiful… and oh-so-worth getting up early for.

photo credit: flashcurd

Play in black and white

There’s something special about black and white, and beautiful light. Over summer I took a lot of sunrise photos at the beach, and the colours were special, but when you put a black and white filter over them it changes the whole photo, and makes the light a little more dramatic. Have a play yourself.

photo credit: neate photos

Experiment with artificial light

By artificial light, I mean something other than the sun. I’ve never really explored this option, because I’m still deeply in love with the light of the sun, but you can explore with a spotlight, a torch or another light source on your subject matter.

photo credit: Sheye Rosemeyer

Beautiful backlight

This is just as it sounds, lighting up your picture from behind. For an example of this one, I had to go back to the queen of beautiful lighting, Sheye Rosemeyer. Backlighting means that quite often your subject matter appears to be just a dark silhouette, lacking in fine detail. It’s a beautiful way to explore light.

So now, over to you: how will you play with light for day 26 of photo a day? And, if you’re a photographer – do you have any techniques to share?

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  • Great tips thank you Chantelle!

  • Jared Lawson

    Great tips – light should be your best friend as a photographer – always know where it is, what it will do to your photos and how you can manipulate it. Photography Tips / Gallery

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Thank you great tips Chantelle!

  • Painting with light is a ton of dun & what’s great is you can easily do it on your phone! Just download the (free, yay!) “Slow Shutter Cam” app, some sparklers and grab yourself a remote shutter to steady any camera handshake. You can grab a Gizmon remote shutter from our shop that look like nifty old film canisters – it works best when on a tripod or you can steady your phone on a ledge. Too easy!! 🙂

  • Painting with light is a ton of fun & what’s great is you can easily do it on your iPhone…just download the “Slow Shutter Cam” app (it’s free, yay!), buy some $1 sparklers and grab yourself a remote shutter to steady any camera handshake. You can grab Gizmon remote shutters from our shop that look like nifty old film canisters. It works best on a tripod or you can steady your phone on a ledge. Too easy!! 🙂

    • Ah I told a little fib…just realised the Slow Shutter Cam cost me a whopping $0.99, but well worth the investment 🙂

  • Highly rate the “Slow Shutter Cam” app to play with light trails on your iPhone…also worth investing a little bit in a remote shutter and mini tripod if you’re keen to have a crack at it 🙂

  • Awesome tips, though I wonder why you didn’t put bokeh on this list? 🙂

  • Rebecca Swadling

    Hi Chantelle do you have any tips for lighting with indoor night shots? Our birthday cakes are always done after dinner and most of them are late autumn/winter I can never get a good shot as all the natural light is gone by then and the light bulbs now give off horrid light I would really appreciate some hints thanksxx

    • Hey Bec! I actually don’t. But I’ll ask Quett {Olympus photographer} to help me out. It’s one thing I want to get better with. 🙂