The Best Light for Photography and Some Simple Selfies

The most important thing to get right when taking a photo is the light. Find good quality natural light. One mistake I have made a lot in the past was confusing 'good quality light' with 'lots and lots of light'. If you look back on some of my first posts you can see I often took photos in the middle of the day with bright sunlight, I reasoned that this light was the best because it was the most light. I even went so far as to reshoot some of my finished items in full sunlight after having photographed them on a cloudy day. Well I was wrong. Bright midday sunlight can cause harsh shadows, make your subject look washed out and people look all squinty instead of having wide open eyes. Check out the photo on the left below, this was taken in too much light.

The photo on the right was taken in the last hour of sunlight in the day, this is a good time to take photos but this one is no good either, why? Because my face if all shady. I was looking down to the ground and the dark earth didn't reflect much light onto my face. So too much light is no good, and not enough is just as bad.

What you want is soft light, so stand in the shade but with enough light reflected towards you face. In the above two photos because the camera was held higher, the light from the sky was bouncing off my face which made it much brighter but not so much that I look like the midday photo. You can use some other kind of reflector as well, anything white that bounces the light back onto your subject, so if you don't want to be looking up have a look around for white walls, vehicles or other objects to use.

So the best light is natural, soft but enough in the right direction that your subject isn't in shadow.

Selfie Tips
Now to talk a tiny bit about selfless. Admittedly they're a bit silly but they're fun too. It feels pretty strange when you start taking photos of yourself. In fact I still feel strange even though I have had a fair bit of practice now although it is getting easier. So if you aren't happy with your selfies, try taking some more. The more you take the easier it will become. This week I have literally taken hundred of photos of myself. Here a few things I have learnt.

I like the two photos above, a selfie doesn't always have to be looking straight at the camera, in fact it doesn't even have to include your face (all of these examples do though).

These two are examples of what NOT to do. Both are blurry. This is an easy mistake to make when taking a photo of yourself. The first is blurry because I was moving as I took the photo, I was trying to do a jumping photo so thats not really surprising. The 'mirror selfie' is focused on the reflection of my camera instead of me, bummer. My favourite selfie I took this week is the one at the very top of the post.  If you look closely you can see that this is actually focused on the camera and not my face as well but it's still my favourite (aka I couldn't get it to focus on my face even after 100 shots). I took it inside but with all the lights off and lots of natural light coming in through the window as the curtains were pulled right back.

The photo below is another mirror selfie but I moved the camera lower to take a shot of my whole face, for most of these photos I totally missed my head, or chopped off my chin or forehead so they take practice. Also remember to look into the camera not at yourself otherwise your eyes look really strange. For those of you fed up with the selfie maybe you should try some out and see if you think they're tricky too.

Right that's enough photos of me! What have you learnt anything from taking selfless? Have fun. Zoe x

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