Are you low with the winter blues, or is that just the light?
Ah, winter, that time of year with dreary, blue-tinged low-light. Perfect if blue-tinged dim things are your favourite to photograph, even better if they’re your ~aesthetic~, but that’s not the case for all of us. If you’ve found yourself upping that brightness slider on your favourite editing app just a little too much or tinting your photos orange to beat those winter blues, I have a few tips and tricks. It’s not just about the editing, it’s about the photography.Just because it’s the dead of winter, doesn’t mean your photography time should decrease. If you’re constantly posting on Instagram to engage with your followers and grow your account, a reduced amount of photography time can be a real pain. Since the beginning of winter a few weeks ago, I’ve been trawling the internet for tips and tricks to beat that cold, dim winter light. Now, it’s time to share what I’ve learnt (I’ll do my best to be correct, but I might be wrong about a few things, forgive me, I’m no professional).
I’ll be dividing this guide into four posts, the first (this one) is about general tips and tricks for taking photos in low-light the second post talks about taking photos with a DSLR, mirrorless or other cameras with manual shooting capabilities. The third post will talk about using a phone or point and shoot camera and finally, the last post will cover editing for cold light (I’ll link them all here once they’re published).
I did a poll on Instagram this morning asking if you guys prefer long or short posts, and the answer was a resounding short! So, I’m going to keep this to my absolute top three tips, and hope I can keep it under 1000 words.A lot of the general tips and tricks I’ll be chatting to you about are probably things you’re already doing, they’re a natural way to combat dim lighting. I’m going to cover them anyhow just in case you haven’t tried them yet.
Shooting the Sun
As a general rule in photography, middle of the day, sun high in the sky, isn’t the best time to take photos, nor is the night. You want to make the most of natural light as possible, so try to figure out what time of day has the kindest lighting. For me, it’s between 2 and 3pm. An inconvenient time, I’ll have you know. If you’re unable to shoot at those times of day due to work or school, I’d recommend taking a bunch of photos when you can like weekends, or your day off to make sure you have enough photos to take for the week.If there is no possible time when the sun (although hidden by a thick layer of clouds) brightens up the day enough to call it daylight, it might be an idea to invest in some lighting if you’re super serious about photography. Investing in lighting is by no means my first suggestion, it’s what I’d recommend if you’ve exhausted every single other option. I personally have no experience using artificial light to shoot it, all I know is that it’s not the best idea to use the lights in your ceiling as your main source of brightness.
Using a window
The window is generally the best source of natural light inside of a house. Shoot there. Even if the window is in an inconvenient place, like nowhere near your bed and you want a flat lay on a sheet, take the sheet to the window, and arrange your set up there. The results will be worth the hassle.Often an issue with windows is that the light only comes in on the one side of the photograph (the window side), and the opposite side is darker, and overall the lighting looks uneven. I’ve seen a lot of people recommend reflectors to combat this, but I’ve never personally used one. If uneven lighting is a real issue for you, hop on over to Pinterest or Google and see what others are recommending.
This one will come up in the fourth and final post in this series, but I felt it worthwhile mentioning here. Wintry light can often give photos a deep blue tinge, or a cold feel. If you really want to edit that out in the editing phase, it’s a wise idea to steer clear of shooting blue objects. Not only with they exacerbate the cold tones, but they’ll also lose their colour when you reduce the blue in editing.Having said this specifically about blue, I do think it’s important to be mindful of the tones that you include in. The colours will greatly affect the way your photo turns out, so it’s important to carefully select the colours of the objects you’re including in your shot.
That’s all for today, but I’ll be back tomorrow with part II of this winter photography guide!