Tip: Nailing the Right Light

Ha – get it. It was 3:30 p.m. on a day when I needed to take pictures of some polish for a blog post.  I went around the house (because outside is too hot and I was also still in my pajamas – don’t judge me).

As I tried to find good lighting, I thought these shots would turn into a good blog post on lighting.


Let’s start with the obvious, go-to lighting type – backlighting.  While it’s definitely a good go-to way for portraits, this is just a terrible photo.  The background is blown out and while it might be the first thought of good photography, I’m going to be real – not all backlighting is good.  This is a perfect example.  Why backlight inside? In some cases it might be great but in this instance, I don’t think so.


Window Light

I turned the polishes around to get the window lighting – much better.  I’m not absolutely crazy about the background light, I could have pulled the curtains to have less distractions and diffuse the light in the back.  This shot was better than the first shot but it still didn’t do it for me.  My kitchen lighting during that time was a bit too dark and the polished look dark therefore this photo just looked drab.


Bird’s eye

I think of this lighting is fun, maybe for small objects.  I’m always thinking wedding details.  I do think wedding details should be outside – even if it’s blazing hot outside because you can’t beat natural light.  I think an aerial view is still fun especially if you find a good texture – like my concrete island.  In this case, I don’t think my background complimented what I was photographing.


Side window light, lighter room

I walked around my house poking my head into rooms.  Our mirror dresser right by the window that faces south was the answer – the background is light and it was a good contract with the nail polish colors and caps.  The light was coming from my right side as I was looking at these bottles.  This was clearly the winner for these small subjects.


The key is, don’t be lazy and don’t be scared to try something else.  If you don’t love the photo, take another, move, change the direction of light, change the surrounding.  Do not move onto to the next detail until you feel you nailed your shot.  If you can’t see the object well in that lighting, your camera won’t either, trust your eyes.

Diana Elizabeth says also be cautious about the colors around – warm tones like brick can bounce colors around, this can be fixed in post a bit, but it’s best to try to find what will create less work in post.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


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