If you’re a blogger, you probably struggle with taking photos during Fall & Winter. The beginning of Fall brings back the warm and cozy content (which is my favorite!) but it also comes with gloomy weather and shorter days, which can be a pain for blog photography. Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned some tricks to make the most of the limited daylight associated with this time of the year and still create bright photos in Fall & Winter.
6 Tips For Taking Bright Photos In Fall & Winter
Planning ahead is a tip that works all year round, but even more during Fall & Winter. If you work full-time, you probably don’t have any chance of taking photos during the weekdays: it’s dark when you leave for work and dark when you’re back. If that resonates with you, make a list of the blog posts you are working on and save a couple of hours during the weekend for batch photography. This will save you time and make your photos look consistent.
Timing is key.
Timing is key when it comes to taking photos. Even if you check the weather app which tells you that it is going to be a lovely day next Sunday, your daylight time is still very limited. For me, the best lighting is usually around midday so I try to get my photos taken around that time. But this depends on where you live and how the room you’re shooting in faces the sun. With this in mind, pay attention to when the lighting is better in the room. Is it in the early morning, around midday or right after lunch?
Shoot near a window.
Taking photos near a window makes such a big difference! Find the room in your house with the best lighting. For me, it’s either my bedroom, with its big window and white walls, or the kitchen, as it has a big glass door leading to the terrace. Making the most of the natural light coming through the window will give a beautiful, natural look to your photos.
Artificial lighting can also be an option if you’re ready to make the investment. As I don’t use it, I can’t really give my honest opinion on it.
The backgrounds you use for your photos are also important. White backgrounds such as pieces of furniture or even cardboards (which I use, frequently) make photos look brighter by reflecting the light. You can also play with soft and light props such as cream blankets or neutral notebooks. But this doesn’t mean that you have to stick to white backgrounds all Winter long. Just follow the other tips and you’ll achieve the same result.
Play with your camera settings.
I confess that it took me ages to finally venture out of the auto mode of my DSLR but ever since I learned the basics of shooting in manual + saw the difference it made, I haven’t looked back. If you’re a fellow DSLR owner, I highly suggest becoming familiar with the manual mode as it will play a huge part on how your photos will turn out. I wrote a full blog post on making the switch to manual mode but here is a quick explanation:
Aperture: it controls how much light enters the camera. A low f-stop number like f2 means more light coming through the lenses, therefore you have a brighter photo. A high f-stop number like f8 means less light coming through the lenses, therefore you have a darker image.
ISO: it measures how sensitive the camera is to light. A lower ISO (100) number means less light entering the camera. A higher ISO (200) means more light, therefore you have a brighter image.
Shutter Speed: it is the speed at which your camera takes the picture. A lower shutter speed (1/50) means more light entering the lenses, therefore you have a brighter image. A higher shutter speed (1/4000) means the photo is being taken faster, therefore less light entering the camera, which results in a darker image.
I always like to keep the aperture at around f2, which already helps me create a brighter picture than, for instance, f5. I will then play with the ISO and shutter speed. If your photo is looking too dark, try upping the ISO to 200 or 300 but keep in mind that if you go too high, it will add grain to your photos. You can also play with the shutter speed by lowering it down to 1/125. If lower, you’ll probably need a tripod to keep your camera steady and avoid getting a blurry photo.
After taking your pictures, you can make them look better with a bit of editing. You can use paid software such as Photoshop and Lightroom (I’ve used the later and once you get the hang of it, it makes the editing process so much easier) or free apps just like VSCO. I’ve been going back and forth with this one. I used VSCO at the beginning of the year but then felt like I had to get something more “professional” like Lightroom. But in the last couple of months, I bought a few presets and fell back in love with how easy it is to use while creating beautiful dreamy images.
To brighten up your photos, increase the exposure or play with the levels. This process is all about experimenting and figuring out which style you prefer.