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Katy Clatterbaugh

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5 Tips to Getting Light & Airy Photos!

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October 21, 2020

5 Tips to Light and Airy Photography | Katheryn Jeanne Photography

Do you LOVE Light and Airy Photos?! Have you ever wondered how photographers like Amy & Jordan, Katelyn James, or Julie Paisley get those gorgeously lit, BRIGHT, white photos?!! I certainly did when I was starting. In fact, I vividly remember sitting at the Justin and Mary ‘Walk Through a Wedding’ workshop and telling my friend Betsy of Betsy Elizabeth Photography that I would NEVER be able to photograph like that!! Well…she encouraged me that day and told me I could – and after a ton of education and practice…I started getting the hang of it. And I fell in love ALL OVER AGAIN!!!

I started practicing shooting, practicing editing, etc – over and over and over again until I nailed down the style I loved and a style that created a consistent look no matter WHERE I was shooting!! While I can’t promise you’ll suddenly go from dark and gloomy to light and airy over night, I can promise with a few small changes, you WILL see a world of difference in your photos and feed! So, over the next few weeks, we are going to talk about how to make that happen with a few EASY steps!!

I am going to break it down into subjects to keep it easier, and we will start with what I think is the most important – BACKGROUNDS!!!! Below are 5 *SIMPLE* tricks to stepping up your photography game and getting that light, bright and dreamy instagram feed by being aware of your backgrounds!!

1. Keep your backgrounds LIGHT in color!!

This is a super simple trick that literally makes a WORLD of difference. Anytime you are photographing details, flat lays, or people for that matter – always be cognizant of the background!! The photo below is the exact same pair of shoes, same light, same everything – the only change was what the shoes were laying on. Can I get an amen?! Such a difference!!

light and airy photo tips

The same goes with backgrounds when posing people. Anytime you place your couple in front of a dark wall, a line of dark trees, etc – your photo will be heavy. No matter HOW you edit. By simply looking around for lighter colored backgrounds, lighter colored trees (evergreen trees will never be light and airy – look for willows,  or any tree with light coming through) and pulling your subject OFF the background – you allow for a cleaner, brighter image.

light and airy photo tips

2. Match your foreground and background light

This one sounds a bit trickier than it really is. Let’s say you found the perfect light, you’ve achieved even light from head to toe and you are ready to rock. I want you to double check if the light on your subject is similar to the light in the background. EVEN IF YOU HAVE PERFECT LIGHT ON YOUR SUBJECTS, but directly behind them is a super dark line of trees, a dark door, a dark ANYTHING – you have to move them.

 3. Find a light colored surface to place your clients on.

There is NOTHING you can do to fix that ugly green color cast post production when your clients are placed a bright green grassy field. By simply being aware of what the main light subject (mostly the sun) is reflecting on, you can save yourself HOURS of post production work. There are a few ways you can do this, some easier than others. I am a solo shooter most of the time (with the exception of wedding day) so the first tip does not necessarily help me out.

First, and easiest, is to invest in a 5 sided reflector. This allows the sunlight to bounce back into your clients face and leaves a very clean light on the subjects. There is also a pop up reflector that you can buy and I have tested a few times – personally I think the next recommendation is easier and one less thing to carry – but for those who love the reflector but dont ALWAYS have an extra hand – its a great alternative (see the bottom of this post for links!)

Second – look for light colored pavement (not asphalt) or lighter colored grass. The earth is a natural reflector, especially on a bright day. If you have a beautiful field with tall grass you are shooting in – look for the sidewalk that lead you there. Place your clients a couple steps into the grass to give the foreground some interest, but it allow the light to bounce off the light sidewalk and back in your subject’s face.

The photo on the left leaves a green tint on these gorgeous girls. The grass was much darker& there was no open access to the sky. The images on the right is STILL in grass, but a grass that is much lighter in color with open access to the sky.

4. Find the LARGEST window with the best natural light

At some point in your career (or in your own home) you will learn you cannot always control the light everywhere you go (you would need to have off camera flash knowledge in order to control the light anywhere). Let’s say you walk into a bridal suite where everyone is getting ready – you immediately look around and start to panic. You see red walls, florescent lights and one tiny window…you excuse yourself to find another spot to photograph details in and you are coming up short. What you realized is that there is one tiny window in bridal suite and that is your best option. Well, don’t panic friends. I’m here to tell you, you can ROCK that window, with a few quick tricks. Number one – kindly ask the bride, makeup artists, etc to turn off all the overhead lights for a few moments. You want to keep the light as even as possible. Second, bust out your reflector, a white pillow case, ANYTHING white that you can bounce light off. Shoot your details, bride, etc with that light. It is far easier to bring up exposure post production than it is to fix mixed lighting. Second to knowing flash, this is the best think you can do in this situation!!

5. Overexpose your Image!

While this technically isn’t background related, overexpose your images a smidge!! I tend to overexpose 1 stop – or 3 ticks. You can also do this on your iPhone by holding down on the screen and bumping up the sun icon! This overall will brighten the entire image…but we’ll discuss more about this next week!!

5 Tips to Light and Airy Photography | Katheryn Jeanne Photography

MY* personal style is overexposed. Some may see the above and like the image at correct exposure (the left photos). However exposed you prefer your images to be, the aforementioned tips still apply.

 

Remember, these tricks apply to iphone photo taking too!!! You do not need a fancy shamcy camera to achieve these light, bright tricks! Stay tuned next week for tip number 2 on achieving bright and airy photos!!! IT IS POSSIBLE!!! If you have ANY questions, please shoot me a message {HERE} and I’ll be sure to answer you!!

XOXO – Katy

**If you are just starting out, or are a wedding industry professional looking to step up their insta-feed but rely on others photos to do so…comment below or shoot me a message! I would LOVE to do a series of iPhone tips and tricks to help you out!!

business strategy

affordable fashion & Lifestyle

Personal life

Wedding Photography

Categories

Reading suggestions

The Pageant Series

Fri-YAY Freebies!

Welcome To The Joyful Life!

tell me more...

I'm katy - PHOTOGRAPHER, BRANDING BABE & HOST OF THE JOYFUL LIFE PODCAST

Follow The Fun Daily

The Pageant Series

Must Try Recipes