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Power of the Window | Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Hello there! Over the past month, I have been focusing on the iPhone series… and I promise to get back to that (up next is editing!) But for today, I am going to show you the magic of using your windows correctly, and I’m not talking about the OS on your personal computer (especially because I use a Mac!)

Here is a quick example from my own camera this past weekend. I was snapping some photos while celebrating birthdays and Father’s Day with my family. Unfortunately, we were inside (I just love the warm evening summer light!) so I had to make do.

I’m going to share pictures from two different scenarios. In one scenario, the birthday girl was sitting on a couch with windows behind her. Usually, this will result in a back lit photo, unless you are shooting manual and adjust to compensate. I sometimes adjust, but on this particular evening I did not, and this was the resulting image:


Not that great of an image, right? She is totally underexposed. The reason this happened is because the camera (in all of its smart savvy) is trying to “guess” what your subject is, and unfortunately guessed wrong. The camera picks up on all the light blasting through the window behind and makes adjustments accordingly– pumping up the shutter speed to a very fast rate. It thinks we do not need more light because there is so much from behind, when in fact we do need more light on the front of my subject. If I had adjusted my settings manually, I could fix this by lengthening my shutter speed and allowing more light to come in. This would make the background VERY bright, but it would allow for more light on the front of my subject, as well.

Since I did nothing to correct this, though, I end up with an image like this. I have two options… one is to correct it in editing:


After lifting out the shadows, upping the exposure, and adding a few filters, this image turned out OK– but a word of caution– your results may vary depending on the type of camera you are shooting with and the software you are using to edit. Doing this extensive of editing may cause graininess in your image. So what option do you have?

The preferred option would be to fix the situation so your lighting is optimal for photographing. Take a look at this picture, taken in the SAME room and the SAME time with the SAME light… except one major difference: the subjects are FACING the natural light streaming in through the windows. Instead of being lit from behind, the light is splashing onto their faces in all its beautiful warmth.


On its own, this image is pretty nice. Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone and ALWAYS edit…


However, very little editing was needed. The lighting was already where it needed to be, and aside from a little color popping, this image was good to go.

You can EASILY control how lovely your images turn out by placing your subjects where you want them. You may not always have the luxury of recreating a scene, especially in the chaos of a family event, but as much as you can, do it. One little change will make a world of a difference in your images!

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