Preserving Memories Step One: Learning to use Light

Welcome to the blog

We see you, you January resolution-ers. We do it too. We set goals. We set aspirations. We have new Christmas toys we want to play with and promise to use more of in the new year. (Like my new 85mm lens that Amy gifted me….swoon).

It’s January 18th. Did you know that by February, 80% of people have failed to stick to those resolutions? You’re halfway to that point, will you be one of the 80% or the 20%? I have a theory about why people fail. It’s not because they’re setting bad goals, it’s not even because they’re lazy…it’s because the goals feel too BIG and they get overwhelmed. You’re not equipped to start them. You don’t know how to start small. You’re tackling something that feels vague.

I know, right now you’re saying “the title of this post isn’t about goal setting Kay” and I’m nodding my head in agreement. It’s not specifically and maybe you don’t care about those statistics, but you know what I care about and I bet you do too. Living out days you can look back on in happiness. Preserving your family history. Soaking in the #momentsinbetween. I want to help you with that right now. So, if your goal list looked something like:

  1. Spend more time with family
  2. Get IN the photos with my kids
  3. Learn to use my new camera I got for Christmas
  4. Create a family photo album to pass down for generations

Or any combination of things like these…then yes, you’re on the right blog post! If not, well, keep reading, and maybe you’ll learn a new tip or two 🙂

The easiest way people fall behind in creating family heirlooms to pass down (scrapbooks and albums) is because they don’t have the right knowledge to get them started. We think our photos are too blurry. We didn’t have our “real camera” with us so we didn’t even bother pulling out our phone. The shadows were crazy and you can’t see anyone. Sound like reasons why you may not be so quick to share those photos? Today I want to give you a few tips and tricks on how best to use what you have to create photos you’ll not only be happy to have in your camera roll, but photos you’ll be proud to print.

Step one? Learning to use light.

  1. Shooting time is important my friends. If you want the best results, you won’t be shooting at noon. When the sun is highest in the sky, it’s directly above you, which creates terrible shadows. You want to aim for the hour before sunset or early morning light. With the sun at either end of the spectrum you’ll achieve more natural, dynamic, shadows…instead of bags under eyes that make your subject look like they haven’t slept in weeks. Go outside just before sunset, see how the sun hits the trees, take it in. That’s called soft light. Midday sun is harsh light. All of these photos were taken at what they call “golden hour” which is the hour leading up to sunset.
  2. If you HAVE to shoot midday (ex. your kids happiest, smiliest, moments are at the park before his afternoon nap), then shade will be your best friend. Look at the way it hits the ground. “Speckled” shade, you know that kind that shows bits and pieces of sunlight that can be pretty, but not when that bright spot ends up in your sons eyes. Look for covered shade, an area that is mostly if not completely shade where you want to put your subject (or you and your subject if it’s a selfie!). This will help you to have even, balanced, lighting across your faces which will make the photo much more usable! For example, in this photo with the cute kiddo I used the natural shade of the porch. In the second photo I used Erick’s head(my husband) to block it and he loses definition on his face and looks like he’s wearing glowing yellow earbuds haha. The first is better!
  3. Natural light can be just as effective inside! It’s the moment when the direction of the sun doesn’t matter so much. We’re all about capturing memories as they are. Preserving candid moments. Sometimes you just can’t bring your kiddos or subject outside, but you can make use of the windows! Open the shades, play with the shadows, and get creative with framing. Sometimes you can use the leading lines of a shadowed room to bring attention to your subject in the bright spot of light. Here are a few phone examples to show you how you can do it anywhere, at any time. Nowadays I just notice the light, but in the beginning I encourage you to start looking for the light, how it falls across things, how it lights something up. Find the light a few times on purpose and pretty soon you won’t be able to stop seeing it. Sometimes it may even be from a lamp, just keep being inspired!

I hope that was helpful. Three lighting tips. Maybe next time we can talk more about composition. More about phone photography? Or more about DSLR’s? What do you think…let us know in the comments. Last tip though, before I go: Remember to capture memories and preserve moments. We’re all about the perfect Instagram image, and fall into the “too stylized” category sometimes with our own family. At the end of the day though, what you want is to be able to look back at these moments and remember them for years to come. Don’t stress if you can’t control the light in a certain setting. We offer you these tips in order to help you grow in your photography journey and maybe make it a little bit easier for you, but they are not the end all be all. Have fun, play with your kids, take selfies, and make memories. If the light is cooperating, then try out some tricks and get creative 🙂 And don’t forget.. get IN your photos. Kids want to see parents too, not just themselves.

If you’re looking for more stuff like this from us, then be sure to like our FB PAGE we’re planning this fun thing called…our first ever Facebook (and Instagram) live! We’ll be talking more about making use of that new camera, getting in your photos, and all things Amy & Kay. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know closer to the date, but it’ll be the end of January!

If you’re looking for more tips on how to better use your camera, have burning questions that you feel are specific to you, or just want to know how best to capture those fleeting moments in your life then feel free to inquire about our workshops or click that “sign up for the email list” on our homepage to get more information. I’ll be teaching 1 on 1 classes! We aim to take the overwhelm of the DSLR life out of your life, knowing that having these small moments captured for years to come is more important than anything else.

Talk so soon!


January 18, 2019

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