Resolving Lighting Issues

These days it’s not enough to simply shoot during the “golden hours” in order to capture a decently lit photo. In fact, the time of day that you take aim at your photo subjects could be the least of your worries.

If you are experiencing trouble with poorly lit photographs and you feel as though you are working with adequate light sources, then consider using photo-editing software to get the look you are after.

Photomatix is a program that bills itself as being able to create “High Dynamic Range photography.” Since your camera can’t take in all of the light values of a single scene at once like the human eye, the software compensates. To use the program you need to take a series of five or six shots of the same scene (preferably while using a tripod) employing your camera’s built-in exposure compensation. You’ll end up with a stack of pictures that captures all of the light values in the scene. Next, Photomatix analyzes your stack of photos and builds a single image with the perfect lighting. Everything in the image is exposed perfectly, including sky shots and images featuring shadows. The final picture should look like what you actually saw in-person. In addition, the image will appear as though you captured the entire range of light values on your own.

If you can’t afford to invest in photo-editing software, I would recommend purchasing an inexpensive tripod. While most people employ a tripod to reduce blurriness, what they don’t realize is that camera shake can also affect the way light is captured by a camera. If you don’t own a tripod try bracing yourself against a stationary object before pressing the shutter button. Also, don’t think by using the sun as a light source that you will resolve all your lighting problems. There are many other issues that can occur when shooting outdoors.

Related Articles:

Shooting the Perfect Portrait

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

This entry was posted in Techniques, Tips & Tricks by Michele Cheplic. Bookmark the permalink.
Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.