3 Lighting Tips for Photographers

Free photography lighting tips

I am so excited to share these 3 lighting tips, they were such a game changer for me! When I first started out, I had no idea that I even needed to consider lighting when photographing outside! If you’re how I was, I guarantee these lighting tips will improve your photography!
To the outside world a photographer just points their camera, shoots, and thats it, super easy right?! However, as a photographer you know that there is SO much more going on!! Which lens do I want to use? Are my clients in a good pose? Are my settings correct? Am I in focus? And then super important and what this post is all about, am I placing my clients in good lighting?!! There are so many things running through your head and yet you are also supposed to be making casual conversation, directing them into poses, and it is so easy to get flustered!

Finding and using good lighting can be super tricky and can take some practice, so I created these tips to help anyone else who has struggled in this department! To me, good lighting is CRUCIAL and it is the number one thing I consider when I’m shooting. I follow all of these lighting tips in every one of my sessions and weddings and they are lifesavers!

Photography: Brianne Johnson Photography

TIP 1: Don’t face your clients into the sun!

Free photography lighting tips

Let me start off by saying that every photographer has different styles, so some photographers actually love to face their clients into the sun! For my personal style of photography and the aesthetic that I want to create, I try to always shoot with the sun behind my clients! Facing your clients into the sun can cause them to squint which we don’t want if we’re trying to get our clients to look their absolute best! Another reason I do this is so the sun isn’t creating weird shadows and highlights on my client, and instead they’re in even lighting. Direct sunlight on your client can also cast orange tones onto their skin, especially if you’re shooting during golden hour!

Tip 2: Shoot during Golden Hour

lighting tips photography

Shooting during golden hour isn’t always an option, but I try to shoot in it as much as I can! Golden hour is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. Lighting is much softer at these times because the sun is so low in the sky and it is not as bright and harsh. As the name implies, it also creates beautiful golden lighting for your photos! If you want to catch some of that golden lighting you’ll usually need to slightly underexpose!

Tips 3: If you have to, underexpose!

Free photography lighting tips

Sometimes you can’t avoid direct sunlight. Your clients might want a specific background for their photo, especially if you’re a wedding photographer, sometimes you just have to work with what you got! If you ever do need to shoot your clients in direct sun make sure you underexpose so that you don’t blow out your highlights! You can fix underexposing in post, but if you blow your highlights, there isn’t a lot you can do to bring those areas back!

Want to learn more?!
Check out 3 posing tips for couples here!

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brianne johnson


Dallas, texas wedding photographer

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