5 tips for light and airy photos

Stephanie Bryan Photography - 5 tips for light and airy photos

I don't think I have a "favorite" type of photo. I love deep, dark, moody photos as much as I love light and bright photos, but I do think my "go-to" is light and airy. I've been shooting that way for as long as I can remember and it's kind of engrained in me when I go to compose my images. If you're wanting to give your images a boost and make them a little lighter and brighter, here are my tips for achieving that look!  


1. Use natural lighting only.

The first step to really make your images bright and airy is to make sure you are using natural light only and that you have a decent source of light. It's not impossible, but it will be a lot harder to achieve a "light an airy" photo after the sun has gone down. I love shooting my subjects close to, in front of or beside windows. North facing windows give off beautiful light (because the sun never really shines directly into them), but I'm a big fan of any kind of window. Pay attention to your surroundings and house and notice when the light is yummy! That's where you want to snap your photos! 

2. Declutter your surroundings.

I'm not saying to hire a maid to come and clean your house (although that would be nice, right?), but picking up and moving "stuff" out of your shot is going to make your focal point stronger. Just push the shoes, clothes, toys, etc. off to the side. I promise it will make all the difference!

3. Open your aperture as wide as possible. 

If you're not sure what aperture is, check out this post! 

Opening your aperture as wide as possible is going to let in as much light as possible. Just remember that the wider open your aperture is, the narrower your depth of field is, so less of your frame is going to be in focus. For me, I typically keep my aperture about f2.2 or 2.8 for indoor photos so more of my subject/photo is in focus. 

4. Bump up your exposure compensation.

If you're not sure what exposure compensation is, check out this post!

When I'm shooting indoors, my exposure compensation is usually at +0.5 to +1.0. Even though I might be in a room where there's pretty light in my house, there isn't as much light as would be outdoors, so I like to bump up my exposure compensation a little to give my photos a brighter feel. Remember that increasing your exposure compensation is going to affect your shutter speed, so pay attention to those numbers to make sure you don't end up with a blurry photo. 

5. Post processing adjustments.

Even after I've opened my aperture as wide as possible (to let in as much light as possible) and increased my exposure compensation, I almost ALWAYS tweak my photo in Lightroom to make it even lighter and brighter. I typically will bump up my exposure a little, increase the contrast (to help my subject pop from my frame) and then play with my highlights and shadows. Tweaking these areas can make a huge difference when it comes to your photo!

Light and airy photos are easy to achieve if you have good lighting and know how to manipulate your camera settings to work in your favor! If your typical style is dark and moody, push yourself to try something different. I love combining both aspects in my work (both professional and personal). While I do consider my "style" more light and bright, I love to push myself creatively and try new things!! That's part of the photography process for me and I love it!


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