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use natural illuminators to brighten your photos

take better kids photos, kids pictures, children photos, momtographer, available light, natural light

When photographing people, it’s all about angles and light. If you’re out and about snapping photos of your kids, look for natural illuminators and then, if possible, have the child face that direction. 

The two photos above illustrate how I was able to light my subject by turning her towards the reflection of light coming off the buildings behind her. This acted like a natural flash, lighting my subject and helping her to stand out from the background. It was an easy enough switch … I simply had her turn around! (haha, and then she fell into the bush, which promptly got us yelled at by security … but what’s a photo shoot without some drama?!)

The city streets are full of light reflections bouncing off all the windows, white concrete, and metal fixtures. But even if you’re not in the city, if you learn to look for naturally reflective surfaces, you’ll start to spot them more quickly and be able to use them to brighten up your photos.

Face your subject towards white walls, white garage doors, white concrete sidewalks, or even your own white shirt. Depending on just how reflective the object is, the change in your lighting can be subtle or dramatic. The more you pay attention to this little trick, the more you’ll start to learn how to better take advantage of it!


Kate Callahan is an on-location photographer who LOVES to capture authentic memories for families. She’s available for weddings, senior photos, child photo sessions, and family photography.  Kate works with clients throughout the Hudson Valley, NYC,  Delaware (and the tri-state area), and beyond. Visit her photography blog.

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