For Photographers | Turn OFF the Lights

For Photographers

December 10, 2020

This post is really sweet and simple. As photographers, we understand the importance of good light. Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, we need to be aware at all times what the light is like, otherwise your pictures can be drastically different if you don’t know what you’re doing with the light.

Often times we find ourselves indoors with horrible lighting situations. You have large florescent lights that are bright and white and create awful lighting situations or you have yellow lights that create a horrible glow. Or you have mixed lighting of these two types which is literally the worst. It is important to understand light and how it can impact your photos.

My team goes into a situation and sees the light and evaluates what our best options are. Do we need our flashes? What about off camera flash? What if we turned off the lights? We often go into locations and turn OFF the lights in a space. People are often so confused at why we do this. Why would turning OFF the lights help the situation? Don’t you need light to make a picture work? Yes, yes you do; but when given the option between natural light and artificial light, I’m going to choose natural light EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Turning the lights off doesn’t always work if there isn’t natural light around, but most of the time there is a window in the room to utilize. Have your bride get close to the window to use that natural light provided from outside. If a window isn’t available, I would often/usually choose my flash system over the lighting in the room provided; but flash is for another day and a whole other beast to learn properly!

For Taylor and Nate’s wedding, we had Taylor getting ready and knew immediately that these yellow/orange lights were going to ruin the pictures; so we turned them off. You can see the top picture when we took the first few with the lights on and the one right below it with no lights on.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE it made! That second image is SOOC (straight out of camera) with no editing. You can see the drastic difference in the first to the second image.

And this bottom image is amazing. With the lights on, it would be a completely different image. Evie took this image and I immediately loved it when I was editing it. I love the black and white version as it feels very elegant and regal. Another thing to note in that last image not related to lighting, but note how empty the space looks around Taylor. We took all of the distracting factors out of the image like clothes, shoes, bags, etc. in order to have this crisp and clean image.

So don’t be afraid to turn the lights off! Your clients might question it, but explain to them your reasoning and they will always trust your expertise. Show your clients you know what you’re talking about and be awesome!

  1. tracy says:

    This is a great post! Such a small thing that makes such a big difference!

  2. Michelle says:

    great advice and great photo examples….looks so much better with the lights off!

  3. So true! Getting ready lighting is always so gross!

  4. […] by Taylor’s mom, who owns a home decor business in Anderson, SC called Tracie Starr Home. The Brownstone Venue ordered some chairs from Tracie for their getting ready space, and Tracie got to talking to the […]

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