Finding the Best Light in Your House

Rachel Johanna

Product Photographer & Marketing Maven

If you are used to shooting outdoors, sheltering in place during this global crisis might be a bit daunting. You are probably itching to photograph something. I know I am! 

I’m going to walk you through how to find great light right where you are at home so you can keep creating even under quarantine.

Chase the Light

Start by watching the light move through your house for a day. If you want to be really scientific about it, you can keep detailed notes in your favorite notebook, but just a general idea of where the light is should be sufficient. 

For example, at my house, my bedroom has excellent light in the morning. The living room gets brighter in the afternoon. And the kitchen always has good light because of the glass door.

That Perfect Kitchen Light!

Take it to the next level and watch the shadows too. That way you can avoid them…or incorporate them into your work!

Manipulate the Light

Once you have found the light and shadows it’s time to shoot. It might be that the light you found is perfect just as it is. But chances are it will need to be modified a little. If that’s the case here are a few things to manipulate it.

Notice your light’s direction. Is it coming from the front, side, or top-down? Are the shadows short or long? If you move your subject closer to the light does it get better or does it get too bright?

If the light is too bright or your shadows are too heavy you should try diffusing the light.

Diffusing the light changes it so that it becomes less direct. It becomes multi-directional which turns hard light soft. If you don’t have one in your kit, your diffuser can be kinda anything. Fabric is a typical choice. Pick something with a neutral color that is lightweight. Curtains or a t-shirt could be perfect!

If the light you find is too dark, you’ll need to reflect the light. Find something that will bounce light back onto your subject. This will create more light. This could be as simple as a white wall. If that isn’t an option for you find something to use as a white card. I always have a couple white poster boards around for this reason. Anything white or reflective should help. Hang a blanket, use a white piece of paper, use a mirror. Position your “reflector” opposite your light source and position it where you can see the light brighten your subject.

Still find your subject too dark? You might need a fill light. When I shoot in my living room and need more light than the windows let in, I open my front door for fill light. It works great!

Hope you all find beautiful light in your homes and that you still get great opportunities to take awesome photographs!

Follow us on YouTube to watch me chase the light through my house and share your #stayhome photos on Instagram. Use #cameraplus2 so we can see them!

Watch our corresponding video to see me chase the light at my house.

Haven’t downloaded Camera+ 2 yet? We’d love to have you shoot with us!

Published by Rachel Johanna

Product Photographer & Marketing Maven