Use natural light to make your pictures glow

by Susie L Posted on December 16, 2009

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I recently discovered something so elemental that I’m almost embarrassed to admit my discovery. But here it is anyway. I noticed that when I turn off my flash and rely only on available light for indoor shots, my pictures turn out much better. The effect is natural, emotional, often whimsical and very rich in color. Nothing is posed. No harsh shadows. It’s like a moment paused.

This was revolutionary. I was in a photo rut. I had all but stopped taking pictures entirely except for special occasions like birthdays, vacations or milestones. But what about the rest of our lives? The every day stuff? With this in mind and with my flash disabled, I went about documenting a few random days at home with my kids.

Like when my daughter was sick recently and would only take her medicine with a mini-Popsicle chaser.

Needless to say, the kids ate many, many popsicles. But eventually she got the exercise down and even started dispensing medicine to her dolls.

And we were left with a lot of mini-Popsicle sticks. So we made puppets which my son used to performed the story of the peacock who was so mad at the chicken for waking him up in the morning that he launched him up into the sky on a spaceship for the moon. The End.

Now imagine a photo book filled with these kinds of daily or weekly vignettes. Holidays and milestones are wonderful but its’ the stuff in between that often goes undocumented. So here’s your chance. Go turn off your flash, pause a few moments and delight in the warm glow of your daily life.

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  1. Earl J Says:

    Great colors and great photographs, Susie. I’m with you as I might use flash in 1% of my photos. And then it will be as fill flash, which does help in some cases, like to eliminate nasty shadows.

  2. Joey Says:

    What a cute idea to make puppets out of popsicle sticks. Susie, I need to try the no-flash when indoors. It seems my photos get blurry when I have the flash off – maybe its the camera or the user!! I think your photos turned ou spectacular without a flash. Nice and bright. I’ll have to give this a try over the holidays. I agree its always good to capture life’s everyday moments.

    Great article and tips!! Happy Holidays!

  3. BarbaraJ Says:

    I have a new lens and it is a macro. I have noticed using it indoors is just great. The light is so bright and the colors amazing. Thanks for the information.

  4. AnnAbbott Says:

    I am trying to go with the natural lighting too. It really makes for a warmer photograph which pulls you right in.

more about Susie L

I’m Susie and I’m an artist and a writer and the chief archivist for our family. With a five year old son and a two year old daughter there are plenty of moments to record which I do on an almost daily basis. As a mom I love that with Shutterfly I can be creative and organized with my photography and knock out projects even with a hectic schedule. And as an artist I love that I can make gallery quality portfolios of my work to show potential clients. Plus the Shutterfly Gallery and community continues to be a wonderful source of inspiration for me. I hope I can return the favor.

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