Finding light and knowing how to use it is a major factor in creating beautiful, quality images.

The fun thing about light is that there are so many ways to use it and if there isn’t any you can create it by using your speedlite, strobes, or anything else you may have around.

Today I’m going to show you that there’s both a bad way and a good way to utilize your available light. Here is a pullback to show you that the light is coming from a window to the left of my camera, early afternoon with consistent lighting.

And please note that the photos were shot on my Canon 5d mark III with 35L lens and my settings are the exact same for all the images below: shutter speed 1/125, aperture is f/1.4, ISO 1000, and white balance is set to shady.

pullback of natural light setup by April Nienhuis

I love not directing the kids and keeping my photographs natural but in this circumstance the lighting was horrible to take a picture of Zoey in the way she was facing. Although the light beautifully highlights her curls, I want the focus to be her sweet little face but it’s hiding in the shadows.

bad window light example picture by April NIenhuis
Ugh. So what do I do? I simply say, “Hey Sweetie! What do you see outside?” Bam! Look at that lovely light falling across her face. (This photo was caught after she had already looked down but still facing in the direction of the window light)

good window light example photo by April Nienhuis
Now have some fun and go out and find that beautiful light and work with it to create a beautiful photograph. I’d love to see your examples of using light well in the comments below!

***This article was updated on July 31, 2015***