Three steps to instantly improve your photography – step two

2. Improving the Lighting

Cameras need a certain amount of light to be able to take a photo, and when there isn’t enough light, it takes longer to take a photo because the camera has to wait longer to let in more light. The longer it takes, the more the risk of the photo being slightly blurry, because your hand holding the camera makes small shaky movements that affect the photo. To compensate for this, most digital cameras come with flash, and in most ‘automatic’ modes, the camera will automatically detect if there’s insufficient light and pop up the flash if it needs to. So when you’re outdoors in bright sun, the flash never goes off because there’s plenty of natural light. When indoors, the camera flashes, because it detects there’s not much light and compensates with a flash.

However, the flash on a camera is horribly unflattering. This is because the light comes from the same direction as the camera. As a result, it ‘flattens’ whatever you’re shooting, eliminating shadows and taking away any sense of depth in the person’s face. When light comes from the side, or above, it tends to look much more flattering; you get a nice sense of 3D depth. Yes, we use flash in studio photography, but from flattering angles, not the same angle that the camera’s looking from.

So tip #2 is to turn off the flash on your camera. This is possible in most digital cameras. So look in the menu for your camera, read the manual if you have to, but figure out how to turn off the flash.


Instantly your pictures of people will look better than when you used flash. You will need to become more aware of what the natural light is like though, because you now need to make sure there’s sufficient light to avoid the photo being blurry. Position the person by a window or a light if you’re indoors. Reduce camera shake by placing the camera on a surface or a tripod to keep it steady.

It’s all about the LIGHT!


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