A short lesson in light

A short lesson in light for you… to help with finding and using the light inside your home.


This was the scene in my kitchen yesterday. Its a place in my house that I don't really think of as photogenic; functionally I dislike it as there is no cupboard space, very little worktop space and its just very 1980's and..."homely"...ha ha. Stuff everywhere. However I know that it gets a cool ray of light at around 4pm. So when I saw my daughter sit down on this randomly placed chair (and yes she was in her pj's still as we had a spring clean yesterday and just stayed home!), I grabbed my camera determined to try and use this ray of light somehow.


This was the first photo I took but isn't really a keeper as she’s not actually sitting in the ray of light. If I could have pulled the chair forward slightly then she would have been sitting in it.


She then stood up to get more orange juice. She stepped into the light and that's when I was ready. I have illustrated here the two ways that you could capture this. The first (my preferred) is to underexpose, so that you are exposing for the brightest areas of the image, in this case the light hitting her arm on her white top. You don't want to 'blow' these highlights out. By exposing for this bright area you darken the rest of the image. When in Aperture Priority you can underexpose either by increasing your f-stop (letting less light in) or by using your exposure compensation button (+/- button and putting it down).

The second image (below) is the result if you were to have your camera on 'auto' - as the camera would expose the entire scene for the light available in the room. You can see that her top is blown out and you don't get the contrast between the ray of light and the shadows as much.

I then moved in towards her to get a close up of her bunny threaded under her arm. Again exposing for the bright parts of the image - so underexposing again - so that the texture of the bunny's fur isn't blown out.

She then stepped up onto the chair to show me the certificates on the wall. This was ok but not what I was really going for as she's standing in the dark area of the scene. I couldn't move her as it would have interrupted the whole moment; if I could have then I would have moved the chair into the ray of light. However the fridge was in the way!

So instead I asked her to find which ones were hers, her brothers, her sisters. And again I underexposed so that I could capture the light falling on her hand as she came to these certificates in the ray of light.

I hope those are all useful tips for you to try playing with strong light and your underexposing function.


Any questions - we are here for you!


Natalie x


Images by Natalie Robinson @ThePhotoClub FZ-LLC

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