How to Use Outdoor Lighting in Your Photography Projects

How to Use Outdoor Lighting in Your Photography Projects

Who said that natural lighting was essential for beautiful photographs?


If you’re serious about taking pictures, you know the importance of lighting. In dark spaces where natural light from the sun is unavailable, you must improvise. Adding an artificial light source through outdoor lighting helps cast a warm glow over your subject and create a balance between light and shadow. It sets the mood for a gathering and even helps tell the story you’re trying to relay with your camera.

Making the Most of the Lights You Have

Lighting can be a powerful tool that transforms the look and appeal of your photos. In addition to adding a layer of safety to an outdoor space that is normally dark, it also plays into a photo shoot by serving as a fun and interesting prop. The unique shape and arrangement of string lights make the items photo-worthy by themselves.

Here are some ideas for using outdoor lighting in your photography projects:

  • For softer lighting, use a broader bulb. Doing so allows you to diffuse light from many different angles. A narrow bulb produces harsher lighting which requires other forms of diffusion to soften it.
  • The closer you are to the bulb, the softer the light is. If you want the light itself to be prominent in the photo, take a few steps back. That way, you can create the look that you’re hoping to achieve with the shot.
  • Capture texture by experimenting with the placement of your string lights. When above, below or to the side of a subject, the tiniest details are captured. If placed in front of the person or item being photographed, the texture is hard to make out.
  • Create a DIY diffuser for outdoor use. Using this tutorial from Instructables and a few inexpensive supplies, create your own diffuser. It’s an easy way to get the soft glow you were hoping to achieve from artificial lighting in an outdoor nighttime setting.
  • Shadows help subjects be seen as 3-D. Shadows prevent photos from becoming flat in appearance. They create volume which helps show the true nature of the subject being depicted.
  • The human eye cannot see color the way a camera can. Even white light appears colored at times. Different types of bulbs cast different colors and whatever surface light bounces off of, it takes on that hue.

Choose the ideas that you like most from the list to experiment with. See which are the most successful for you. Share what you’ve learned along the way with your family and friends who enjoy photography because they may benefit from your new knowledge. They may want to know how to make their special events photo-friendly using outdoor lighting.

An Affordable and Creative Tool to Use for Your Photography

Make your photography sing with outdoor lighting. It adds an element of surprise to photos and can be used to create cool effects rather easily. If you want to kick your photography skills up a notch or two, consider installing temporary or permanent lights outdoors and see what it does for you.

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  • Angela O