4 Lighting Tips for Photos



One of my most asked questions is “What is the best lighting for photographs?”. I get it- it’s overwhelming. You walk outside and the options are endless- “Where do I go? What looks best? Where do I even begin?” Today, I am going to give you 4 lighting tips for photos. These tips are actionable and will help you achieve the lighting you want in your images.

More of a visual learner? Check out my YouTube video below!

What to avoid

First, let’s talk about what we don’t want. We don’t squinty eyes. We don’t want weird shadows all over their face. These are the 2 main things we want to avoid.  We want light… like, we have to have it to have a photo but we don’t want it to be in our face or overwhelming. But how do we do that… have light but not too much? I’m so glad you asked.


If you are photographing at a time of day when the light is really harsh- let’s say noon on a cloudless day, you need to find some shade. Shade is your absolute best friend. Find shade, and you will find a great place for photos.


So, I have a love/hate relationship with overcast. Overcast days give you the opportunity to shoot at almost any time of the day and anywhere. Everything is in the shade! No squinty eyes. No shadows. YAY! The only downfall is that there isn’t pretty light in the background. I love, love, love, to shoot at sunset and have gorgeous light in the background- which leads me to my last tip.

Sunset & Sunrise

You might have heard of the golden hour- this is typically the hour before the sunset. The light is soft and golden- perfect for photos and a photographer’s absolute favorite time to photograph. It’s everything you want in lighting! It’s soft and diffused. Unlike the sun at noon when it’s super bright and harsh, sunset gives us light that is diffused. This is why we can look at the sunset, and we can’t look at the sun at noon. My favorite thing about photographing at this time is the light I get behind the subject. It’s seriously my absolute favorite way to shoot! (btw: this also works with sunrise…  this is when I choose to have my own family photos made on the beach.)

So there you have it!  Best lighting for photos is no longer a mystery now that you know the 4 lighting tips for photos. You now understand what to avoid, to look for the shade, take advantage of an overcast day, or wait until sunset/sunrise. Now it’s time to get photographing! 

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