If you want it, reflect it!: Three tips for naturally brightening your images I EDUCATION

June 8, 2017



How awesome is summer? Between camping and swimming and barbecuing, there is so much time to enjoy yourself (and your selfie).


For that reason, I want to provide you with a few tips to make the most out of your vacation photos, specifically by shining a little light onto natural reflectors.


When photographers talk about reflectors, it is exactly as it sounds—it is anything that bounces or reflects light back up onto the subject. As many of you know, I am not too keen on flashes because they aren’t a natural light source; nothing beats the authentic brightness of the sun, and I will always seek that source before I move to the last resort of a Nikon Speedlight. The best part is that the sun throws way more light than we know—we just need to know how to catch it. We do that by using reflectors.


There are all sorts of commercial reflectors available (and even aluminum foil or a piece of white poster board can work wonders in a pinch). But who has been out there camping, fishing, traveling, experiencing life and didn’t have any of these things on hand?  Who had a photo turn out less than optimal because it was too dark, even though it was taken outdoors? It’s a reality we all face, but there are three things you can instantly to flip that photo! Once you get into a location where that sun (or any light source) is above and behind your subject, look for one of these three options:


1.)   Look for open spaces, such as a field or even a parking lot. These areas allow for natural light to pool rather than be absorbed or block by surroundings , so it will be readily available for use.


2.)   Use water to your advantage. We so badly want the lake or river or ocean as our backgrounds (and for very good reason—they are so gorgeous!). However, water is an amazing reflector, so rather that letting it hang out in your background, turn around and let it light your foreground. It will bounce any available light back at you with stunning results.


3.)   Look for anything neutral. White cars, ivory walls, cream tiles, natural-colored linens, you name it. Even in a tighter space, having these items in front of your subject you will brighten your face and your photograph (there’s a reason why bathrooms are such sacred selfie spaces…think of all that bright often-neutral space in there!).  


Try any one of these three ideas, and see what happens to even a camera phone photo (which aren’t too shabby nowadays…my iPhone 6S Plus has an impressive 12-megapixels and can shoot 1080p high definition video, which is amazing considering its size and portability). Let the technology work for you by giving it a little help.


If you do give these a whirl, let me see how it works! Use the hashtag #kaylaleemademedoit on Instagram or tag Kayla Lee Photography & Design on Facebook. I look forward to seeing your bright and well-lit photos!


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At home on the road. Forever-focused on authenticity and the thrilling art of creation; always found in the moments that leave me breathless and in awe. 

After fourteen years as a high school educator, I stepped back through a door I thought was closed. Journalism came back into my life. Armed with a Masters of Arts in Communication, I was again challenged and prepared to tell the stories that would become history, but with a twist: It is now your legacy of love that I document. The tension I seek is that from every tear, smile, laugh, and moment of love on your wedding day. 


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