Inspiration Blog

Learn. Create. Explore. Tips & How To's

Lighting is the key to great, clear photography. Insufficient lighting or the wrong flash settings can sabotage an otherwise fantastic photo. Whether you’re indoors, at the beach or out at night, it’s the lighting that makes or breaks the photograph. Here are some basic lighting tips from Costco Photo Center to make sure you get the best out of your photos.


Indoor Lighting

Natural light can be your best friend when taking indoor photos. Natural light can produce impressive results with soft, gentle highlights and contrasting shadows, while avoiding the harsh lighting and red-eye from a flash.

Some basic guidelines: don’t stand in front of the light source, don’t shoot a backlit subject without a flash and always try to take indoor photos close to windows or skylights. Well-lit photos look fantastic printed on archival paper from 4x6 to 20x30, Canvas Prints, and Metal Prints that help to bring out the vibrant colors and detailed textures.


 Outdoor Lighting

The gift of outdoor lighting is opportunity. Try not to plan for a certain kind or quality of light when venturing outside to take photos as the light can change in an instant. Instead, embrace the changes and shifting patterns of natural light. Look for opportunities to capture something unique with passing clouds and setting suns.

The best quality of outdoor light is early morning or that soft, golden glow of the evening. Mid-day lighting will give you bright, colorful and high-contrast pictures. Use dark backgrounds for anything that is well lit and use a light background for anything you want to highlight. Outdoor shots come to life on Canvas Prints. For depth and perspective, try a Multi-Panel Canvas Print to spread that beautiful panorama over multiple canvas prints.


Photography at Night

Don’t use your flash for nighttime photography. What you’ll need is a larger aperture to let in as much light as the camera can possibly record. Dusk lighting is ideal for distance photos, so wait for that moment just after the sun has set if you’re looking to capture a night time landscape.

Never forget to check your shutter speed. The longer a shutter stays open, the more light gets in and the more detail you capture in your photo. Just be sure to have a steady hand or use a monopod or tripod. As long as you have an effective exposure time and allow as much light as possible to be recorded, your nighttime photos will be beautiful. Night photos will look stunning as a 16x20 Poster Print or on a custom Poster Board.


Street Photography

Street photos are a really cool, niche form of art, but they aren’t as simple as one might think. Lighting can be a bit tricky when it’s filtering in between buildings, casting shadows. Don’t be afraid to set your camera at an angle to compensate for shadow angles and do your best to avoid shooting directly into the sun.

Watch out for window-glare on buildings and vehicles when taking photos of the city as you might find some interesting surprises in the background of your photo. But remember, every photo is a story. For a series of street shots, try compiling a custom Photo Book for each city you photograph.

Check out Costco Photo Center's multiple Photo Book styles using one of your photos on the cover or elegant leather cover.