If you’ve been working on improving your photography skills, you may have picked up on the fact that lighting is the key. It’s not just about adding more light, but controlling the light you have. I was shocked when I watched the first professional photographer who worked at shooting my house. For one shot, the room was almost completely dark. Why? He was controlling the light. Light that was coming in through my windows was casting strange, harsh shadows on the subject. Sometimes that can look cool, but generally soft, even light looks better when shooting interiors.
I was so excited about installing a skylight tube in my master bathroom, which is an interior room that had no natural light. It brought in that beautiful light I was craving, but it did cause a slight problem. The light was all coming from the ceiling, so the shadows made taking pictures tricky.
See how harsh it is? Now, I could correct that to a point in Lightroom, but it’s better if I can correct the lighting in the room first. I don’t have all of the fancy scrims and reflectors that the pros have, but I do have a few sheets of cheap white foam core board and I use them often as backdrops, reflectors and to diffuse or block light.
In the bathroom, I held a piece of foam board between the light and the subject.
As you can see, it casts a shadow over the space I’m shooting, diffusing the light, making it even. Since it casts a shadow and makes the entire shot darker, I then have to decrease my shutter speed to allow more light into the lens.
Now the light is soft and pretty, but it still looks bright, even though the subject is in shadow.
Here’s another example of a picture without the foam core…
Huge difference, right? It’s so exciting to discover something so cheap and easy that immediately makes your pictures look better.