Light and airy photos have commanded a huge following on Instagram, with the hashtag #LightandAiry having more than 100k posts online. Photographers have found this aesthetic great for outdoor shoots because of the bright and dreamy look that it achieves in the final photos. In the professional sphere, the style is especially popular now for wedding photography and lifestyle portraiture, because of its emphasis on vibrancy and lightness. It ramps up color and lighting, making it such a great style to bring out happiness, joy, and light feelings in your photos.
Once you have mastered the basics of photography, learning how to produce light and airy photographs will be fairly easy. It will only require a few adjustments to your camera, and a little knowledge of photo editing on the Adobe Lightroom app.
If you’re thinking of trying out this style, read on. In this article, we will be diving into some important tips for shooting and editing light and airy photos.
1. Set everything up.
Before the day of your shoot, make sure that you have everything in your camera bag. Bring a nice DSLR that performs well in manual mode, a tripod, lighting equipment, lenses, and a handy camera trigger like the MIOPS Smart+Camera Trigger.
If you can, schedule the shoot during the golden hour to take advantage of the nice glow it gives to photos. The golden hour is the short window of time before the sun sets. If this time is not possible, try to find a location that will tame the harsh lighting of the sun. For the purposes of a light and airy shoot, try to avoid places that will give you sunspots and harsh shadows.
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2. Dial in your ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed.
Light and airy photographs will need a lot of help in the technical aspect of photography. Don’t be intimidated, though. It’s quite easy as soon as you get the hang of these settings:
- Set your ISO to the lowest level, and start from there to get the perfect lighting. If it’s sunny and there’s great lighting around you, begin at 160-200 ISO. Take a few test shots, and see if it gives you the light you need.
- Set your aperture according to how much of the composition you want in focus. Some photographers prefer blurring the background to highlight the subject really well, while some want everything clearly visible. Think product photography vs. outdoor wedding shoots. Right? Whatever you are shooting, just remember to lower your aperture for more blur, and dial it up for more visibility.
- Lastly, get into your shutter speed setting. Remember that this setting is highly dependent on how much light is available to you, and what settings your ISO and aperture are on. In bright locations, you can set it to as fast as 2000. Indoors, you can begin from 1/60 to get more lighting. Just remember to take some test shots, and adjust from there.
3. Bring out the gears and accessories.
Once you are in the shoot location, set up your camera on your tripod, and attach your camera trigger. These additional equipment and accessories will help you capture better and stable shots. If you have the MIOPS Smart+Camera Trigger on hand, it will be useful in taking your photos remotely-- removing the blur that comes with clicking the shutter button.
This particular camera trigger is also a sound investment for photographers because of the multiple functions it offers to its users. It has several trigger modes, and among them is the laser mode, which can help you capture photos of moving subjects. If you have this and you’re taking pictures of people, allow them to move around and interact. This will make them more comfortable, while also allowing you to capture genuine emotions and interactions.
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4. Shoot in RAW.
To capture the most details, try shooting in RAW. Light and airy photos will need some editing before it gets to its best outcome, so shooting in RAW will also be handy for post-processing. It may result in bigger file sizes, but we assure you that it is worth the extra memory cards you have to pack.
Now that you have taken pictures that are ideal for light and airy outcomes, it’s time to learn a few tricks to editing them.
1. Editing on Lightroom
Two of the most important things you have to consider in editing photos for this purpose are it's contrast and colors. Light and airy pictures generally have lower contrasts and softer colors, which is why the photo’s exposure is very important. In the Adobe Lightroom app on your computer, adjust the exposure and play around with the shadows to bring out more details. Softening the shadows will slightly mute the blacks, but it will add to making your pictures much brighter.
You will also have to play around with how the colors will look. If there’s one other thing that you have to pay attention to, it is the color’s vibrancy. You can mute the colors to an appropriate level by toning down the greens and the oranges on Lightroom’s HSL panel. This is quite easy to learn -- just experiment with the sliders and see how the adjustments affect your photos.
2. Using presets.
If these sound too complicated, you can also buy pre-made presets for Lightroom. Using these is quite straightforward. You only have to apply the preset and adjust the exposure and white balance of the photographs.
Light and airy photos are popular for all the right reasons: it’s fun, it produces nice pictures, and it makes for a great way to freeze wonderful moments. Add this to the fact that it is fairly easy to achieve, as long as you have mastered your camera’s important settings. It is also important that you add your own unique touch to your pictures. While it is a style that comes with a formula, it is still you who will dictate what your photos will communicate to your audience.
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