HOW-TO-TAKE-BRIGHT-photos-in-winterNow that the temperatures are dropping and winter is coming the days are also getting shorter, which means that taking blog pictures can be a bit of a nightmare.

I have to be honest though, sometimes I prefer the gloominess over harsh sunlight. When there’s nothing but direct, harsh sunlight coming through my window, there’s nothing that I can do, other than wait. But, if the weather outside is a bit gloomy and dark, then that’s something that I can work with.


First thing that you need to do is find the best light source you can. For me it’s always our kitchen- there’s a big glass door leading to the backyard which lets in a lot of light into that particular spot. It took me two years to realize that that’s the best spot for taking pictures in my house, so even if you think your house is a bit dark (like mine) keep looking. If you don’t have any big windows, I’d suggest setting up your subjects on a flat surface and opening the front door (any outside door that will let some light in). You can also try working on window sills.  On those days when I find it really difficult to work with limited light, I also sometimes go outside. Another important thing to remember is time of the day during which you shoot. This will be different for everyone else. Now that the Daylight Saving Time has ended, I can take my pictures as early as 8.30am, but I can no longer get away with taking them during my usual time which is between 12.00 and 3.00 pm. This is because now that all the leaves are gone, there is way too much direct sunlight coming through my window. Lastly, always remember to use a tripod- when working with limited light I usually lower my shutter speed, which can make my photos look a bit blurry- this is why using a tripod is so important, it keeps your camera steady.

blog-photography-tipsThis is my usual setup (don’t mind the mess in the background, my kitchen has turned into a closet/makeup room/photography studio :P ) when my light source is even more limited than this, I get even closer to the window. how-to-take-bright-photos



This is something that I mention in pretty much every single one of my Photography posts: make sure to use bright surfaces and reflectors. You can use white cardboard to bounce off the light which will make your photos look brighter and a reflector to get rid of shadows. I use this 5 in 1 Collapsible Reflector and I never take photos without it. Using a reflector and white surfaces to bounce off the light can make a huge difference in the way your images look.



During dark and cold months I only reach for two lenses when shooting indoors: 50mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.8. This is because both are fast lenses and they can pass through more light than, for example, a lens with a maximum aperture of f/4.0. I also always keep my aperture really opened- usually at around f/2.2 (this lets in A LOT of light). I avoid using maximum aperture (like f/1.4 and f/1.8) because then the image might look too soft and not as sharp. If you want to learn more about your camera’s manual settings, see this post. Also, raising your ISO is something that you will most likely need to do when working with limited light. Keep in mind that depending on the lens and camera you’re using, it can make your images look grainy.

ISO 160

ISO: 160ISO 1600ISO: 1600

how to take bright picturesISO: 125 Aperture: f/2.5 Shutter speed: 1/160 v. ISO: 125 Aperture: f/2.2 Shutter speed: 1/80rainy-day-photographyISO: 100 Aperture: f/2.5 Shutter speed: 1/160how-to-take-picutures-on-a-gloomy-day

ISO: 200 Aperture: f/2.2 Shutter speed: 1/80


When all else fails and the weather outside is really dreadful, that’s when I reach for my soft boxes. I will always prefer working with natural light, but now that it gets dark pretty quickly I don’t always have enough time during the day to take photos for my blog. I also sometimes use a ring light as well. If you’ve never worked with artificial light before but want to give it a try, keep in mind that you might have to experiment a little with your white balance settings. It took me a while to get used to working with soft boxes, but they’re definitely worth the investment, because during winter I reach for them quite a lot.

soft boxes for product photographysoft-boxes-for-blog-photographyUsing these soft boxes (placed on the left and right of my subject).

For more tips on taking bright photos, make sure to check out this post.

  • Klaudia.

    AMAZING and informative post, thank you for sharing! But for some reason my camera can’t go below 3.5f. Can you please also share where did you get the marble board from? Thank you! xo

    Klaudia //

  • Klaudia.

    AMAZING and informative post, thank you for sharing! But for some
    reason my camera can’t go below 3.5f. xo

    Klaudia //

  • Klaudia.

    AMAZING and informative post, thank you for sharing! But for some
    reason my camera can’t go below 3.5f. xo

    Klaudia //

    • Thanks for visiting Klaudia! What kind of lens are you using?

      • Klaudia.

        Canon 18-55mm x

        • f/3.5 is the maximum aperture your lens has. Not every lens can go as high as f/1.4 or f/1.8. It all depends on what kind of lens you’re using ;) I’d suggest you get the “nifty-fifty” lens which is pretty affordable, but makes a big difference in brightness

  • Sam

    This is so helpful. I’ve only just started improving my photography this year but definitely struggling with the darker days. This really helps though so thanks :) xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

  • Thank you!! I find it so difficult to work with this dark, gloomy weather, but I’m going to become best friends with my tripod and lower the shutter speed :)

    Ps. Love your photos!

  • As usual very helpful post Paula! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and tips and tricks :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • This was such a helpful post and definitely packed with information that I’ll be sure to use. Thank you Paula!

    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

  • So many awesome tips! Where do you get your marble boards? I’ve been looking for marble to shoot with instead of using wood boards.

  • Kim Petersen

    These are great tips Paula, for me lighting is one of the hardest parts of taking photos for my blog so it’s nice to have this explained and broken down like you did! Great post! XO -Kim

  • Thanks for these tips. I’m not the greatest at photography and I’m finding it harder to take pictures now. I wake up in the mornings and it’s dark and when I get home from work it’s dark. It’s a big struggle for me.

    • No problem Krystal! It’s definitely not as easy to take pictures during colder months of year! I try to get all my blog photography done during the weekend, if I can.

  • Another fab post with so many tips. I am always eager to improve my photography skills and achieve better photos. Will definitely work on some of my camera settings. I always use window sills to take my photos, these days we get gloomy around 1pm in the UK haha x

    Beauty with charm

    • Aww thanks so much Alina! Your photos are always beautiful! Window sills are awesome, if you have them haha :) Mine are a bit too narrow to work with, sadly!

  • I love your photography posts, they have such great tips and it always inspires me to take better photos for my blog. Thank you!

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

  • This is such a helpful post! As we’ve been having more gloomy weather lately I’m finding it hard to get quality photos.

    xo, Liz

  • This post came just as I was thinking about how I was going to take pictures with the dark weather. Thank you for your help!

    Jemima x

  • Erica White

    I love this post! Thank you for the awesome tips!

  • Thanks for the tips!

    xx, A Little Dose of Makeup

  • All I can say is THANK GOD FOR THIRTEENTHOUGHTS! I know the struggle of taking bright, airy looking photos in limited lighting and I’ve been trying to find ways to improve that without having to do too much editing. This post is perfect, and it doesn’t sound like a foreign language to me for once! Thank you for giving these tips in a simple and understandable way, so helpful as always.


    • Aww thanks so much Isabelle, you’re so sweet. So glad that you enjoyed this post, thanks so much for visiting! <3

  • Thank you Paula! You always inspire me to ramp up my photography and invest in other gadgets to help. Bookmarking this one as it’s so useful! x

  • SavBanav

    This was super helpful!! Seattle, where I live, is going through a big grey, rainy period of time, so I’ll definitely keep these in mind when taking photos. I need a reflector for sure!


  • Danielle Beautyblog

    Praying for sunlight on Saturday so I can take some photos! I want some softboxes and a reflector so bad now! The differences in pictures with different ISO’s is crazy, love seeing the comparison! I need to have a better look at my camera to see if there is anything I can do!

    Danielle’s Beauty Blog

    • You can also use some white cardboards/paper to bounce off the light until you get your hands on a reflector :)

  • Tal

    Perfect Wednesday night pick me up read! Xx

    Chloe Love Story Perfume Review

  • Megan Biggin

    Thank you so much for this! I’m still trying to grasp the settings on my camera, usually I leave it on automatic but I’ve been finding that recently it’s just far too dark. I’ll definitely be using a tripod to keep the picture steady. x

    Megan |

  • This was so helpful! I am still working with my starter kit lenses and I’m pretty sure neither of them allow me to go lower than f/4.0, which hurts a bit. I think my next little purchase may have to be that reflector! That certainly seems like it will me a huge difference in the meantime :) Thanks so much for sharing your tips.

  • I just found your blog but wow, I absolutely love how dreamy and ethereal all your photos look! Definitely love seeing behind the scenes from other bloggers. I recently started using a white cardboard as a reflector for more light and have been loving the effect, great tips!

    Cindy |

  • Thanks for such a helpful post! I definitely need better lighting and a tripod! Love the last shot of lipsticks in a cup!

  • The Sunday Mode

    Thanks for the in depth and informative post. I think getting used to using my dslr is a constant process for me, I feel like I’m always learning something new. I definitely don’t miss the winter lighting issues, thankfully we’re coming to summer in Australia.

    • It definitely takes some time to get used to your camera. Lucky you, we’re expecting snow anytime now haha :)

  • GwenBie

    thank you for the tips. It’s so useful ! :)

  • Biana Perez

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – come take pictures for me lol! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • I invested in some artificial light this fall too, as i am not at home during daylight hours and on the weekends my daughter insists in taking part in everything I do, which makes taking blogpost pictures quite difficult.

    Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Anna

    I know absolutely nothing about photography or lighting for that matter (but definitely would love to!) so these are fantastic tips. Thanks for sharing!

    Anna xx

  • I love these tips! I’m definitely going to try these out some day :D

  • Kate

    I needed to read this Paula! I’m definitely struggling with lack of light at the moment and need all the tips I can get! Plus my DSLR is currently at the camera hospital as it refuses to activate the flash. So lighting issues all round! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  • I needed this post, saved to my bookmarks!

    Sara – She Who Is Short

  • Saved. So helpful! I am forever trying to work out settings that will be the best for my pictures. I have never seen anyone put this much effort into actually helping people and I’ve also saved the soft box’s as a favourite on my laptop so I can buy them after Christmas :)

    thank you! xx

    Fern |

    • Aww so sweet of you to say that Fern, thank you so much! I’m really happy you found this post so helpful, and I’m sure you’ll love the soft boxes if you decide to get them : )

  • This is so helpful, I’m still getting the hang of blog photography but hopefully I’ll get there soon!

    becca | beccagiveslove

    • Thanks so much Becca! It takes some practice- I’m constantly learning new things myself, but you’ll get there :)

  • Samileen

    As always I love reading your photography posts they are so informative..

    Sam || beauty detour

  • Agnes

    Paula,I am so thankful for this post. I will not see daylight until April (except for the weekend of course) and by the time I am ready to to take pictures the sun is getting low. It looks like will be turning my dining room into a studio:))


  • Taylor S

    I’ve really wanted to get into photography for a long time. This post is so informative and your photos are so beautiful!

  • Even though rigging up the tripod is a lot of work for me, it is totally worth it in the end. The crispness of the pictures is really evident especially when I work with my remote. These are great tips. My condo has such terrible natural lighting. I can only shoot a few hours out of the day.

  • Once again this post is EXACTLY what I was looking for! It’s becoming more and more difficult to take good photos in natural light, and, since I have a full-time job during the day, it’s not that easy to take photos before work or before it starts getting dark (it’s fully dark here by 5:00pm already!). Thank you so much for this post :D

    • Thank you so much Amanda! I work full-time as well, that’s why sometimes I get all of my photography done during the weekend :) I don’t get to sleep in on Sundays, but it’s worth it haha ;)

  • I always love reading your photogrpahy tips posts Paula :) They are so detailed and easy to follow plus they are things that people can do without having to spend a tonne of money! Sunday is my photo taking day in Winter as there just isn’t enough light when I get home from work now :) xx

    Brenda BusyBee

  • Elaine

    Great tips! I really want to invest in some of the equipment you suggested.

    Elaine x

  • This post is great. I have been searching for some time on how to improve on lighting because I don’t have great source of lighting in my house either but these tips have inspired me. I also want to play with my camera setting now. x

    Sara Ali |

  • Thank you for all the tips especially about aperture. I need to read my camera manual and understand it better!
    Lisa x

  • Alysha Paulsen

    This is very useful, I will definitely take on board these tips next time I take pictures

  • Victoria – The Beauty Addict

    I love this post! So useful and the tips are going to be very handy! I have just moved house and so my beautiful natural lighting is no more and I have been struggling with a LED Lighting Box that leave everything (especially the white background) tinted blue! Not a good look! Will be investing in Soft Boxes and Ring Lights next month so I can continue creating great pictures for my Blog!