Light and Airy Photography: 3 Tips to Achieve a Bright & Timeless Photo

You see those gorgeous film-like bright images and you are frustrated because you can’t seem to do that without overexposing and blowing out highlights- right? Light and airy photography actually happens in-camera. The background and QUALITY of your light is incredibly important. Follow these tips to help you achieve the look you’re going for in-camera before you start to edit. 

1. Look for BRIGHT backgrounds. 

If you have the choice between a wood wall and a white one, go with the white one! It’s going to make the entire image look brighter and you won’t have to bump the exposure so much in post-processing. The same goes for outdoor images- a line of dark trees will read as a black hole. Instead, look for sparse trees and branches or more open areas like a pretty field with the sun coming through the leaves! 

Related: What’s in our camera bag 

Below, I actually love both images!! However, the one in front of the white wall is definitely more light and airy.

Light and Airy Photography
Light and Airy Photography

2. If it’s cloudy, don’t put your subject against a gray sky. 

Look for something that will help them POP – a key component of light and airy photography. Otherwise, when you’re editing you’ll most likely try to overcompensate for it looking too dull by overexposing.

You can see in this example it was incredibly cold, windy, and there was very little greenery left. I chose to put them in front of something clean and non-distracting, but it also helps them pop off the page. If I had put them in front of the gray sky it would have seemed overall more dull.

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3. Backlight whenever you can. 

This rim of light around your subject’s head will add a whole other layer of brightness and dimension. When first starting out with photography, it can be easy to look for open shade whenever you can. 

We believe if the sun is out, it should be BEHIND our couples. They face their shadows in this scenario. We typically look for spots of sun on the ground peeking through trees and place our couples here. The added sunlight helps the overall image look and seem so much brighter than if we were to look for shade. 

Below are some examples of backlighting! 

Related: Kick your fear of flash