Embracing the Light (Photography Tutorial)

A few settings on the camera and the right amount of sunlight, you can come up with over-exposed photos that can have this very bright and dream-like effect. This is a style that I really love doing in most of my photographs (although I don’t really post them here, I have a vast collection of these types of photos). I modeled for this tutorial so I could show you that anyone could do it and it isn’t like a super special technique only experienced photographers could do. (Not saying I am a pro-photographer but rather this is a very easy technique so I think people can do this without much effort)

First let me discuss how I achieved this effect. 

I used a Nikon D50 with a f/1.8 50mm prime lens for this shoot. First off, I highly suggest you shoot some time between 3pm-5pm, that’s the infamous ‘magical hours’ of shooting wherein the sun is not as deadly bright as it is at noontime and yet not very dark either. It’s also a good idea to shoot in area where there a lot of spaces where the light could pass through and bend. Personally for this type of shoot I prefer there to be more light behind the model than in front so you could achieve this very angelic effect.

Next is to keep our aperture settings to its largest possible in order to have the subject be really sharp as opposed to the background. As for shutter speed, it actually depends on how much light you have at that time but I highly recommend on an extremely sunny  to have it between 160-320, so it’s better to shoot on a day where the sun is hot and out.

Basically you just have to know where you should shoot, how the light would bounce from the background to the subject and vice versa, and in a way you have to be able to measure the amount of light you have and learn to adjust you camera’s setting accordingly.

Now moving on to the post-processing.

Most people do a lot of photo-shopping to achieve this effect and this happens if you weren’t able to properly adjust your camera accordingly to the light. Remember, light is a photographer’s best friend and the way you play with it can make a world of difference.

Admittedly, I used very minor photoshop when post-processing these photos because I wasn’t able to get the color I really wanted. What’s great about this effect is that since you have this massive amount of light you wouldn’t need to brighten or add more contrast to the picture because theoretically you’d already have enough light to create this image.

Continuing to the post-processing, first, you need to create a new fill layer, which you could find under the layer tab on the menu bar:

Next, create a new fill layer > solid color and set it at 8% opacity level.

I chose a light pink color to add a little playful glow to the photo. Here’s the exact color I used:

Repeat the same step for the next two layers.

For the second layer I used a brown color with an orange hue to it, setting it to opacity level 10%

For the last layer I used a light pastel lemony yellow color, setting it to a 6% opacity level.

You can actually play around with the colors and opacity level depending on the colors you want to emphasize/use. I set the opacity levels really low for this because I wanted to mix colors so I could get the right amount of pinks and yellows without overdoing each color. 

Here’s the before and after effect of the editing.



See how there’s only a slight difference? I didn’t change the brightness of the photo because it was already overexposed. I only added color to give it a little more ‘oomph’.

I hope this really helped in a way. This is my first photography tutorial and if anyone has any more suggestions to make it better, please do so. I’d really appreciate that.

Thanks for reading!


Simple outfit shot. Not part of the actual set.

Clothes: Dress from Vanity without Apology, shoes from Gibi Shoes, Sunglasses from Mall 168, Bag is thrifted