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Crissy Fields (Lighting – indoor vs. outdoor)

It’s been a while since I posted an update regarding what I’ve learned in photography. Due to all of the technicalities and details I need to focus on in order to create a great image, it’s definitely taking time to perfect! What I mean by great is -really inviting my audience to seeing how I see. Questions that go through my mind are -what do I want to focus on? What do I need to do to create a sharp image? How much depth of field do I want? How should I frame this or how do I want to edit these set of pictures? The more I shoot, the quicker these questions get answered and the more I realize the importance of light.

After a whole week of raining, the sun decided to come out again on this very beautiful Sunday. The air was fresh and this was a great time to be out. Rachel and I went to Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley –1807 4th St., Berkeley, CA 94710. As we caught up, I told her that I really wanted to dive deeper into the world of professional photography. She was excited for me and supportive enough to help me practice throughout the day. I started explaining to her about lighting and how big of a difference it can make in pictures.

Chris has often times drilled through my head the importance of light as a photographer. Finding good light is more important than finding a good location. Understanding the different types of light and how to work with each kind may be more important than finding the best scenery. You may be in a great location; but if the lighting is bad, pictures can quickly become dull, harsh, and/or boring.

Bette's Oceanview Diner, California Breakfast

California Breakfast


Shooting indoors is definitely more challenging -in terms of getting a sharp image. The lighting is usually more yellow and darker inside. This was definitely the case for this restaurant. I knew I would either need a lens that opens big enough to absorb more light or raise my ISO (which may result in a grainier image). To my advantage, I had a lens that opened up very big and there was light coming from the window behind Rachel (soft light onto the food). When in doubt, window light is the best light to use when shooting indoors with no flash. Window light is a natural-light-photographer’s best friend.

Bette's Oceanview Diner, California Breakfast

California Breakfast

Bette's Oceanview Diner, Souffle pancake w/ chocolate swirl & strawberries

Souffle pancake w/ chocolate swirl & strawberries

Despite being at Bette’s OCEANVIEW diner, there was no actual “ocean view,” we ended up making a spontaneous trip to Crissy Fields, San Francisco! Shout out to my best-friend for always being down to shoot with me! 🙂 She was a trooper for being my model for the day.

Crissy Fields, San Francisco


Shooting outside is all about choosing the right time of day and finding flattering lighting. Shooting midday in the bright open sun is usually a bad idea. Bright sunny days during high noon usually means harsh lighting and dark shadows on people’s faces (usually under their eyes). I’ve learned that photography is all about knowing when to shoot and when to wait. It’s a game of patience that not everybody has. When we shot in Crissy Fields, lighting outside was perfect from 5:00-7:00pm. This is when the sun is lower and at an angle. I just had to set my settings accordingly, as the lighting changed over time.

I placed the sun behind Rachel to make her glow a little. Chris tells me that this is called “Rim Light.” As you can see, the area on her head is also brighter than the rest of the picture and lighting is lit evenly on her face. I also tried facing her towards the sun… As a result, the picture had harsh, uneven lighting. It was also harder for her to keep her eyes open (I wouldn’t want to put anyone in that situation).

Crissy Fields, San FranciscoCrissy Fields Outdoor Lighting

Crissy Fields

This area was beautiful. We took a nice, windy stroll around the beach. This area is perfect for walking dogs, biking, picnics, kite flying, playing catch, etc; and in our case, a photoshoot. I’m very nit picky/detail oriented about my pictures. Chris say’s this is a very good quality to have as a photographer. Before shooting an image, I always check for distracting backgrounds and unflattering light on a person’s face. I dislike shooting in spotty lighting. So if I have to, I’ll look for shady evenly lit areas outside.  We ended up staying at an area near a lot of trees, logs, and benches.

Crissy Fields, Outdoor Lighting

I’ve always enjoyed photography and having quality pictures. I never thought I’d get into it professionally. Chris definitely had an influence with me pursuing and learning more about it. Not only is he my best friend and boyfriend, he teaches me and helps me grow in something I once thought was only “just” a hobby. Through photography, I’d like to connect with people and be part of their life events. Whether it’s their graduation shoot, LinkedIn profile picture, maternity shoot, weddings, etc. -I’d like to capture these moments for them.

Photography is like an ongoing story for me and this is just the beginning. The plot is constantly evolving and i’m learning more as I practice. As I continue to better understand the difference and quality in light sources, I will be more confident in creating unique photos and enriching my story.

Feel free to comment below, any thoughts you had or suggestions!

Thanks for reading,


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