Photo Tips

MamaBloo Photo Tale: Where’s the Light?


Kari of MamaBloo has a new Photo Tale for April!  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE her Photo Tales!  Today, she’s talking about the realities of lighting in her home.  I couldn’t help but think that the timing of this Photo Tale was great with two earlier posts I wrote this month on lighting;  How to Capture Drama in Your Photos and Seeing Beyond the Light.  A third Photo Tip post on lighting for April is crazy fun!  Enjoy friends!  And thank you Kari!  We love you MamaBloo!


Our house has the world’s worse lighting.  And it is not for lack of trying.  For a preschool assignment Ty had to count the windows in the house.  He had to get Izzy’s help because the total number of windows was 123.  That’s right.  123 panes of glass in our house. Way too high for a 4 year old to count all by himself.

Now, add 27 recessed “pot” lights in our living room alone and you would think that every day would be some sort of blaze of glory… or something equally poetic.  But, it really isn’t.  It’s not even a little limerick of lighting.

So, I went on a lighting mission.  I set out to find the best lighting in my house and to take a decent picture without my flash — with mostly natural light and very minimal labor in post process.  My aperture on my camera only goes down to a 3.5 so I knew this was going to require some creative light locating.

First stop, the bright window near the kitchen.  This window is huge and has frosted glass to shield us from the garbage cans and gravel walkway right outside.  But, at mid-morning tons of light streams through it.  And on Sunday, my 1 year old was hanging out there.  So, I grabbed my camera.  The problem is that because the light was so intense and concentrated in a dark room with dark wood floors, the shadows made Emme look like a toddler version of the ying-yang symbol.

Finally, in post process I pulled out all the saturation and lowered the contrast to combat the shadows.  And I ended up  liking the dramatic effect. But, alas, poor kitchen window, you did not distinguish yourself as the best lighting winner. The search continues. (And, yes, she is wearing leg warmers.  We are so 80’s around here. )

Off to the landing outside our master bedroom, affectionately called the Book Nook. Since it is on the 2nd floor, it has better lighting. Here I captured Ty snuggled up and telling me a story that involved dragons and pee (if you have ever had a 4 year old boy, well, that will make perfect sense).

I think we may have a contender.  But I am not yet convinced.

Enter… MASTER BEDROOM.  I have high hopes for you, master bedroom.  Mainly because we have no curtains in there – and haven’t for a while.  We used to have curtains, mind you, but they fell down.  And we just didn’t have the energy to re-hang them.  Yup, we are THAT tired. Now we just have huge windows that face west.  And overlook three of our neighbor’s yards.  Our view allows us to determine what our neighbors are watching on their tv each night as we go to bed.  Dave and I usually turn to each and say, “Ah, there are those Smiths (name is changed to protect the innocent) watching TV AGAIN.”  This is packed with irony as Dave and I average about 351 hours of TV each week.

Okay, grabbed the oldest 4 kiddos, threw them on the bed, and started shooting. It was about 3 pm and the western light was coming in through the windows, but it wasn’t to that powerful “spotlight” point yet. The best part of this experiment is that putting 4 kids on a bed ranging in age from 4 to 14 gets you a melee of giggles, wrestling, and all-out fun!  Which was why I didn’t have to resort to the “fake laugh trick”, we had REAL laughter! See if you can spot Jade (age 14) at the bottom of the dog pile!

Just to be sure, I tried it out the next day.  And, yes, that is my FOOT you see in the picture — doing double duty at tickling and keeping Emme from falling off the bed.

Ding-Ding-Ding!  I think we have a winner, folks!

Now, I will just have to get used to having all our important family events in my bedroom. Hmmmmmmm…

To see some rockin’ photos and to read about Me Ra looking for and finding the best lighting on a recent baby photo session, click here.


  1. CA says:

    I so love how this search, in your capable hands, becomes an all-out adventure! Very nice.

    Oh, and the best light in my house before noon is our mater bedroom (only we live in a 1200 square foot house, so our master bedroom is pretty much JUST our bed and a narrow walk-way around it). 🙂 I have many pics of the boys sitting on the edge of my bed facing the windows.

  2. Cool adventure and great photos of your little gems!

  3. Dave says:

    I’m a fan of the leg warmers. I say bring ’em back in 2010!!


  4. Jamie says:

    Love the picture of Ty in the book nook!!! I too have been on the hunt for the best window lighting in our house… thanks for the great post!

  5. Jennifer Armstrong says:

    i love it, kari!! i’m not sure if my search would be half as fun as yours–although we do have dragons and pee around here 😉 you’re so funny!!

  6. Our Daughters bedroom has the best light, darn if she not starting to post “stay out” signs. One to many photo shoots I guess. Great post Kari.

  7. Love your posts and I think you’re right, the light was beatiful in the master bedroom. I’m still laughing about having your family gatherings in there… 🙂

  8. Addie says:

    Love this post and your images…made me giggle…and take a more inspired look around our own home. Thanks so much.

  9. Rhonda says:

    Great post Kari!
    And that’s a lot of windows. I think I would have to hire someone to clean all that glass 🙂

  10. Lisa K. says:

    thanks for the laugh and tutorial!

  11. Christina B says:

    I know im a bit late with commenting but loved this post, i had to come back and read it again=) I have 2 rooms that have great lighting


    Ive noticed that during the summer the best lighting is the playroom… Yet awful during the winter. During the winter my daughters room is the best but during the summer not so much.. Whats up with that!?!?! any one else notice that with there place??? Or is my house a bit haunted and tricking me during the seasons…………….


  12. Thank you for ur cool posts!

  13. Kaden Hayes says:

    i always use leg warmers during the winter months to feel comfy.’:*

  14. leg warmers will be more useful in the coming winter months, i gotta grab one on the local store`*-

  15. Outdoor Rugs says:

    i often use leg warmers during the cold months and specially this DEcember ~*:

  16. Kitchen Rugs says:

    i often use leg warmers during the cold months and specially this DEcember ‘*;

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