In my last post, I shared in-camera settings to automatically enhance your iPhone portrait mode shots. This week, we’re sticking to the topic of lighting.

Unfortunately, perfect natural lighting isn’t always an option. So I’m dedicating this post to sharing alternative light or light-altering sources. The first three options are tools you can use to manipulate potential light. Options four and five are alternative light sources when you don’t have any (natural) light at all.

Option 1

The first thing I usually try when I need to brighten an image is reflect light off of a mirror. This is particularly helpful for backlit photos, like my windowsill shots (see below).

Option 2

Another useful tool for lighting an image is a bounce board. Bounce boards work like a mirror to refract or absorb light, except a bounce board is a bit more subtle. Where a mirror reflects directly onto a scene, a bounce board is more of a distributor. You could pay $100-500 for a “bounce board,” or you could go to your local craft store and pick up a white poster board-like sheet for the same effect.

Option 1 –– Linked to the left.
  1. Cost effective bounce board
  2. High-end bounce board
  3. Foam/poster board from Michaels

Option 3

There are products on the market that act as both a bounce board and a mirror, and those are handheld reflectors. These work best if you A) are working on a tripod with a shutter remote, or B) have an assistant who can hold the reflectors where they’re needed. You can often also find reflectors that come with a stand.

Option 4

Useful lighting resource option four? A ring light (pictured below). Ring lights usually come on a tripod where you can attach a phone or camera. Most also have settings to mimic various types of light (i.e. studio, warm sunlight, etc).

Option 5

The more “professional” version of ring lights are softbox lights (pictured above). I will link the set I am considering purchasing here.

Items I have or will purchase can be found and purchased here. However, I’m guessing you can find items in your own household to make an ideal lighting situation.


Per usual, comment below or email me with questions, concerns or topics you’d like me to discuss on Tuesdays. Until next week!


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