How to Take Bright Airy Pictures

  1. Take a bright and airy picture

ok was that too easy? No but seriously, I get asked all the time how I take my bright and airy pictures in my kitchen that’s all white and full of windows. Well the all white and bright light helps a lot. My picture is pretty much bright and airy out of camera.  You will have a harder time getting that effect in a small kitchen with dark cabinets and low light.  In that case I would go for a moodier edit.

So have your subjects dress in light colors, go find an open space with some nice light- whatever that is for you-backlight, or soft filtered light.  A beach is a great place to get that bright airy feel. An open back lit field is also great. If urban is more your feel, that’s great because gray sidewalks, white fences, pretty light colored architecture work great too. Light colored side walks and buildings are fantastic because they act as natural reflectors bouncing light back on your subjects faces!

Indoors  light colored furniture and walls is more conducive to that feel which is why you see so many Instagrammers with white interiors. That doesn’t mean you have to burn your house down and start from scratch if that doesn’t describe your house- easy fixes are white sheets, light accessories, standing near windows. 

 Part of the bright and airy feel is the light colored clothing, and environment. Also light and airy needs light and here she is beside a window and glass door.

Part of the bright and airy feel is the light colored clothing, and environment. Also light and airy needs light and here she is beside a window and glass door.

2. Over expose

Bright means light so go ahead and push your exposure as far as you can without blowing highlights.  I can’t emphasize the importance of light enough because that is what is going to give you that airiness!

 This was taken at the same time as the picture above but this one was underexposed and regardless of editing this is not going to have the light and airy feel.

This was taken at the same time as the picture above but this one was underexposed and regardless of editing this is not going to have the light and airy feel.

3. Try a Preset

I think the industry standard  for light and airy is Mastin Fuji 400h.  This will give you the soft airiness with pastel colors. It’s based on the Fuji 400h film stock. I don’t typically use presets but if I do these are my favorite.

 I used the Mastin 400H preset for this picture to show you what it looks like. This was pretty much a two click edit. I applied the preset and and increased exposure significantly. I don’t typically use presets but these do get pretty close to what I hand edit when I go for this type of edit.

I used the Mastin 400H preset for this picture to show you what it looks like. This was pretty much a two click edit. I applied the preset and and increased exposure significantly. I don’t typically use presets but these do get pretty close to what I hand edit when I go for this type of edit.

4. Edit for bright and airy

In editing I always push my exposure as high as it can go without blowing highlights. Then I might get a brush and draw light on places that could use more light. 

 Don’t be afraid to increase exposure. Lots of yucky colors can live in shadows so get rid of them.

Don’t be afraid to increase exposure. Lots of yucky colors can live in shadows so get rid of them.