I'm so excited because today is my first guest post! My friend and fav photographer Meredith Mascola from Meredith Mascola Photography, takes my family portraits every year and the whole family has a great time during the shoot especially the kids. And the results are always amazing. Today Meredith has some fabulous advice on how to light your little one to get truly beautiful photos. And of course I couldn't be happier that she used her gorgeous daughter Scarlett as her model, how cute is she?! Thank you Mer for being part of The Asylum.


Hi there! I'm so excited to be a guest 'blogger" here at The Asylum. Today's topic: how YOU can take better pictures in your home and backyard. There are so many things that could be covered when talking about photography, but without confusing you- I'm going to be very basic.

INDOOR SHOOTING with natural light only:
I am a huge fan of shooting in natural light so that's why I picked this topic. You can do this with any type of camera, just be sure to turn your flash off before starting. If you are feeling brave, try using the manual setting. Manual shooting is a huge lesson in itself which we can save for another day.

1. Pick a room in your house that gets good natural light during the day. For me, I chose my living room because we have large windows that bring in plenty of light. Sliding glass doors are usually great for grabbing natural light as well as a window located near a bed.

2. Once you pick the room with the best light, create your "scene." For me, I moved the chair from one side of the room, to face the window stream of light. I then removed my coffee table so I could crouch there when I was taking the picture of my subject. Don't be afraid to move some things around to get the best possible shot.

* see image below for the position of the photographer, the subject and where the light source is.

The result of positioning the subject FACING the windows and the stream of light: the light hit her face, and created catch lights in her eyes. Catch lights are a great addition to a portrait, adding dimension to the subjects face and life to the eyes. You can achieve this by using a flash, but you will get softer light hitting the face by using the natural light instead of a flash. I should mention the subject is about 10 feet from the window. The farther away from the windows (light source) the softer the light will hit her face.

If you want to have a bit more contrast on the subject, bring them closer to the light source. In the picture below, I had my daughter inches from the window. By doing so, the light is stronger on her face (left side, which is facing the window). It is best to do this when the sun isn't casting harsh sun spots in the room. Instead you want an even light hitting the room

There are so many topics to cover when discussing outdoor photography, but I figured today I'd cover 1 very basic aspect and that is background. Here are some tips:

1. Choose a background with texture to add some dimension. I choose to have my subject stand in front of a pile of wood for this reason. A brick fireplace, tall grasses or stone are all nice backdrops that you can find in your back yard. Avoid things like the driveway with cars , garbage cans, etc.

2. If it is a sunny day, the subject must stand in the shade. Then shoot in to a mix of sun and shade as the background- for example leaves dappled in light.

3. If it is overcast, you can shoot anywhere because the light is even. If it is sunny, and you can wait to take your pictures- plan on taking them 1 hour before the sun sets. The light is soft and golden at this time of day and you can't beat the final results.

Have fun, experiment and enjoy the time you have to be creative. If you are shooting with a digital camera, you have nothing to lose. Sometimes what you think was a mistake can turn out to be your favorite creation yet!

Meredith Mascola Photography