Photo Tips for Using Computer Light to Illuminate Your Subject

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I am Neyssa Lee a mother of six, who is planning obsessed, and uses photography to help you see the beauty in your own family’s chaos. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

After several comments and questions about a photo from this month’s 10-on-10 post, I’ve decided to focus this week’s lesson on photo tips for using computer light to illuminate your subject!

SET UP: The great thing about this shot was that it didn’t take much set up. Since the room was pretty dark, I didn’t have to worry about things distracting from my image. I also imagined the image in black and white, so I worried even less about the surroundings. Time of day matters, as you will want your room to be dark. In my image below there was only a small amount of window light peeping in the blinds. Place your subject(s) near the computer screen (or smart phone screen, or iPad screen, most tech devices will work!) so that the light will illuminate their face.

CAMERA SETTINGS: Turn off your flash. Because you’re working with a small amount of light, you’re going to want to bump up your ISO. I chose an ISO of 2500 Choose a wide aperture to help  blur out the background and allow even more light in. I used f/1.6. Your shutter speed can be a little slower since your subject will be (hopefully) sitting semi-still. I used a shutter speed of 1/100 .

COMPOSE: The fun thing about this type of shot is that you can really play around. I chose to shoot vertically, and semi tight, with only the keyboard showing. I felt the keyboard provided enough information that you knew they were at a computer, while keeping close enough to show my husband and son’s faces. I could have also tried horizontally to have more black space or show more of the computer, all of which would change the feeling of the photo.


Do words like Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed boggle your mind? Learn something new and take my photography workshop, on Saturday, March 29th. You will learn how to use your camera in manual to capture what YOU want to capture. You will also learn the elements of story telling so you can not only capture something beautiful, but something meaningful as well. For more information email me ( or visit my workshop page.


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