It's something we might take for granted. Or maybe not when it's 1:46am in the morning, and I trip on a size 13 shoe. Or golf balls. Or the dog. Or a half-eaten banana. Not that that's ever happened to me mind you. I'm just throwing out some perfectly random hypothetical examples here.
If you want to take great photos you'll need to look at your surroundings and study them. And specifically, because photography and light go hand in hand, we need to observe the light and know it's characteristics to set up a great photograph.
I have a friend who I am currently mentoring on her DSLR journey, and when showing me a photo she took of her daughter, she said, See, I just don't know where to put her? Or put me? Does that make sense?
Oh yessiree it does! And it's all about the light. We all know that we need light to get a good photo, but I SO understand that translating that as we're taking a photograph is the hardest part.
So let's get down to brass tacks.
There are so many things to think about when thinking about how light effects a photo. But let's keep it simple, and here are my 3 biggies to take into consideration when I set up a photograph.
First, you should consider which way the light is traveling. If you're only going to take away one thing from this post, this is the one that will have the most impact on your photos. If the light is coming in a window, face your subject towards the window so that that light hits your subjects face, and/or move your body between your subject the the light source. When you're in the situation, you may not notice a big difference, but your camera WILL see the light differently than your eye and will "catch" light that you may not see. If you're on a porch or in an open garage, face your subject to the opening so that natural light can "hit them." If you're outside under shade, look to see where the sun is in the sky and face your subject's face in the direction of the sun. It may be a very subtle difference to your naked eye. But your camera will magnify that lighting difference, so make sure they light coming into the space is hitting the surface of the subject your photographing.
|These two photos were taken at the same time in the same place. I like them both, but the first one of my son, has some distracting shadows (from his hair and head) because of the direct sunlight.|
OK, so is any of this making sense? That's a lot of info.
Just remember to ask yourself 3 things regarding the light when you are setting up a photo
1) Where is the light coming from? Face your subject in that direction.
2) Is there direct sunlight or splotchy light on your subject? Move if there is, and shoot in all shade.
3) What color is the light? If there is an color cast, correct your white balance in camera or correct during post-processing.
Now for the audience participation part of the blog, if you're having trouble with lighting issues, please feel free to send me an email with a photo attached, and we can figure out a game plan to make it even better.
You can do it right now if you want! I'll wait.
Go ahead. Send it!
I'm serious when I say that I'd love to help you capture your own memories!
Speaking of the mentoring that I'm doing, I have some news that I am so stinkin' excited to share! Many have encouraged me to take this next step, and it's a big step for me! I'm a teeny bit scared and a whole bunch excited to be doing something that I love love love. Coming soon!
New Photography 101 poll on the sidebar. Vote for the topic you'd like to see next.