I love when I get the chance to go to a new location. It’s exciting to explore and come up with ideas and images I have never created before. The best part is I have nothing to lean on prior knowledge wise. I HAVE to use my eyes not only to find the angles, but more importantly find the light. How do I manipulate the light to make it do what I want. If it isn’t there how do I create my own light. How do I work the light to help enhance the story I want to tell. This is my absolute favorite part of my job.
Shaping and creating light is the most important part of photography.
The word photography derives from the Greek photos (“light”) and graphe (“drawing”).
Light is the single most important part of an image. Without light you have no shadows, and with no shadows you have no depth. Also if you have no light its just a blank black blob, no one wants that. Light has the ability to create depth, effect moods, make a person look bigger or smaller. If you don’t know how to work the light you are leaving so much to be desired in your images. This means everything from the most important wedding image I take, to the one you may take of your food at Panera. If you take a picture of that plate in the middle of the restaurant directly under the light above your table you will have flat light. Boring, ugly, unappetizing, flat light. However if you take that same plate over to a table next to a window you have enhanced that image 10 fold already. If a big white semi drives by as you’re taking that image it gets even better. That light is now a soft light, bouncing off the truck. It is also a HUGE light source, that’s a good thing. I digress let me tell you about my trip to Myakka State Park on Wednesday.
It seems I may have found a new muse too, or maybe I’m her muse who knows, but either way Candice told me about the park. I had been there years ago for a Boy Scout trip (proud Eagle Scout, Troop 27!) but I had never done any photography there. I told her I was going to rely on her for location ideas as she knew the lay of the land much better than I. She told me about this cabin. I said sounds good to me. We rolled up on this cabin and it was gorgeous. Old Florida all the way. It was build from 1935-1941. I walked around and inside the building trying to decide where I wanted to shoot. In my world I am not looking for backgrounds I am looking for light. Obviously it I see a background I can’t pass up but the light isn’t good, I’ll just add my own light but that’s for another time.
The first spot I saw in the cabin I saw immediately. This window happened to be throwing massive amounts of gorgeous light into the room. There also happened to be a bench right there as well, almost like it was telling me, hey stupid, shoot here. It wasn’t very technical. I sat Candice down in the light and did a little bit of posing. I used a reflector to pop a little more light in but that was about it. This was the shot I got.
The next spot I decided to use was another window. window light is king if you know how to use it properly. This time I decided I wanted to shoot from the outside in. Again this wasn’t a very technically challenging spot. The sun was bouncing in an out of the clouds so I just waited to the sun to dip behind the cloud for that soft light feel. It also made for a cooler feel. I happened to have an empty Gatorade bottle in my car. I filled it up with water and splashed it on the window to try to give that sad dreary day feeling. It didn’t work as well as I wanted but nonetheless I was really happy with the image result. The last image I am going to tell you about was the same window with two minor tweaks to it. This image I decided to shoot when the sun was out, and I opened the window. This one had a much warmer feel to it with the sun coming out. It also was a slightly more difficult image to pose for as I had to figure out how to place her hands around the window. I am not the best at posing hands, that is an art form all in of itself. The other tough part was trying to keep her arm in the window from being too bright. There was no way to fix this in camera, so I had to do the thing I hate doing, fix it in photoshop. Not a huge difference in the last two images but I think it shows how much the mood changed just by waiting for the sun to come out. These little details, and knowing how to utilize them really put another tool in your toolbox. The job is to tell stories. I want you to look at the images and think, what is she thinking? (Side note, that’s why I almost never have a model smile. If they smile you know that they are happy and don’t spend as much time looking into the photo)
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