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Like many who teach lighting for photography, I tend to focus heavily on the other three properties of lighting first (quantity, quality, direction) and avoid color. That’s because you really can make quantum leaps in your technique by simply learning to “shape” light, and color kinda falls into a separate category.
The one thing you can count on when you’re shooting on location is that you can’t count on anything except a variety of challenging lighting situations. These all fall squarely into what I like to refer to broadly as “bad light.” Bad light is any quality of light that is inconsistent with the lighting desired for the images you’re about to capture.
We need to have the ability to shoot when and where things happen. This means you will need to know how to handle direct sun. There is no reason to hide inside when the sun is high and harsh; we are going to show you how to get out there and shoot successfully.
Great lighting is what separates the good images from the bad, as well as the good from the great. It’s literally and technically what your camera sensors capture every time you press your shutter. As a photographer, our number-one goal should be to chase down great lighting, maybe even learn how to create it if called for, and then place our subjects within that scene to bask in its brilliance.
The golden hour, in my opinion, is one of the great wonders of the world. The time of day just before sunrise or sunset (I prefer sunset) when the light streams in with its red and orangey glow, warm and oh-so-satisfying to bask in. As a photographer, there is literally nothing quite like shooting at this time of day.
Every location poses different challenges, but the results can be great when you get outside your comfort zone and work with a purpose. In this article, I will explain my creative thought process and cover the technical details I encounter when creating environmental portraits.
Location-based photographers need to be able to create lighting under any circumstance, at any time. Once a photographer’s schedule becomes more and more filled as their business begins to grow, the luxury of shooting all clients during the beautiful, golden-hour, natural light will become a thing of the past.
Creating dynamic portraits using a reflector is not as simple as you might think at first. Understanding the lighting from the scene will help you determine the best place to position your reflector. On this shoot, Sal uses the sun as a kicker light, while using the reflector to create a nice even fill.
I can’t tell if this is a senior shot or a Quinceañera, but it’s a beautiful shot. In and of itself, this is a strong shot but let’s dig into what we can do to make it better.