Whether the story is very apparent visually or more subtle, I want to understand it so I am then able to start designing a lighting plan to represent that story. Should the lighting be soft or natural to reflect the subject’s personality? By starting with their stories, I am inspired to visually tell a story with light.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I recently picked up a new set of V-Flats for the studio from the aptly named V-Flat World. V-Flats, a studio staple, are typically comprised of a pair of two 4x8 sheets of foam core—black on one side, white on the other—taped together along their long end to create a book-style configuration of panels that can be opened (hence the V in V-Flat) or closed.
Using strobe in the studio and on location is now second nature for me, and it can be for you too. I think you’ll find once you understand strobe it opens up a whole new world of exciting creative possibilities. Here are the 10 things I wish I knew before I started using strobe.
Off-camera flash can be an intimidating thing to try to master. Where do you put the flash? What power should it be on? When do you need more than a simple Speedlite? What about modifiers? Where do you even start? Here are five tips to help you out!