Light

Alright so we talked about action but how do we capture that and any other photograph really? Light. Photography means painting with light so if you don’t have it, you have to supplement it.

I’m gonna talk about portraiture because it’s one of my favorite kinds of photography and it’s really easy to learn how light affects your subject. Basically, light hitting the subject in the right place can create a magnificent photograph. Sounds easy right? Wrong.

It’s really easy to screw up a portrait without even realizing it until you look at them later. One thing I’ve learned in class is to pay attention to the height of the light and the catch light in the eyes. The catch light is just the little spot of light reflecting in the eyes and it can make or break an image. The image in the top right has no catch light. Granted, the photo is a little dark but my light source was not hitting the subject in a way that was adding any depth or noticeable contrast.

We naturally have a single light source, the sun so in a portrait you want to recreate that with your own light. This means the catch light needs to be in the upper half of the eye, more specifically, 10 and 2 like you would hold a steering wheel. The top left photo has a catch light in both eyes but it’s in the lower half of the eyes and it makes you question the photo a little. It looks weird because we don’t generally see light coming from a source below the subject, it’s also not very flattering for the subject.

The bottom photo has a catch light in both eyes and it’s in the top half of the eye. The face is turned towards the camera and the light is off to the left of the camera making for nice contrast in the face. I know this sounds all technical but paying attention to where the light hits your subject can make your cell phone shots pop!

I’ve always been the kind of person to want to share my knowledge of a subject with others and learn as much as I can. Photography has been my passion for 7 years now and I’m finally working towards making it a career! It’s exciting stuff when you think about it and since it’s my passion, I want to share it with everybody I meet. And, since you’re still here, I guess you want to hear what I have to say.

Natural light or single strobe lighting has so much potential to make a good image that you can’t totally discount it in photography. You’re not always going to be able to carry around lighting equipment and have time to set up your shot before everything changes.

I think everybody has the potential to be a great photography if you know what you’re trying to accomplish. Knowing how light effects your subject and the way your camera really see’s things is a great place to start.

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