The Right Light

May 08, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Heard some discussion recently about showing people in "The Right Light."

There's as many ways to light a subject as there are people with cameras. Some are good, and some - not so much. I hope that the real photographers among us use the light in much the same way that a sculptor uses a hammer and chisel. Seeing as how photography is capturing a three dimensional scene and representing it in a two dimensional frame, a good photographer will use that light to give his subject definition and shape, to show the gentle line down the cheek to the chin, the texture of hair, and the beauty of shoulders and various other that make us what we are.

God created us as sculptures, at least in my opinion. Our own work of art that is uniquely us. Gotta say capturing this is what drives me in my portraiture. Yes I have to accommodate client requests, which I am more than happy to do, but given the chance to create on my own you'll see me turn to a simple background, with dramatic lighting meant to enhance and sculpt.

I have invested a considerable amount in lighting gear to this end, but there are times when you have to throw all that out and use what you have. I need to practice this more. There are several photographers around who's work I admire who simply manipulate the natural light around us to achieve the same goal. There's definitely so much more than just having someone lean against a tree or fence and praying that it turns out right.

One might ask how photographers learned to do what they do. I'll let you in on a secret. We look at a LOT of other photographer's work. We see something interesting and then try to figure out how it was done. We try to copy it. We try to twist it and make it 'our own'. We experiment with that twist. We also get our own photos critiqued by those we respect. If you look through my Facebook page, you'll see comments from a nationally-known photojournalist (who first mentored me when I was 16), and a respected art photographer, as well as several local shooters who I have great respect for. Oh and we might take a class or two.

In my humble opinion, at least, 'The Right Light' is as much something that you feel as it is something you see. You don't know exactly where it is, but you know when you're there. That was a lot of help, wasn't it? LOL....


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