July 22, 2019

Painting with Light | Photography Lighting

Painting with light is what I do every day.

Photography Lighting can be tricky, but Light is light. The definition of light is:  the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.  Light has direction, color, contrast, hardness and intensity.  It is what you do with those variables that creates a professional photograph.

There are so many things you can do with the five qualities of light.  It is almost like music–you have a scale, but it is the way you combine the different notes and how you play them that makes a song.  So why do some photographers only like to shoot in the Golden Hour?  Why limit yourself to just a small sliver of what is available when you want to tell a story or communicate something?  I get that soft light is beautiful and universally flattering and saleable. Sometimes that gets a tad bit boring, and everything starts to look the same.  Do you want to hear the same monotonous notes over and over?  It is actually a fun challenge to go out at different times of day and make cool images.  And as Portrait Photographers, when we tell people we will give them something unique, shouldn’t we do that with–Light?

Black and White Senior Portrait Saratoga NY

Not the typical Senior Portrait.  This image was created in the middle of the day with a definite direction of light and a hard definition between light and shadow. The contrast gives her dimensionality and I love it.  Plus the light was bouncing off of black glass like a mirror and lighting up her hair.

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This is about a 5:1 lighting ratio. I like the definitive shadow areas  on this.
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Middle of the day, don’t want to use strobe, but still want  a flat light and no harsh shadows? No problem.  Put the subjects in the the appropriate spot and expose for faces.
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Night shot with back light–yes, please.  But do not over use this technique!
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2:1 lighting ratio. Still flattering flat light, but has some dimension.
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This is late day/Golden Hour light–literally the hour before the sun set.
Open shade, but still preserving direction of light.
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Love this image from a lifestyle family portrait session. Open shade, and the blanket is acting like a reflector.
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This is actually the hour BEFORE the Golden Hour, which I love because you can still get good contrast.

I think you will agree that once you see how light can be manipulated, you will never be satisfied with just flat light.

Did you enjoy this post on Photography Lighting?  You might also enjoy this post on Seeing Light.

How do you dream of being photographed?  I would love to meet with you and discuss.  Give me a call at (518) 584-4237 today.