Archive for 'Fun Photography Facts'

Before I learned photography, I was a point and shooter and just candid stuff.  I had no idea to look for the light and know what it means to understand light.  The golden hour (an hour before sunset) is prime shooting time for many reasons.  One, the sun is lower in the sky, bigger and softer.  Another reason is it does not cast harsh shadows on faces and subjects.  The color of the light also changes as the sun rises and then sets, and it is always better to get shots where the subject is not squinty.

It is my favorite time to shoot… see why?

I thought I would show a few pictures on some of the great differences you can create in your own images when you understand lighting.  I took an afternoon with my daughter and put her in some different lighting locations, and took some pictures.   Here are the results.    This Friday I am holding an Understanding Lighting/Creative Lighting class, and we will be mastering natural light, and learning to be creative with it.

I see pictures like this all the time, people think to take a great shot, you need to have your subject go and stand in the sun.  But  it is one of the worst types of lighting.  Notice how she is squinty can’t look at the camera and has deep pitted shadows in her eyes?  If you do have to shoot in the full sun, you want to turn your subject’s back to the sun, and so they are “backlit”.  This way, their face has a nice even amount of light on it, and their not so squinty.  Plus, I love how it creates a blown background.  This shot can be very difficult to achieve in auto, but in manual mode, you have total control over your camera, and you can control the lighting so that it’s an amazing shot.   In the shot below, I was in the same location, and we both just turned around so that the sun was behind her.  I also love the little circles of light through the trees, called bokeh.  It’s pretty cool in photography when you create bokeh.

The next two examples are showing why I love natural light so much and rarely, and I mean very very rarely use my flash.  The first shot is used with my flash.  Notice how she is evenly lit all over, but it does look a little flat.  There is also usually a dark shadow cast behind her, which isn’t as noticeable in this particular image.

However, when you turn the flash off, and use the soft light coming in from the window, we are in the exact same location, but now she has more dimension since she is “side lit” and there is more depth, which artistically just adds more interest.  I love how the natural light falls on her, and she looks much more like a portrait than like the snapshot-y look above.   We cover this and more in the Creative Lighting class.

Everyone is always wondering what to wear to their photo shoot, and while I have some ideas that I love, I have more guidelines of what not to wear!  I thought I would start with blondes.  I always encourage my clients to dress their fair headed children in bright or darker clothes.   When they already have fair skin and fair hair color, then if you dress them in light pink, white, light blue, or anything in the pastel range, they tend to wash out and are not as noticeable.  I prefer contrast on my subjects, and since their natural coloring is low contrast, then they would do well wearing darker and contrasting colors.     My girls are the perfect example, both have that very light blonde hair.  When my oldest was younger, we had our family pictures done, and she was wearing a darling light purple sweater.  I did not think it would be a problem at all.  When we got our pictures back, she looked way too light and washed out compared to everyone else.  Then in the black and white images, she almost disappeared because of the low, low contrast!  So here is how I have my little blondies dress for pictures now:   darker colors, brighter colors, and stay away from white!!