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.