Senior Week: Light Wednesday

Educational

March 23, 2022

Light is Everything

To the average eye, there is light looks pretty similar–especially to someone who doesn’t dapple in photography. But, I am here to tell you that light. is. everything. It can make or break an image, and the time of day has a lot to do with it!

I always shoot during golden hours. That just means I shoot within the first two hours of sun rise and sunset. Can I shoot other hours of the day? Sure! It just get’s a little tricky! These golden hours are my favorite times to shoot and they give that awesome glow that fits my style of shooting. In fact, over the years I have perfected this glow to the point where people will even wake up before the sunrises to get that amazing light! Sunrise shoots can be a ton of fun! Just grab some Starbucks–you can do it! I actually have moved to a model of shooting seniors in the mornings for a few reasons: A. It’s cooler! B. It looks so clean with LESS people to work around (especially if we shoot in town) C. I have had better light and weather luck in the mornings–and LESS wind!

Bad Light vs Good Light

Harsh light is when light is hitting you directly and you are in no shade. Enter, squinty eyes and harsh “hot spots” in your images. Or, even worse, split lighting. Maybe half of the image is in the shade but the background is in the bright sun. This is pretty common, so a photographer has to make sure that there is soft and even light from head to toe, as well as soft and even light or diffused light in the background. Your eye naturally goes to the brightest spots in any image, and no one wants any attention to go anywhere but the subject! The best way to do this is to shoot in full or partial shade, and have diffused light or soft light in the background.

Backlighting

With every shoot, it is my goal to get at least one location that has epic “backlight”. Artists call this Rembrandt lighting. It is when the light is softly illuminating the hair in a photo. It is my all time favorite type of lighting. This can only be accomplished when a subject has the sun behind them, and it is unobstructed by any buildings or tall structures. Can this be possible with cloudy days? Unfortunately no, but there are some major perks of cloudy days!

 

Cloudy or Overcast Days

These can make very happy photographers! Overcast days allow photographers to bring their subjects to almost any location without a major fight of harsh light. The only tricky thing is that with these types of days, we don’t have you stand with your back to the sun (which is hidden behind the clouds), we actually turn you around and have you face the light coming from the sky. Because the sun is shining through the clouds, it is being dispersed and spread out and essentially creates a huge light box from above. Ever see those images where someone has dark circles under their eyes? My guess would be that they were facing the wrong way (back to the sun). Only hard part with cloudy days is that images can feel flat. A fun splash of color from an outfit can brighten up an image in this case!

 

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