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How to Light - Lightenupandshoot
How to light images in Lightenupandshoot Style:
When I first got into photography several years ago, I dove right into lighting everything with off-camera flash before really understanding how to manipulate natural light. Natural light seemed flat and boring; after training my eye I have learned to find amazing light that is happening all around us. I hope this post gives you a bit of inspiration to get out and try to approach lighting from a different perspective. I few tips that might generate a bit of inspiration...READ MORE ***
Natural Light (sun blazing through the wooden walls of the fisherman's house):
When I saw Eddie Van Halen with his finger tapping technique on MTV videos, I knew right away I wanted to be a guitar player. The first thing I learned how to play was Eruption. I was finger tapping god for years before I could actually play a song from A-Z. Photography is the same way.
I got into photography because I wanted to learn how to light and control the ambient. Actually I wanted to kill the ambient and light my subjects. It's a huge "WOW" the first time you pull it off. Today I'm what I like to call a light chaser.
One of those "WOW" shots where the background is under-exposed 2-3 stops and the subject is lit:
Light Chaser - someone who is in constant search for light occurring natually. There are various qualities of light that I search for: specularity, color, soft/hard, and extreme contrast. The one thing that is constant in photography: there is always ambient light.
Natural light (inside the house). You can see the sunset blazing through. There was a small fire inside the house creating smoke which enhanced the light blazing through the walls. My old instinct would have told me to light this with a softbox. I merely metered for the face and pulled the trigger. First shot out of the gate was my keeper. I knew I had a winner. Imagine if I had wasted all that valuable sunset time screwing around with a light...
Training your eye takes time. I challenge you to try light chasing. Any time of the day. Look for it: manipulate it if you need to. Shoot, shoot, shoot!
I'm not saying don't use strobes and flashes; I'm saying take the time to look for natural light because it's beautiful (and free). I prefer to start with natural light during all my sessions; it brings you closer to your subject because there is less to think about, which gives you more time to banter with your subject. Here I am grabbing a shot with kids that live on a house built over the water in Tasajera, Colombia (middle of no-where). I'm a little too white! Natural light would have been much better.
Here's a lit shot (not that interesting in my opinion). I really wanted to see the sunset. She started to cry, so I only pulled off a couple of quick images. I think all the lights scared her. It was weird enough that some foreigner pulls up with a bunch of gear and starts shooting.
The opposite of the shot above is the one of her father taken moments later (natural light):
Note: You can't control the ambient background because you need to have proper exposure of the skin. But, what a wonderfully lit image and no fuss with the light. Imagine if I had added a bit of fill or just merely enhanced this image. Think about the ambient as your main and the strobe/flash as a kiss of light here or there. The natural light quality always is superior in quality in my opinion. Use it, become a light chaser.