Finding the Light

“Amateurs worry about equipment. Professionals worry about time. Masters worry about light.” – Anonymous

Photography is all about light. Finding the right light is the most important element in any photograph. How can you better find the right light for your pictures?

In our work, we only use natural light. (Natural light is defined as the light that comes from the sun.) Natural light brings out the very best in our subjects, making skin glow and eyes sparkle and capturing nuances of light and shadow that can not be duplicated with harsh studio lights. The results: beautiful, flattering images with true colors, intriguing textures… and happy and healthy-looking people! In fact, we oftentimes get quizzical looks when we ask a parent to turn off an overhead light in the room during a shoot. It is an amazing natural resource and it is the best light a photographer can use.

So, if natural light is available to you, use it! If you’re inside, open the blinds and face the window. Or create a different look by having the light shine onto one side of your subject’s face. However, try not to have the window behind your subject, or your subject’s face will be dark and the window behind him/her will be very bright.

If you’re outside and it’s sunny, try to photograph your subjects in the shade (direct sunlight is not great for pictures – either your subjects are squinting because they’re facing the sun or your subjects are dark because they’re not.) Cloudy days also make great pictures.

But, many times, natural light is not available to you. Either it’s dark outside or there is not enough natural light for the picture you’re trying to take. So, you’ll need a flash. The biggest piece of advice we can provide is to NEVER use the flash that is built into your camera. NEVER. Yes, it will provide lots of light, but it’s much too direct light and it produces those really dark, deep shadows. The key is to purchase a bounce flash. A bounce flash is a detachable flash that attaches to the top of your camera. The light it provides will be much softer because it bounces off a ceiling or wall and will significantly help with the shadows. It certainly makes the camera bigger and bulkier, but I would highly recommend it. Here’s an idea of what we’re talking about: Bounce Flash. This may not be the right flash for you — in fact, you can probably get a less expensive one that will work just fine. But this kind of flash will improve your pictures immensely.

As always, Pollack Photography is Focused on You

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