A blog about when light goes bad. Or just goes.

Photographers are obsessed with light.  Not just light – good light, beautiful light, seeing the light, finding the light.  And light, when it’s good, really is, well, a delight.  But the harsh reality, especially for wedding photographers, and most especially for wedding photographers in Ireland in winter, is that good light can be a rarity.  Some days, any light can be a rarity.  And while, as photographers we’re taught to take quality over quantity any day when it comes to light, just what do you do when there’s neither quality nor quantity of light?

This blog explores how I deal with no light, low light, bad light, and bad low light. A lot of what you’ll see here is light created by me, but it won’t all be. Every now and then we’ll remind ourselves that the world can be kind to us and gift us good and plentiful light, leaving us to just use it to our best advantage. So there will be shots here which are entirely lit by nature. And there’ll be shots that are entirely lit by me (using small flashes, usually).  The vast majority of shots here will actually be a bit of both.

Join me as I break down those shots, and explain what I lit, what I didn’t light (often more important), how I lit and why I lit as I did. There’ll be good shots and not so good shots. Things won’t always work out and the stars won’t always align.  That’s another reality for a wedding photographer: near misses, and there’ll be those for sure. But stick with me, and whatever about the photos, I promise you’ll learn a bag of tricks to give you the best chance of overcoming non-ideal light and capturing A Shot In The Dark.

A new post every week.

Rather that back-fill the blog with lots of content that you have to go and discover, I am starting with a blank slate, and a plan to stick to a regular once-a-week schedule of new posts, in a way that paces things both for me and for you.  So that’s where I start.  Where do I finish?  Well, I have a rough destination in mind – to equip the reader with the skills to not freak out about light – but the path from here to there will evolve as I post, and indeed as I myself expand my skills. For sure I have an archive of images that I plan to use to make my way along that path, but as much as possible I will try to post new images from ongoing work also.

Simple format. Lots of info. No secrets.

Each post will focus on just a single image, but there will be plenty of behind the scenes details such as lighting diagrams, test shots, camera and flash settings, and even out-takes and mistakes.  There are no secrets, and I’m not one for holding back how I did something for fear someone else might do it better.  I learnt all I know about photography from fellow photographers who were kind enough to share, and most of them are still better than me.  And if I’ve outshone one or two of them on occasion it’s been a combination of luck, skill and hard work on my part, rather than me simply copying what someone else has done.  So please, do go and try these things at home. Or on a job. And if you nail it, we’ll all be happy.

Next: How to talk about light



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