How do you light a wedding photography conference that makes everyone look cool, in a space you’ve never been in, with 20 minutes to set up? It all hangs on taking time to understand the space you’re shooting in, and bringing the right gear.
Very often the lighting is the tricky part of a photograph like this, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes – as in here – the tricky bit is finding the composition. Where to take the shot, and how to frame it up. All the more so when there’s a storm brewing. And the solution to a good frame can be an unexpected one.
This is very simple unposed shot, with no light added by me. The light is all what was already present in the scene. The challenge, therefore, is not how much light to use, or where to place it. In this case the required skill is to make the most of the light present, assessing it and putting it to good use.
So you have a flash, you know how to use it (at least in a basic sense), and you know what it does. But what about the question of when to use it. What are the things that should inform your decision to add light to a photograph? In the first of two posts on this topic, today we’ll focus on adding light to solve problems.
They say that practice makes perfect, and that’s certainly true when it comes to learning how to shoot creatively and effectively in low light situations. The reality, though, is that you’re not always going to easily find yourself in a situation where you have a suitable location, a willing subject, and sufficient time – save, perhaps, organising practice shoots with friends or family where you can push the limits of what you think you know. However those times where you’re not shooting need not be times where you’re not learning how to deal with low light or indeed bad light.
There is a real benefit to learning to see light beyond the occasional possibility of making an award-winning or portfolio image, because let’s face it, even for the best of us such images are just a small percentage of the images we create day to day. No, even for those day-to-day photos, learning to see light is a worthwhile thing to do. Whenever we raise our camera to our eye, there is literally an infinite number of possible images we could create. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by those possibilities. Letting light drive what shot you take, while sounding hard, actually makes things much easier.