Thursday, May 12

The Direction of Light | Photo Tip Thursday


Photography, literally translated from the Greek means "light drawing". What is an image but how and where our eyes perceive the light? Why don't most of us like the flash on a point and shoot camera? Because it creates a flat image by throwing the light straight onto the front of the subject.

Always be aware of what direction the light is coming from! When I was photographing kids sports portraits during college, Mr Jacob always told us "Put that sun right over the subjects shoulder!"

I don't ever photograph at noon because the sun is right above us. Try it. Go out at noon and take a few photos of people without a flash. The sun straight above causes not-so-flattering shadows under the eyes, under the chin... it's a mistake I made once and never again. (If you have shade from huge trees, it could work!) We call sunrise and sunset the golden hour because those are, in my opinion, the best times to manipulate the light to our favor!

If I don't have to, I don't use a flash. I pulled a few photos from different shoots and let's take the time to notice from what direction the light is coming from:

(from behind)

(from the side, the window)
Just by asking Laura to turn her head towards the window, I was able to take this with no flash at all, just my iphone and a beautiful giggly girl!

(over Esme's right shoulder!)
Once again, no flash. My aperture is open to around a f/2.8

(see the sun over it's left shoulder? hehe)
My aperture is closed here to a f/5. Maybe smaller! That's a sprinkler in the front.

(over MY right shoulder and diffused/spotty because of a huge oak tree also behind me)

I wanted to leave these three image for last to show you something really cool! So this is a castle-- a real one!-- in the heart of New Braunfels. The ballroom is incredible, isn't it?
It has a lot going for it.

First of all, there's lots of shiny/light surfaces for the light to bounce around!
There's a light-colored ceiling from which you can bounce your flash straight off of! If you point your hot-shoe mounted flash straight up, light will hit that ceiling then bounce all around creating a diffused look you'll see below

Wowee look at that wall of windows!

This shot ^^ was an accident! The more I am in the field of arts, the more I am so thankful for *accidents. My flash never popped and I would have deleted it, but it's now one of my favorites. I was shooting with a 28mm 2.8.

The light here is not only behind but I had my flash on, bouncing it off the side wall. Can you just barely tell from which wall I bounced the flash off?

Also notice how the windows are blurred out of focus, so different from the shot above where everything is in focus? This one is shot with a 50 mm 1.4 lens and the aperture is wide open, like 1.8 to allow the maximum light in and the shallowest depth of field. We'll get into depth of field soon too.

Hope this helped a little?
Have a great Thursday!



Jaime Z said...

I like Photo Tip Thursdays, thanks Carli. Don't be afraid to dumb-it-down for us beginners : )

joana_mty said...

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing!!