When I first started learning the art of photography, one of the first things I read was how to "find the light." Now, I can't turn it off! Everything and every person I look at, I'm always observing the light and how it's falling one one's face or how it illuminates an object or how it makes my little boys' eyes look crystal blue or muddy dark blue. If the light is great outside, I'm in a happy mood. If it's not so great, I find myself a little grumpy.
Light is taking over my life! Okay, that may be an exaggeration but I thought I would share with all of you the how light affects a photograph.
The best outdoor light is light diffused by clouds. Oh, clouds, how I get overly excited when we have them because in Arizona they are sometimes non-existent. Since we don't have clouds, the use of buildings or trees, (oh ya, we don't have many of those either and cacti don't make for the best shade!) are a must in creating great light. My next skill I am determined to learn is the use of back lighting and possibly purchasing a reflector to bounce light back into my subjects eyes. I'm getting there!
I have a mini Valentine session next week and the mom wants a studio set up. Since I don't have a studio. I wanted to see what the light on my front porch was like because it's surrounded by three walls and is in the shade for 75% of the day.
I asked my three year old, Vaughn, if he would go outside with me and simply look at me. As soon as he saw my camera, he didn't want to just stand there, but instead he decided to make ridiculous(-ly adorable and hilarious) faces.
This took five minutes, and all I had Vaughn do was stand in front of each wall. My courtyard's opening faces north so he stood facing east, west and north closer to the wall under the porch and further in the middle of the courtyard with no covering. None of these images are digitally enhanced and are all straight off the camera (shot in Manual on Auto White Balance setting). Notice how the light creates different looks and essentially different moods.
Vaughn is facing east. The light is a little cool and almost evenly over his face.
Vaughn is facing west. Notice the light is not very flattering and the overall temperature of the picture is very "cool"
Vaughn is facing north close to the wall. This light makes the picture look warm and really makes his face stand out. Which with these faces, I'm not sure that's a good thing. Ha!
Lastly, Vaughn is still facing north but out in the middle of the courtyard with no ceiling over him. There are a lot more highlights on his face.
To become a better photographer with every shoot I do, I will continue to search high and low for that perfect light. Even if you're not a photographer, you, too, can start observing light and have your kids or subjects illuminated in different ways to create a better photograph. Have fun!