Monday, November 1, 2010

Photography Tips: Shoot The Light

Last week at the camera club that I partake in we had a wonderful guest speaker, Aura McKay who shared some great photos and ideas on photography. She has several websites, so I'm not going to link to them, but a Google search will point to them. She is a professional wedding and portrait photographer in Vancouver and a photography teacher at a Vancouver Photo Workshops. The theme of the evening was shooting the light, getting back to the most important element of photography, which by the way means light capturing.

Light and Shadows

If we keep the idea that our purpose as photographers is not just to record events, but also to capture light we can expand our horizons and break out of how we think we should shoot. Sometimes we get so locked in on our subjects that we forget about light, which is what draws our eyes in to a subject in the first place. Today's sample photo may not be the most exciting subject, but I love the light in the image. The light feels so soft and yet it is bright enough to create some dark shadows against the wall.

Thinking about the effects of light on our subjects can transform how we photograph what we see. It is easy to take snap shots, but to get the best photographs that we can will take some work, and most importantly thought. This second photo is one that I took simply because I thought that the light on the subject matter was interesting. That is one of the other aspects of photography that Aura McKay talked about, capturing what catches your eye because the light will never be the same again. Think about it, you might see similar light, but never again will that same quality of light exist on that subject so shoot it. If you have time and light holds work with it to make a better image, but sometimes one shot is better than none at all!


So next time you go out to shoot, think about light, what is the light doing and how does that effect what you want to photograph. If you are having a hard time breaking out of your comfort zone as a photographer just go out for a walk and photograph things that the light makes interesting to your eye, you might be surprised by what you come home with.