Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light and you will know the key to photography – George Eastman
When I first started photography, I was scared of artificial lighting. I didn’t understand it, so I avoided it. It was always easier just to put my subjects in the shade and call myself a “natural light shooter”. Ah, the lies we tell ourselves. Eventually, I learned how to use artificial light and light modifiers, and it opened up a whole new world. No longer was I dependent on the time of day or weather. Supplementing natural light grants me freedom on when and where I can shoot.
Good lighting is key to making your images dynamic. This means avoiding the on-camera flash which typically blasts your scene, lighting up every nook and cranny like it’s high noon. The location of this image was already dramatically lit, all that was needed was to illuminate the couple. Without additional lighting they would have been underexposed and lifeless; with an on camera flash the drama of the scene would have been washed out. So, I set up a directional Profoto head using a strip soft box with a grid that illuminated the couple with very little spill and shot the scene at 1/15th of a second on a tripod to bring in the dimmer ambient lights of the environment.
Don’t be afraid to get out and play with a strobe or a reflector. Take shots both with them, and without; direct the light in from different angles and see how the light and shadows interact to create more drama and zing. Is the image more interesting when backlit? Try it! Maybe the side works better for your shot. Pay just as much attention to where the shadows fall as to what the light illuminates, that is where the drama lies.
Did you catch Trey Ratcliff’s last Variety Hour? He battled beautiful fireworks, yet still put on a wonderful show about the Great Aussie Photowalk. Watch it here and check out all of the beautiful photos on G+ by searching the hashtag #TheWalkDownUnder
Don’t miss a chance to watch or listen to your favorite photographers – download the TWiT Photo podcast on iTunes for free :)