Photographic Lighting

Lighting is such an interesting topic. Without light, there is no photography. Yet this is one area that modern photography seems to have forgotten. If you want to improve your photography, start with lighting.

I remember when I first started out as a professional photographer in the days of film, yes I am that old, I used on camera flash to expose everything. It was a Metz 45 which was a very cool flash in it’s day, but it was still full on flash. Now I am talking about 1993 so it was a long time ago. Funny thing is, a couple have given me a disc of images taken at a wedding that they asked if I could fix. Images were exactly how I had photographed in the early years, full on camera flash, leading to flat images.

Fast track to the birth of digital photography, suddenly there was this thing about available light, so we took everything with available light, with some terrible consequences. I was watching a talk the other day by a pro photographer call Kevin Katoba who put it as well as I have heard. Lighting is actually not about light, it is about shadows. Once you think about that it all makes sense. Shadows provides the  three dimensional look that often separates a good professional and amateur photographer from someone that is just framing and pressing the go button and allowing these awesome modern cameras to do all the work.

The second comment that Mr Katoba said was that you use natural light if it is there, and if it is not, you create it. I could not put that better and came across a prime situation on Saturday at a wedding. I was photographing the groom in his parents house. There was artwork on the wall that had there own lighting. I had the groom next to the window but the light was not strong enough to balance with the art light.

So this image is what we were getting on the test images. I could have turned off the lighting on the art work, but the light across the face is very flat. The solution is to put a fill flash to the left, actually on the veranda on the other side of the glass doors. The flash is off camera, with a flash-bender in the shape of a snoot. This gives a very directional light source and produces a much more punchy image. If interested in flash-bender, Google it or go and talk to Camera House in the Domain.

Both of these images are straight out of camera and I guess the point here is that the second image in not reproducible through Photoshop. Bottom line, if you are interested in Photography, learn about lighting and how to use light. So simple yet such a difference in the quality of the image produced.

Any questions about how we did this message me or give me a call.

Thanks