PhotographybyAbi

28 Oct 2007 1,843 views
 
supporter of
atom rss 1.0 rss 2.0
web browser google del.icio.us digg technorati
| lost password
birth date
cancel
photoblog image Learning to see the light

Learning to see the light

 

Friday June 2, 2006 by Joe Buissink

So, let’s take a look at an area I feel photographers need to spend a little more time understanding. How about talking about lighting and exposure?

You have to learn to see the light and understand how your camera responds to light. I still believe your images will have more impact shooting it the way you saw it, instead of shooting in RAW and fixing it in post on the computer.

I won’t deny that I’m obsessed with light – even as I was walking around in the airport a few minutes ago, I found myself looking for interesting images – all created from overhead light, window light even the reflection off the floor. Your senses in an airport environment are bombarded with fluorescent, incandescent and natural light. I may not have had my camera in hand, but I shot “neuro-chromes” in my head and could even imagine the click of the shutter. And, it was all about looking at the way the light hit the subjects.

When I’m working with available light and all I’ve got is an overhead fixture, on a bride for example, I’ll use a reflector. It doesn’t mean you have to walk around with a bunch of equipment. I’ve even used a pillow to pop some light back into the bride’s face.

Looking for ways to “make” your own reflectors? I’ve used drapes, sheets, comforters, pillows, and even my black jacket (for subtractive lighting). If I’m stuck with only overhead light, I want to put some light back into the bride’s face and get rid of the shadows under her eyes.

I’ve even used the drapes in a room and had my assistant pull the material behind the bride and bring it in on her other side. The light is coming in on her opposite side from the window, hits the curtain and reflects back into her face. Using a shallow depth of field and focusing on the bride’s eyes I’ll never see the drapery behind her, but I will have the impact of beautiful soft wrap around light.

I wasn’t in the program at WPPI, but I heard that Bambi Cantrell, in the Champagne Shoot Out, took a 4×8 foot foam core Pictage sign off the wall and use the back side to pop light back into her subjects. It’s improvisation at it’s best!

I know my gear well enough to know exactly what it’s going to do in every lighting situation, but I’m not really against “chimping”. I just don’t agree with photographers using it to the extent where the moments are missed on the day of the wedding.

So, here’s an exercise, take your camera and get a couple of friends or hire a couple of models for the day. Go to some place typical of lousy lighting, like a shopping mall and chimp away on every shot. Use your digital camera as a teaching tool and simply practice “seeing the light”. Take along a pillow case or a bed sheet to improvise and get used to working under the stress of not having the exact tools on your wish list with you at all times. Vary the exposures. Photograph using different meter settings. Get to know your equipment better than the manufacturer did who built it!

And remember too – in our quest for photojournalistic images, there are some times when it makes sense to simply move your subject into a little better light! Now I know that’s heresy to even suggest, but you’ve also got a responsibility to create the very best images possible. If moving my subject a few feet is going to create a more powerful photograph then why wouldn’t you want to make the change?

 

Learning to see the light

 

Friday June 2, 2006 by Joe Buissink

So, let’s take a look at an area I feel photographers need to spend a little more time understanding. How about talking about lighting and exposure?

You have to learn to see the light and understand how your camera responds to light. I still believe your images will have more impact shooting it the way you saw it, instead of shooting in RAW and fixing it in post on the computer.

I won’t deny that I’m obsessed with light – even as I was walking around in the airport a few minutes ago, I found myself looking for interesting images – all created from overhead light, window light even the reflection off the floor. Your senses in an airport environment are bombarded with fluorescent, incandescent and natural light. I may not have had my camera in hand, but I shot “neuro-chromes” in my head and could even imagine the click of the shutter. And, it was all about looking at the way the light hit the subjects.

When I’m working with available light and all I’ve got is an overhead fixture, on a bride for example, I’ll use a reflector. It doesn’t mean you have to walk around with a bunch of equipment. I’ve even used a pillow to pop some light back into the bride’s face.

Looking for ways to “make” your own reflectors? I’ve used drapes, sheets, comforters, pillows, and even my black jacket (for subtractive lighting). If I’m stuck with only overhead light, I want to put some light back into the bride’s face and get rid of the shadows under her eyes.

I’ve even used the drapes in a room and had my assistant pull the material behind the bride and bring it in on her other side. The light is coming in on her opposite side from the window, hits the curtain and reflects back into her face. Using a shallow depth of field and focusing on the bride’s eyes I’ll never see the drapery behind her, but I will have the impact of beautiful soft wrap around light.

I wasn’t in the program at WPPI, but I heard that Bambi Cantrell, in the Champagne Shoot Out, took a 4×8 foot foam core Pictage sign off the wall and use the back side to pop light back into her subjects. It’s improvisation at it’s best!

I know my gear well enough to know exactly what it’s going to do in every lighting situation, but I’m not really against “chimping”. I just don’t agree with photographers using it to the extent where the moments are missed on the day of the wedding.

So, here’s an exercise, take your camera and get a couple of friends or hire a couple of models for the day. Go to some place typical of lousy lighting, like a shopping mall and chimp away on every shot. Use your digital camera as a teaching tool and simply practice “seeing the light”. Take along a pillow case or a bed sheet to improvise and get used to working under the stress of not having the exact tools on your wish list with you at all times. Vary the exposures. Photograph using different meter settings. Get to know your equipment better than the manufacturer did who built it!

And remember too – in our quest for photojournalistic images, there are some times when it makes sense to simply move your subject into a little better light! Now I know that’s heresy to even suggest, but you’ve also got a responsibility to create the very best images possible. If moving my subject a few feet is going to create a more powerful photograph then why wouldn’t you want to make the change?

 

comments (5)

  • Helen
  • United States
  • 28 Oct 2007, 06:25
I like the way the light seems to be shining through her dress!
i could tell this was your shot just by looking at the thumbnail

i love the way you do the backlighting thingy

it really really rocks!

adding you to buddies, someday i may go thru your entire collection one by one
The best way to get the hang of light, I think, is to shoot some film!

Shooting in raw makes everyone lazy - me included!

I've only done two weddings and speaking from these experiences, I think that people who show a perfect set of images and say they shot it as it happened, ie. in true journalist fashion are either geniuses or they are not quite telling the truth. You have to manipulate situations to some extent to get the best of what's available.

You've metered the light for this shot well and the bride is just gorgeous, her dress simply beautiful. My only gripe is that I wouldn't want to see 'fire exit' and the fire extinguisher in the image and personally couldn't have resisted a selective crop of your shot but in journalistic style, you shot it has it was happening.
Photography by Abi: I agree with 100% shooting digital fullstop makes you lazy and makes you rely more on the lcd screen more than the Physical knowledge of what you know about lighting and photography.

The only Advantage I still see that digital has over film is just the convenience.
  • sk
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 Oct 2007, 11:21
damn Abi, this is a really good shot. well executed
Thanks for sharing the Joe Buissink article. Nice shot.
camera Canon EOS 5D
exposure mode full manual
shutterspeed 1/125s
aperture f/2.8
sensitivity ISO500
focal length 24.0mm
Bye & Thank u ShutterchanceBye & Thank u Sh...
Shadow to LightShadow to Light
The Golden Age...The Golden Age...

Warning