The Importance of Light...and Some Seinfeld - Donna Marie

I just bought my first lighting equipment, and I was like a kid in the candy store! I can't tell you how awesome it is to have a portable light for any sessions I have - especially if they are inside! I’ve been just walking around the house in the dark to see what lights up and how! I was maybe even taking pictures outside my apartment on the walkway. I'm a bit of a dork like that...(Please see resulting image here)

But anyways, I was researching how to utilize my new amazing light source when I came across one video with a guy who said something along the lines of, "The wrong light can make a pretty girl look ugly...like that Seinfeld episode." So obviously, I had to stop what I was doing and track it down. Oh Seinfeld, your antics are classic!

Anyways, it made me think more about lighting and how important it is for any photographer to master. I mean, have you ever seen a picture and thought the coloring was weird? It's just plain distracting, unpleasant, or unflattering? And unfortunately, Photoshop has its limits. The art of photography is all about light. Finding that light is one of the most difficult parts of a photographer's job, but when you find the sweet spot - my goodness! The resulting pictures can be amazing.

I have done that Where’s Waldo search for a great pocket of light – mostly when it comes to shooting on location in a client’s home. Many times, people will switch on lights for you trying to help; however, light shining down from above is super unflattering on a person’s face. I would personally rather shoot in a darker room even though it may result in a grainier image than with light coming directly down on someone’s face. I did learn a few tips and tricks for better photos in this situation as well as others that may occur - just in case - such as:

- Stuck indoors with ceiling lights? Pose your client/model with their face tilted up towards the light.

- Using an on camera flash? Turn your flash to the side and bounce the light for a more flattering light on your model/client's face.

- Direct sunlight? Find shade, or, again, try and have your client/model tilt their face upwards.

- Too bright for the photographee's eyes (and yes, I totally just made up a word there)? Have them do a long blink, count to three, open those eyes, and *snap* *click* magic!

- Seems like there is no light indoors? Look for a sign, candle, TV glow or something and get creative for a great photograph.

So, when you book that next session and you are wondering why the photographer will only set your time near sunrise/sunset, why they make you blink only to have you look in the direction of a bright light, or wonder about certain lighting in their studio, just remember the two faced girl from that one Seinfeld episode. If they make sure the light is hitting you just right, then you will be so much happier with your resulting images!




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