I can think of no more important topic to discuss when it comes to photography than light. Without it, there would be no photography.
With light, comes shadow
To get the exposure you need, you need the right amount of light, this is true, but that is only the beginning. Light defines everything in our frames, and learning how to best use it will always be of value.
Observing light is the best way to start. Study the light in each room of your home at different times of the day. Take note of how it falls on countertops, how it’s diffused by window blinds, when it gets soft, and when it’s more harsh. Watch how it makes the bathtub glow or totally illuminates the nursery when the curtains go up.
Don’t forget, however, that light is what is also used to create shadow. Illuminating an object with light can give it depth, but only where shadow (even a subtle one) comes into play. As you learn to see, use, and even control the light in your everyday environment, you will begin to notice how every nuance of light can be used in your photography to enhance your images.
When shooting pictures of people—your children or otherwise—the catchlights (the lights that provide the twinkle in the eyes) are almost always what you’re after. It’s the light that brings your subject to life!
Learn to observe light
If you want to really learn about light, pay attention to people’s faces and how the light illuminates them (specifically in the eyes and under the eyes). Observe when faces are lit well and when they’re not, and notice how subtle movement of your subject in relation to the light can make all the difference.
You are a sculptor; use light
Consider yourself a sculptor, with light being your tool. Take some time to really watch how the light can not only illuminate, but also shape and sculpt your subject. There are a million ways to light up your life, and there’s no reason why you can’t try to find them all.
In Elevate the Everyday, Tracey Clark shows how each day of our lives is full of potential for great photography. Focusing on the moments that are most precious to us, she offers a host of inspirational ideas enabling the reader’s photographic achievements to grow, turning the incidents in a family’s life – arrivals, departures, childhood, and parties – into beautiful, captivating images that will stand the test of time. Most of all, learn to turn the ordinary and everyday into the extraordinary with this unique guide to picturing motherhood.
Elevate the Everyday
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RRP for print edition: £17.99