My husband and I are Durango CO Photographers who love to photograph weddings, family portraits, high school seniors, and boudoir.
Do you know the meaning of the word “Photography”? It means painting or drawing with light. Without light, a photograph cannot exist. Lighting is a key factor in creating a successful image. Lighting determines not only brightness and darkness, but also tone, mood and the atmosphere. Therefore it is necessary to control and manipulate light correctly in order to get the best texture, vibrancy of color, and luminosity on your subjects.
When photographing people, you want their faces to be the brightest part of the photograph so that your eye goes to them first. If the background is overly bright and the faces of the people are dark, your eye will be drawn to the background. You can use artificial light, as in a flash, or you can use natural light.
I find natural light much harder to work with because you’re dependent on the weather, the position of the sun, where you want the background, and of course many wedding receptions are at night. I almost always work with a flash attached to a stand with a large umbrella. This creates soft lighting on people’s faces and I can adjust my camera settings so the background is not overly bright.
When I was studying photography, I was a bit surprised that math came into play. When using light, you have to use the “inverse square law”. This means that the strength of the light is inversely proportional to how far the subject is moved away from the light source. So if the light is close to the subject, they will be brighter, and if the light is moved further away, the subject will be darker. Determining the distance the light should be from the subject(s) is imperative to making great portraits.
I love the catch lights in the eyes when I use an umbrella. The eyes are the window to the soul, and without light, they look rather bland.
Where the light is located is also important. I usually place the umbrella with the flash at about a 45 degree angle from the subject(s). If I’m doing a large group portrait, I’ll have my husband aim the umbrella at the furthest people so that everyone is lit evenly. These things take a lot of practice. Sometimes I like to have him hold the flash behind a wedding couple to create a silhouette, so there are artistic things you can also do with light. And every once in a while, I’ll have him hold the umbrella directly over my head for various reasons.
When I was taking photos of this high school senior girl, my flash didn’t go off for one of the pictures. That sometimes happens because it takes a couple of seconds for the flash to recycle and I took one of these too fast. This illustrates the difference between a photo taken in “natural light”, and one where a flash is used. I like having full control of the light when I’m photographing people. Can you see the difference?
If you need a photographer for a wedding, family portrait, high school senior, or boudoir, get in touch with me for more information.
Karen Skelly Photography
Durango CO Photographers