Capturing Good Light In Camera
Capturing good light in camera is such a vital part of photography. As a fine art photographer, I post process my images, and sometimes I will even manipulate or add light to them. But I cannot stress enough how important it is to capture good lighting in camera. The very definition of photography is writing with light.
I generally shoot using natural light without modifiers, so I’m always on the look out for beautiful lighting. Below, I have examples of some of my images shot in camera (SOOC) and explanations of the lighting used.
In this first image (above), I was shooting at sunset. To the left of the frame, sits a large garage. Beyond the garage the sun was setting. I had my daughter run out into the field ahead of her. As she passed just beyond the shade of the garage, the sun hit the top of her curly hair and created this natural glow. Timing was everything. Keep your eyes open and your camera ready for those moments when light creates its own focal point.
This image was shot the same evening as the first photo. Again, it was sunset, but here I was shooting into the sun, back lighting my subject. My settings were f/2.8 / 1/2500 / ISO 200, and the sun was hidden enough behind the horizon so as not to wash over my image in a hazy flare. (Polarizers can also help with this.) My subject’s hairline was naturally lit and the sun flare was captured in camera.
Another lighting technique to keep your eyes open for is a popular one, window light. For my set up, I had my daughter seated near a large floor length window. I set the bowl in front of her and two apples just beyond her reach, nearer the window. This way, as she reached toward the apples, her face would be lit by the soft light of the window.
This image was taken on a different evening from the first two images but was also taken during sunset. (Yes, I have a thing for sunsets and golden hour. I’m a photographer after all!) Anyway, the sky that evening was orange and cast a golden hue across the entire landscape. It was truly a sight to behold. As you can see from the SOOC, though I did enhance the glow in post, much of the orange hue was already there in camera.
This final image has me excited, mostly because no artificial modifiers were used. I say artificial because natural modifiers were used. The trees acted as my diffuser and the puddle below my subject became a natural reflector. This was shot under a canopy of trees at high noon. The spotlight (so to speak) on my subject was diffused by the leaves of the trees. The glow on my subject’s face was cast from the water below her, reflecting that light back onto her. Again, you can see that much of the light was already there SOOC and just enhanced in post.
So in conclusion, though I highly recommend adding light, color, and mood to your images in post; don’t neglect the value of capturing good light in camera. It will give you a vast well to draw from as you creatively enhance your images.
Sonya Adcock is a fine art photographer based in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. She specializes in artistic child photography. Sonya’s artwork has been featured in Photography Monthly Magazine, Bella Grace Magazine, and Redbook Magazine. In the hectic pace of a digital era, her artwork encourages you to slow down and remember the joys and magic of childhood.
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