The big softbox in the sky – or how to look for the light

Photography is all about light.

Let me say it again.

Photography is all about light.

Yes, the kids are important, the lilies are important, and yes the eagle soaring is important.  They are all important if you like taking pictures of them and having them in your photo is the goal of taking the photo in the first place.

However, all those things can improve if we think about the light every now and again.

Taking pictures of people we have the big advantage of being able to move them around – tell them where you want them to stand, sit, lie.  No waiting for the sun to strike the building in a more beautiful way  – just walk around with your client to a better spot.

When I first started out oftentimes I fell in love with certain locations – just had to use that particular place with the great background, the great bench to sit on, the great old car to stand by – the great bla, bla, bla.  All these things are wonderful, but if the light at that location is not favorable to the person in the picture, move on, or at least move around a little.

The image below was taking to show that sometimes the light on the subject is not as good as it could be.  Yes the background is not great, but that is another issue.  This picture was taken outside in the early afternoon and the sun was blazing.  Looking for a spot in the shade I took this the pictures standing under a tree.  Nothing wrong with it so far, however, I stood too far under the tree and my face did not get “good light” – flattering the subject.


This second image is a little better.  It has better light on the face.  Both images were taken the same day, same time, same tree – so what is the difference?

For the image below I took a step forward where the light was not blocked by the tree as much.  I did not want to come out from underneath the tree because that allows the open sky to be above me I wanted to face the open sky in front of me.


Next time you are outside looking for a good location, consider the light before you fall in love with a location 😉

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