Quick Photo Tip: Light, A Little Dab Will Do Ya

I love the light, plain and simple, and I’m a firm believer in one of my favorite phrases, “You find the light and you’ll find the shot”. I’ve been following this self-appointed rule for as long as I can remember and it has served me well.

One of my favorite ways to shoot is to find a little dab of sunlight somewhere, usually hidden between larger areas of shadow and or color, and place or see an object or subject in it. When I expose for only the area in light, I can make the shadow area ever more dramatic and interesting…and colorful.

In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind”workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m always telling my fellow photographers that one of the best ways to take their photography what I refer to as “up a notch”, is to “see past first impressions”. I usually follow this with a quote by Henry David Thoreau who once said, “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see”.

What I mean in this context is when you find yourself at some location, look for areas that have a small amount of light hitting somewhere. This is easier to find when the light is dappled, but harder to find when the majority of the scene is in shadow. When you see it, think of ways to utilize it. I can promise you there’s a chance to walk away with one of those illusive “Keepers” we all strive for but sometimes have a hard time creating.

There are people out there that think this is not a good idea and will tell you that you need more light to take good photos. All I can tell you is to run away as fast as you can because they will only beat you up with bad advice and drag you down to their level.

In the above photo taken during my Springtime in Berlin workshop, I was walking down the street and saw a crowd of people standing in line. I’m always attracted to this becauseof the possibility that something going on.

What the people were doing is waiting for this restaurant to open, so I walked up to the front to see what it looked like. I’m really curious about everything, especially when I have a camera in my hand…which is most of the time.

There, right in front of my eyes was this chair being lit by the sun coming through a small hole in the red fabric. Needless to say, I was all over it like a tight fitting Lassie costume.!!!

“I just wanted to thank you for another wonderful class. I have to confess that each week when I read the new assignment, my first reaction was mild panic and a deep certainty that I would not be able to produce anything worthwhile that fit within the parameters you had set. But before I knew it, the ideas started to flow, and I quickly became obsessed (no, that isn’t too strong a word!) with exploring the possibilities. I can honestly say that the photos I produced in response to your assignments are among my favorites. Thanks for bringing out a creative side I didn’t know I had!”

Barbara Geiger
Understanding Color

“Thank you so very much for this course! It’s allowed me to take the blinders off and present my images for what I want them to be without being a slave to the “reality” of the camera. I would also add that in conjunction with your printing course, this has been the most useful course I’ve ever taken. Your notes are more than comprehensive and your comments and critiques are direct, clear, and always directed to the improvement of the art.”

After the click

” I want to thank you for this class and for your patience and availability to answer all of my questions. I have learned very much through this class. I have used LR in the past, but mostly for editing images. I now have a better grasp in the organization of my images, an even better understanding of editing images, and an understanding of the value of presets. I still have a lot to learn, but this has put me on the road to be able to improve my photography. Again, thank you! ”

Dale Yates
Lightroom Quickstart

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