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Utilizing the light in your photography

Working with your surrounding

Photography is an expensive hobby to pick up. Cameras alone cause a few hundred bucks while the lens can reach the thousands. When people finally get over this financial hurdle through their purchase or second-hand purchase they get a sigh of relief. But then we realize, as photographers, to hone our skills and adapt to any situation we need to buy certain equipment to get the pictures that we want. Well, I want to remind people that breaking the wallet isn’t the necessary step in being a better photographer! I will be blogging about multiple tricks and tips to help you get the photos you want without destroying the wallet. This post will be focused on using your surroundings to work with the light.

Most of my engagements happen during the day or outdoors. I find myself working around the sun a lot and sometimes it’s not always in my favor. Whenever I explain the effects of harsh light to my clients I like them to imagine their subject being like a sundial. We can see that depending on where we are, we get blots of shadows or full shadows. Other times we can get a background that is too lit compared to the subject or vice versa. This can be very hard to work with at times and editing on the computer can only do so much. I will be going over on how you can deal with harsh lighting by using your surroundings!

First, it is always important to check your surroundings to see what objects can reflect the light. Light will be affected by all the colors of the color spectrum. The light will be absorbed by black while bouncing off of the white. So if your light is harsh behind your subject I recommend to put them near a white wall and angle them so that light bounces off the wall and onto their face, minimizing the difference in brightness between the subject and the background. If you’re working outside on the grass, be aware of how the light will bounce off the grass towards your subject’s face.

Another way to work with harsh lighting is to check for things that can diffuse the light itself. Diffusing is the process of converting the harsh light into soft light. Soft light is the type of light that provides an even spread of the light distribution. As a result, we see fewer shadows on our subjects. Using clouds is a good way to get soft light. We can align our subject where the cloud covers the sun to get soft light. This will reduce the amount of shadow. If it’s not a cloudy day, you can also look for trees to diffuse the light. Depending on what types of trees you use, you’ll get different levels of light. I like to use a medium-sized tree because if it’s too big, the shadow will be overbearing, while a small tree won’t be able to diffuse much.

It’s very important that as a photographer to gauge your surroundings because little do you know, you could be near the best tools to help you tackle that harsh light. There are many ways of getting amazing photos without breaking the bank. We just need to be creative. If you have any questions leave a comment! Thank you for listening to my tips on working with your surroundings.

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