A Resolution and Revelation on Lighting

January 19, 2013 No Comments

Eat healthier. Exercise more. Loose weight. Start doing this or stop doing that. I thought through all the typical New Year’s resolutions this year and, while I’ve committed to some of the standards, I also chose a more specific and obscure resolution: This is the year that I learn more about lighting.

As an outdoor photographer, I’m used to working with natural light – golden hours, soft light, avoiding high noon on a sunny day – but often shy away from trying to manipulate light myself. Controlled lighting for still life photography has just not been my thing. I love the outcome, but rarely employ the techniques.

Until 2013.

A Resolution and Revelation on Lighting

After clicking through several blogs and paging through books, I began to realize it wasn’t as intimidating as I once thought. Sure, studio work and product photography require multiple, controlled light sources, strobes and other equipment I don’t care to accumulate. But simple and elegant still life shots are often not captured this way. At least not the ones that I was most drawn to.

With the mindset that I don’t need fancy flash units and bulky soft boxes, I set up a scene: weathered wood boards, fresh fruit, a few props from Crate and Barrel and an abundance of diffused window light. That was all I needed for the a clean and simple still life photo. Introduce a reflector or – easier still – a piece of foam board with aluminum foil, and you have all you need to start manipulating light.

Will I explore things further and learn about strobes and the technicalities of light? Perhaps. But for now, I’m excited by the new possibilities that have been exposed by my simple discovery.

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