I am obsessed with capturing light.
But you could say that about any photographer right?
For me though, sometimes it is the light itself. It’s quality or the way it will hit a certain place creating a shape that will make me stop and want to photograph it. But most of the time my thoughts quickly lead to wanting to place someone in the light.
Then the frame completely changes.
I was never (and still am not) a studio light expert. I wasn’t taught that way. My studies at University focused more on ‘conceptual photography’. After graduating, I assisted a studio light master photographer but only for a short time. While I did learn plenty of things, I consistently gravitated toward using natural light.
I remember showing him my portfolio of portraits for the first time and he said, “I have nothing to teach you.”
Since I started shooting more that 15 years ago and to this day, it is natural light that continues to inspired me. It is seeing it, visualizing with it and then creating a story with it.
That’s generally how it all begins.
One morning a few weeks ago as I was grabbing my morning cup of coffee, I noticed the sunlight coming through the shades in my living room. The way the diagonal lines hit a portion of the wall looked really cool.
I love clean lines, symmetry, repetition and solid colors.
I had only 10 minutes before a repair man was coming over but I felt it was time to shoot an idea I’ve had in my head for a while.
Since I have gone back to platinum blonde hair for the last 5 months, I really like how it looks when my hair is wet. With it being so bright, it kind of looks like white string. I have said to myself that before I give up this color due to the maintenance and damage, I really want to capture how it looks wet.
I knew I had about 10 minutes so I quickly wet my hair and set up my camera and tripod. Full disclosure,.. I hadn’t even washed my face or brushed my teeth ! I just put on a plain white tank top and these beautiful sunglasses. With the help of my Canon Mark III and 24-70 mm lens on self timer I started shooting.
I just wanted to see what I would get in the spontaneous moment.
Here are my favorite shots of the handful I captured. I like the mood a lot. It feels very 80’s.
I just wanted to experiment with that light coming through the window and to capture my current look.
It was fun to shoot so spontaneously. It reminded me that I need to do it more!
In regards to photography, lighting and composing a portrait, my advice has always been to just place someone in the light. Don’t over think it. Just see what happens. Let the light inform and inspire you.
Step inside of the light and see where your creative instincts take you.