Light. I’m in love with it. Growing up, my dad would always get after me for leaving lights on. Even during the middle of the day, anything with a bulb got turned on if I was in the room. Our bedroom presently has 5 lamps, all of which are usually on at the same time, and when we remodeled our kitchen 4 years ago, no matter how many looks I got from our contractor, I made sure to stick to my design of 17 gorgeous light fixtures! Okay, 19 if you include the lights in the Vent-a-hood.
Light adds beauty, depth and warmth to a room, nature and of course, a photograph. You just cannot mess up a photo when there’s tons of natural, beautiful light…or can you? Yes, you can.
When I first began shooting, I figured the best light would be at noon. Sure, it’s bright, high in the sky, and…is…directly…overhead…Oh. I learned pretty quickly, that was totally wrong. A high noon sun isn’t the most flattering light as it will cast dark shadows under your subjects eyes, and cause lots of squinting and blown out areas in your photo. There are times we have to work in that harsh light, especially during weddings, and there are ways to make it work, but if you have a choice, Golden Hour is the best, I love it…and it’s magic.
Golden Hour is typically 1-1.5 hours before sunset. I have an app on my phone which gives me sunset times for the future so I can plan, and I live by it. When the sun begins to set, the angles of light cast glows and add dimension and warmth that bring a photo to life. While shooting, I am chasing the light. I look for open sky overhead and the sun setting behind or to the side of my subjects and because I prefer not to use flash, I look for natural reflectors to bounce the setting sunlight up to their faces. Natural reflectors can be a light colored sidewalk, stone building, or even a puddle nearby catching the light! The result is natural, warm and gorgeous. Golden light…it’s beauty thrills me and naturally can’t even compare with all those light bulbs I use inside all day! Have fun chasing the light!