A Note on Content

The purpose of this blog is twofold: (1) to advertise my services as a photographer, and (2) to provide useful information to people who want to take better pictures, particularly when it comes to photographing children.

Although I have not organized the blog posts in any particular order, I have tried to start with basic information and build from there, so those wanting to learn more about photography and visiting the site for the first time may want to start with the oldest posts first.

If you have questions or comments about the blog, please feel free to leave a comment or to email me directly. I hope the photos and other information presented here help you appreciate the art of children's photography, and inspire you to take great photographs of your own.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Natural Light

Okay, so I'm a big believer in using natural light for all kinds of photographs, including portraits.  Why?  Because that's the way we typically see the world.  Flashes and soft boxes and studio lighting have their place, to be sure, but I love the moods and features created by natural lighting.

The trouble is that natural light--that is, sunlight--is pretty harsh unless it's filtered or reflected in some way. In the East, where we lived for many years, clouds and the air itself--usually dense and heavy with humidity--act like an enormous filter, scattering the suns rays and creating soft even lighting for hours on end.  

Here in Utah the lighting's a bit tricky, particularly those stretches where the sky remains a cloudless expanse of bright blue for weeks on end.  Those "Utah days" pose a real challenge, particularly for portrait photographers, as the bright sun burns out highlights and creates harsh shadows, kids (and adults) squint their way through a photo session, and even if you put the subject in the shade, most photographs take on a kind a washed out, steel gray tint, as all that blue gets reflected and captured by the film or image sensor. 

So, what's one to do?  Well, figure out a way to soften all that harsh light and make it work for you. You can do that by taking photos early in the morning or during "the golden hour" just around sunset.  You can use filters to diffuse the sun (tough though, as the kids still squint), or reflecters to pull a bit of sunlight into a deep shadow.  You can wait for a cloudy day, or you can, as in the photo above, simply position the subject close to a window, where light is reflected from the outside and often diffused through a sheer, white drapes.  (Actually, this subject positioned herself, thank you.  Anyone know a one year old who will sit still?)

Whatever you do, however, and whatever your light source, the goal remains the same:  finding a soft, even light that that makes your images pop.  

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