Picking LIGHTING over Location

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We get this question a lot? “Where is a good location?”

Having a great location is AWESOME. Do not get me wrong. BUT. If the lighting is BAD the location is BAD. If the lighting is GOOD then the location will be good! As CREATIVES we automatically see something pretty and think it is great. But as professional photographers we need to be looking for AWESOME light and be excited about that.

So how do you know it is a good location? Here are our tips!

1. All SUN or all SHADE

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There is nothing worse than a picture with blotches of sun on it and shadows. Choose all SHADE or all SUN so that it is easier for your white balance and you get that nice skin tone.

2. Shoot into a dark background

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Try your best to find a dark background behind your subject. This creates a good contrast. Have you ever shot a picture into just the sky and it looks like a white blob behind them? It just doesn’t look interesting. Shooting into a darker background really makes your subject stand out.

3. Open Shade

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A quick tip to know if it is good light is if you can look up and see the sky. We typically look for open shade on a sunny day to prevent harsh shadows. Maybe a cloud is creating a cast or a building has a large shadow. Occasionally we love a rim light behind our subject and will place them with the sun behind them and off to the side. For a well exposed face though, open shade works best. Stay away from getting under trees because they give off a yellow/green cast on to your subjects skin and it can be tricky to correct in post processing.

4. Fill

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Look for a light colored pavement or ground. Blacktop does not reflect light but concrete does. Pretty simple but we often don’t think of this when we are out shooting. The light colored ground will help fill in those shadows.

Clients will always recommend locations and it is our job to see lighting more than location. I do take photos in locations that my clients ask specifically for but I will explain to them the lighting scenario before proceeding. Lighting is EVERYTHING and can make or break a picture. Your clients will so appreciate that you warn them about the lighting.

If you are bored with locations I encourage you with this…

1. Mix it up with your lenses.

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Sometimes switching lenses can really boost your creativity. When you live in a certain area you only have so many options and when you have been shooting for years.. I totally get it.. It gets boring. Switching from a wide lens to a zoom lens will really make a difference or vice-versa. Have fun and change up your normal routine.

2. Get to know your client

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Take the time to get to know your client and find a way to reflect them and not just take pictures. You never know if they have a special location, grandmas house, etc. that means a lot to them. This also lets your clients be more a part of the experience and they will be more comfortable with you since they got to choose a special location.

Have fun chasing that light!

Sharing, serving, and celebrating,

Andrew + Chrissy