Tag Archives: image lighting

Let the light inspire you

Everyone who’s been through grammar school knows that photography comes from the Greek words for “light” and “write.” In a word, photography is writing with light. But for those of us who write with light, sometimes two things can happen. One, we focus more on the content of the photo—the elements in it, what the image “means.” Two, we have days when every thing we point our camera at says, “Blah.” These two things may not seem related, but maybe they are.

Take landscape photography, for instance. I’m not a landscape expert or one who shoots a lot of landscapes; most of my shots are portraits. But I like looking at landscapes, and I just came across this article at Digital Photography School saying “Shoot the light, not the land,” and how the light is really what makes or breaks a photograph. I tend to agree—the landscapes that have dramatic light are the ones I fave on Flickr or comment on in other forums. Light turns me on.

Which brings me to my second point. I think on days when we feel like the camera is bringing us blah, we should look for the light.

Light on a bunch of dead leaves can make the scene look alive.

That means the content doesn’t matter. We look for pockets of light that drape over a forest. We search for streams of light across mundane objects, like a chair at a driving range.

Light streaming from the side can make an uncomfortable iron chair look quite inviting.

We wait for the sunset to reflect its light on clouds above a pond with a rock sitting in it.


Dramatic light reflected on cloud reflected on a pond can make even a rock look magical.

Light is what inspired the first photographers, and light should inspire us now.

How about you? What’s your love affair with light?

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