Sunday, June 12, 2011

#15 Another day, another lesson

Yesterday was a day of a lot of walking and not much shooting with a very inspiring conversation about lighting.

I find setting up lights in a studio fairly easy. I usually shoot because I have a photograph in mind and set up the shot with the idea in mind. Street is different. You shoot where and when you stop someone. All you have at your disposal is the natural light and a strobe or two, if you are lucky. And just like with everything else my mind goes blank when I am faced with a stranger. 

Is beautifully lit photography down to talent or training? I believe it's a bit of both. I get ideas, I can appreciate a beautifully lit photograph but I need to train my eyes and I need to get my brain to be more aware of the light, angles and possibilities. To be honest, most of my strobe work is pure guesswork or relying on safe, well-tested set-ups. Sometimes a fellow photographer will point to a photograph saying 'We need more light here.' and I stare blankly not seeing anything. I guess it's time for some eye training.

I am planning on spending the next few weeks going over my favourite strobist books and photographs as well as a few fashion mags too and working out how the light falls, how it works trying to improve my awareness of it so that next time I am on the street before I shoot, I will notice where the light is coming from, I will know what I want to achieve lightwise and I will be able to give light directions to whoever is assisting me to ensure that strobe bring my idea to life.

Yesterday I photographed the eldest of three brothers. I enjoyed meeting them. I saw them outside Old Spitafields Market. It turns out when they are not working, they spend their Saturdays cycling around London. How cool is that?!

The first two pictures are shot with ambient lighting alone while I used a strobe at 5 o'clock for the third one. I like the ones lit by ambient lighting as much as the one lit by the strobe hence the whole lighting entry today.