Photography is Lighting, not Location!

Flower fields, mossy oaks, dancing windmills, charming red barns… these are coveted locations to photograph. Although these can be lovely, the light- oh that golden light- is what makes them magical. Have you ever seen the sun glow through Spanish Moss? My heart skips a beat and I want to put a beautiful bride in her long white dress under that cascading moss filled tree. Sigh…. Don’t get me wrong, if you can nail both the light and location, you’re home free. But say the stars align, its the golden hour (the literal hour before sunset), not a cloud in the sky to block that beautiful orb, your littles are in a great mood and dinner can wait… grab that camera and get outside!

Now that you’re outside. Find the light. There will be sun spots, or paths, breaking through the shadows. Put those babies right in that light! (You may have to hog-tie ’em if they start crawling away…)

{or running away…..}

…Once you get them there. Magic!



Ok, so why did I choose these photos to show you? Because the location is no bueno. The lighting was beautiful, I grabbed my camera, Tinkerbell and Jake and found the best light in our backyard. Here’s a pullback shot of the location….


Not exactly a place I would take a client. But it worked for what I needed at the time. So if you find yourself photographing in a place that doesn’t have much character… Find the Light! In fact, make that a rule no matter where you’re shooting! Another general rule of thumb… if you can’t shoot around eye sores (ie. cars, houses, those awful grey meter boxes back there…), then shoot close! All three of those photos were taken directly in front of that large boxy unit, but because the light was so magnificent and the shots were closeups, the light and the kids became the focal point and the eye sores disappeared into the background. Here’s another real life example…

Now granted, your camera settings have everything to do with the background having that awesome bokeh. If you’re ready to shoot in manual mode, the settings I used were f/3.5, ISO:250, 1/125 and the lens is a 24-70mm 2.8L. But that’s another animal we can tackle later 🙂

Getting back to the light… When its possible to shoot around eye sores, go ahead and take that wide angle shot!

So today, put dinner in the crockpot, play with your kids and wait for that beautiful golden hour to grab your camera and find the light!

Feel free to ask questions and comment below! Wishing you warm light and happy hearts!

Categories: Tips & Tricks | Leave a comment

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