Where's the light?

In the picture I posted the other day of the female runner, did you notice the light? No, really, did you notice the direction of the light?

Here, let me post another one from the same shoot. Straight out of the camera (i.e. this is not the result of photoshopping):

Female runner running down the hill, shot by Michael Willems

Female runner running down the hill

You can see the sun is behind her: look at her shadow.

Normally that would lead to her front being dark. Bad light!

But instead, she is well lit and even has a bright side light on her face. That shapes her face and makes the picture much more interesting than it would otherwise have been.

You may recall, two flashes were used – two simple speedlites (Canon 430EX speedlites, fired by Pocketwizards). One bare, and one, the fill light, with a Honl Photo Traveller 8 softbox on it.

Light from “unnatural” directions like this leads to a look that is not natural, but rather, hyper real. A sort of otherworldly look. And as you may have noticed in many of my photos, I believe that that is a good thing to strive for in artistic photos.

Exposing the background correctly is also important – it is darker than your camera would have made it if it has had the final say.

Colour is important here too – I am partial to a combination of red, blue and green; and the pink is close enough to red to make it interesting.

Can you see that the background is a bit blurry? That is becasue I was pannign – following th emodel with the camera as I shot.

(Want to learn more? Well, you can: these are just some of the techniques we teach in our workshops: stay tuned or contact me for more information)

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