"Chasing the light" is a common saying among photographers. Whether it's landscape or portrait shooting, it really is, all about the light. The hour after sunrise and before sunset, are the best times for photography and are known as the Golden hour. Light is softer and warmer then that mid-day high contrast and unflattering light.
I met with 5 fantastic students, along with my assistant Phil, in order to take advantage of this late day light. We started at 5:00pm at our headquarters and amazing gallery in the Pruneyard shopping center, in Campbell California. After getting to know each other, I went over some camera and composition basics, before heading outside with our lovely model. We started right outside the gallery doors, as I ran through some posing guidelines. I had the students choose an area which they felt would work well with the available light. The light proved decent, just slightly uneven, but it was a great start, and allowed all to get warmed up. We moved to a nearby metal stairwell and work with some head shots, as well as full body. Phil and I talked about some general guidelines on cropping our subject, and paying attention to distracting backgrounds. As we moved through the shopping center, we're constantly looking for the best light. Oftentimes the best light is actually shade. Bright sun will cast unflattering shadows, while the shade is a nice even light. When shade is not an option I'll have the students shoot with the sun at the models back. This is extremely effective, especially when the sun is preparing to set, or has just risen. The effect is a warm glow which provides the perfect hair light for our models long locks.
We continued our photographic journey through the center, finding some fantastic backgrounds to pose our attractive model. Phil and I displayed the use of a simple reflector, to not only fill in some shadows, but also brighten the eyes. Phil also demonstrated how the reflector doubles as a diffuser as he held it to filter the light which has been casting some patchy shadows on our models face. All the students were having a great time, while learning some new skills, skills with camera settings, working with a models, and finding the best light. Time flies when you're having fun, and 8pm approached quicker then we all realized. It was truly a please to meet and work with everyone!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.