5 Jan 2008

The quality of light - Part 4

As a final demonstration of the effects of being able to manipulate the light in order to improve its quality, just take a look at my photograph of the Indian tin whistle player. Now I’d say that light was pretty high quality stuff.

But when I first spotted this chap sat on an old oil drum and playing his tin whistle in front of a temple, the light was so awful that I did not even bother to take a photograph at all. He was sat in direct sunlight. The sun was high in an empty blue sky and the shadows across the man’s face were hard and black. Even worse, he was sat in front of the white marble wall of a temple. The background was far too bright.

So, I had hard, low-quality toppy-front light, a glaring white background, but a wonderful subject. What did I do?

The first thing I did was to drop a couple of rupees into his tin – come on, he’s a street performer, so pay the man! I then gently turned him right round on his seat so that he was facing the wall. He was now maybe around 15 feet away from that wall. Now I positioned myself with my back to the wall and used it as a reflector.

Notice that the direct sun, which is now behind the subject, has lit up his silver hair with attractive rim lighting while the reflective wall has pushed all that soft light back onto his face. The added bonus effect is that the background is now darker and further away. So it has fallen out of focus and is far more attractive and less distracting.

So, you see, often you don’t even need to carry a reflector with you – they are there all around you if you look.

If you’d like to know more about light – its direction, quality and colour, - and how to use reflectors effectively, my DVD Light and Composition covers the subject and shows you how you can improve your pictures once you really understand what’s going on. It is available on my website www.photoactive.co.uk and costs just £9.99 plus postage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of the said DVD and can thoroughly recommend it. Andrew.