Thursday, February 6, 2014

Can You See the Light?


All we’re seeing out there on the education circuit is the push to use speed lights for everything. As though there’s no other alternative!  Every time we go on location outdoors we see photographers walk past great locations into god-awful spots with dead backgrounds, dull flat light and blast away with their speed lights.  And, what’s most galling is these photographers call themselves “natural light” photographers just because they’re outside!  I personally think that this fad is being driven by the camera industry that sponsors all the circuit speakers to endorse their products.  What professional studio photographer would ever consider using speedlights in their studio? And, yet they’re using them outside!

It’s not like anybody is saving any money using speedlights.  Even the best speedlights put out so little light, you need more than one.  I see photographers using up to four speedlights in special mounts for their outdoor soft boxes giving them one under-powered main light costing over two thousand dollars! And that’s not counting the cost of radio transmitters and receiver rigs that you also need to run them.  If you are doing commercial photography and don’t have control of time of day, investing in portable studio lighting would be more cost effective, but you still need to learn how to properly use them as well. If you are out in the magic hour, when the light is perfect, you don’t need a flash, when you’ve placed your subjects properly.

It’s as though many photographers don’t trust their eyes to use natural light and so ironically they resort to using a light source that is too fast for their eyes to evaluate!  One of the cornerstones we intend to teach is how to evaluate light on location, weather outside or inside, and then where to place your subject within that environment to take advantage of the natural fall of light.

The other irony is that our tools for capturing natural light have never been better.  Our cameras are superb at higher ISOs and coupled with faster f2.8 portrait lenses it’s easier than ever before to use this beautiful natural light.  The most important thing is what we hear our clients say when we show them their portraits, on the back of our camera, during a session, “WOW, that’s gorgeous!”  We’re here to help you hear the WOW!

Jerry W. Venz, Master Photographer Certified

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