Seeing the light (and outsmarting your camera!)

One of the steepest learning curves as a photographer is learning to see the light.
I know that sounds a bit vague and ambiguous, but I’m hoping that the next few blog posts in our Education section will help illustrate what I mean.

Our greatest tool isn’t the camera in our hands, it’s our own knowledge about how we can use light in different ways to create something extraordinary.
Now, our cameras are pretty clever – but us photographers are smarter, and knowing how to outsmart your camera is key to working managing the light in just the right way. If you’re shooting your camera in auto mode (or even aperture priority), this could just be the incentive you need to get out there and learn your camera’s full manual settings.

The example I want to share with you, is from Blair and Lynda’s wedding a few weeks back. We were well into the reception when we noticed that tucked away in a corner (where the tea and coffee was being served) was a lamp. Just an unassuming, not overly decorative, lamp.
What made this lamp so cool though, was that the light is was producing was by far the brightest point in the room, and when we exposed for this patch of light, it made the most beautiful spotlight.

Now my very clever camera took the below photo on auto – and it very nicely exposed the whole room. This is the scene as you would see it to your naked eye:

Perspectives - Behind the Scenes - Education

Nothing to write home about right? But you’ll notice that the camera has taken an overall light reading of the whole room, and the lamp is quite a bit brighter than the rest of the scene. The magic happens when we take a certain part of the scene and expose for the light under the lamp. All of a sudden, our scene becomes this image:

Perspectives - Behind the Scenes - Education

A pretty crazy difference! We showed Blair and Lynda this photo on the back of the camera and their response was “Wow! That looks nothing like what my eyes were seeing!”
The cool part is though, that this was exactly what OUR eyes were seeing (light geeks remember?) and once you start seeing the light like this you’ll never be able to “un-see” it, and you’ll start seeing possibilities everywhere.

And that is the coolest thing ever!

Amber and Isaac