Finding the light
In preparation for my first wedding in about a month, I've been trying to expand my photographic repertoire as well as hone some of my old favorites. Recently, I've realized that there is a difference between "I like shooting in natural light" and "I know how to shoot in natural light." I believe I'm progressively transitioning to the latter category. If my previous shoots have taught me anything, shooting during high noon is absolutely terrible and incredibly difficult. It's about finding that sweet spot, that time frame where the light softens and the shadows become more subtle. That's why my last few shoots have revolved around the latter portion of the day. It's just a lot more pleasant and for my sake, not as hot.
The golden hour is important but location and position make the shot, all of which fall under the umbrella of compositional considerations. It's imperative to know exactly where to position the subject rather than haphazardly placing the subject against a pretty background and praying the lighting complements the subject. DON'T DO IT, it's reckless, it's sloppy and no good will come out of it. Take a second to figure out how the lighting works; it'll transform a good picture into a great one. Another thing that is just as important is the angle at which the light hits the subject. It gives the subject shape, character and ultimately LIFE. Avoid all back-lit or front-lit photos. You don't want to look as flat as Gumby.
My trek with Nancy to visit Sturtevant Falls was multifaceted. One, weather in May? Absolutely awesome. Two, I needed justification for the pho, thai BBQ, late night alcoholic beverages, late late night mac and cheese and chicken pot pie that I just "happened" to consume the day before. Third, I admittedly need practice. Take a more meticulous look at the pictures. You'll notice a more intentional approach to subject positioning and light angles. Oh yeah, the shoot was done with a D40 and prime lens - $300 - and not my pro setup. Believe it! Good light does wonders so focus on finding the light. Enjoy!
Location: Sturtevant Falls, Arcadia
Goods: Nikon D40, 35 1.8, tripod