Yesterday I had a shoot with a model, Alison, that I had never worked with before. She is a great model and she has a great location to shoot at with far to many possibilities for great shots than you can shoot in one day. I realized yesterday that I am more out of practice than I thought when it comes to lighting. So what am I to do? Get back to the basics and practice.
Photography in general and lighting in particular is something you continually need to practice. Where will the shadows be? How to get rid of unwanted shadows? How to control light spill into places that I don’t want light? These were some of the problems that I was plagued with yesterday. At times it seemed that every time I moved a light I made things worse. The more I tried to get things the way I wanted them to be the worse it got. Yep, I’m out of practice!
When I started out years ago I kept a notebook with me to record everything I did when I took a photo. It could be several days or weeks before I got the film back so I took notes so I would learn what worked and what did not. With the instant feedback of a digital camera you can see what is not working right away. I found myself looking at lighting that I didn’t like.
Its time to get the cameras and lighting equipment out, practice, take notes and and relearn things that I have not been using for a while. If you have ever had images that you have made or taken that you don’t like then you know how frustrating this can be. I’m not saying that every image you create should be a work of art, but it should be something you learn from if it is less than successful.
Practice is the key to successful lighting. Start with one light and work from there. Take notes on power settings, distance to subject and any light modifiers you are using. Study the results and learn from them. As Albert Einstein said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Yeah, it felt like I was going insane yesterday. We did get some nice images but how many more could I have gotten if I was on the top of my game when it comes to lighting? Who knows. Was it just an off day? Maybe, but all the same I’ll get out and practice.