education

Improve your photography

Why isn't your photography getting better?

If you want to improve your photograph you need to make images. But often, especially with adults, we are so in our head when learning something new that it becomes debilitating to the point that we put it off- we put so much expectations on ourselves that we don't even begin! Yet the best piece of advice I can give you if you want to get better at photography is to shoot as often as possible. Consider kids at play; They are wide eyed, explorers. They have no expectations or fear of failure. That's what you should emulate if you want to improve your photography!

If you're interested in improving your photography, check out my 5 tips on improving your photography below. Although geared toward the professional photographer shooting events, anyone can find them helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7RLb8vpnqU&t=104s

If you're in Los Angeles and want to take photography classes, I recommend taking a look at Barnsdall Art Center! 

http://barnsdall.org/

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Understanding Light

There are three things to consider when talking about light:

  • Quality of light

  • direction of light

  • Amount

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Quality of Light

Light can be either hard, soft, but there are varying degrees of hard and soft light.

Characteristics of a hard light source:

Hard light will have heavy shadows: more accurately, hard light sources create very crisp lines of shadow with very little gradation. Because of this, images shot with a hard light source gives the subject the appearance of having more detail or texture.

Synonyms and / or descriptors used when talking about hard light:

  • Harsh light - because of the extra detail it creates

  • Direct light - because hard light comes from a direct single spot opposed to soft light which is indirect

Examples sources of hard light:

  • The sun

  • Flash

  • Unshaded light bulbs

Characteristics of soft light

A soft light source is best thought of as indirect or spread out light. Think of how light enters inside of your home through the window. That light is bouncing around and spreading out before it ever reaches the glass. Soft light can be identified by elongated shadows (more gradation).

 

Synonyms and/or descriptors used when talking about soft light:

  • Indirect

  • Diffused

Examples of soft light

  • Window light

  • Shade

  • Light bouncing off of a white or lightly colored wall

  • Cloudy or overcast days

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Direction of light

The direction of light plays a huge role in the look of your photograph.

As an experiment photograph the same person or object from the front of, the side of, and behind  your light source to see what happens. You will end up with three very different looking images. Notice where the light begins to fall off. Which image looks like it has the most depth? Which looks flattest?

Amount

The amount of light is self explanatory but should not be confused with the quality of the light. You can have both an abundance of soft light as well as hard light.

Picture a scene in heaven in a tv show or movie. It is always depicted with lots of bright light, but that light is soft!

 

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Amount 

Amount is simple. It's how intense your light source is. Thats it. Both hard and soft light sources can be very bright or very dim.