Let’s talk about good light, wanna?
What is good light? What does it look like? Where can you find it? When does it show up? How can you recognize it?
Would you be super annoyed if I said the answer to all of those questions is practice? I know, ew. But it’s the truth.
I could tell you that, for me, good light is a hazy, overcast day with just a few rainclouds. It’s the 20 minutes after sunset. It’s a bright morning bursting through the window and reflecting off every shiny surface. It’s the low, annoying, 3 pm winter sun that casts long and crazy shadows.
But that might not be good light for you. Maybe your good light is sunrise at the beach or an hour before sunset high in the mountains. Maybe it’s light you have full control over in a studio or the shadow of a building at noon during those weird, random rainstorms on sunny days. And the only way to figure out what your good light is… Yeah. It’s practice.
And by practice I just mean shoot in every possible light. Get out of your beautiful, warm bed before sunrise and shoot in that light. Shoot in the light you think you hate (I’m looking at you, 12:00 pm). Shoot in the light you think you’ll love. Shoot inside, shoot outside, shoot in strange sculpture shadows, shoot in dappled forest light, shoot in the studio, shoot in Taco Bell while you wait for your ten chili cheese burritos. Oh, I mean one. One chili cheese burrito. Who orders ten?! That would be crazy. ” />
And as you shoot, pay attention to how the light affects your photos. Pay attention to how it affects your editing style. Pay attention to how it affects the hues and tones. Pay attention to what gets you excited and what frustrates you.
And then when you do finally discover your good light, be prepared to get bored with it in a year or so and try shooting in the light you think you hate again. That ‘tog life, am I right?
P.S. The tulips above were shot in late afternoon on a cloudy day with the sun behind them, AKA the goodest of light.