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  • Writer's pictureJ Michael Photography209

What is in the Light... Part 1 with a California Photographer

So I started taking pictures how i always assumed most people started: During the daytime! When I started doing shoots I waited for that beautiful Golden Hour Light. When the sun just bathes everything in gold and the way it makes the subject just radiate is just gorgeous!

See when I first started, that was what I kept hearing over and over. Shoot Golden Hour! Shoot Golden Hour! It is hard not to see why. Especially when you live where I live and it is relatively flat. So you are able to get shots with the sun pretty near the true horizon. It really does make for beautiful images. I poured my learning and practice time into shooting at this time only.

After awhile I thought.... Hey, Let's try a Night Shoot. So I did a few of those. They were definitely challenging. At the time, I never was using any sort of Flash. I had one though it rarely came out of my bag. Though night shooting is challenging, I certainly had a lot of fun. It forced me to get more creative. I had to plan my shots better, had to work my angles more and definitely had to push myself when it came to camera settings. How high could I push my ISO and it not be a grainy mess, how low could I go on Shutter speed and it not be blurry? It pushed me to keep learning and improve the quality of my photos.

My wife and I took a trip to Florida that changed my outlook on a very important aspect of Light. While learning and growing in photography, there was always one constant: Don't Shoot In HARSH Light!! Well what is Harsh Light? Basically it is the midday sun. Because of constantly hearing this I stayed away from it. The problem was I stayed away from it without ever trying it for myself. I did know that it can, will and does cast some pretty wicked shadows. Unless you are in shade then there is no escaping that fact. When in Florida, we drove on down to Miami. I had booked a few shoots while I was there and Miami is no joke about the midday sun! Harsh light abounds! But I took it as a challenge and said "Let's do it!"

I was pretty pleased with the results. So much so, I booked a day in the Bay Area not long after getting back and purposefully scheduled some midday shoots. I loved the challenge of finding angles that worked, positioning the subject to bring out the best and still find the beauty in the shadows that are created with the midday sun. I was no longer afraid of it. Don't get me wrong, creatively it was great for me but most clients will want that beautiful Golden Light and really .... who can blame them!

Part 2 coming soon!!

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