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Beginning Photography Tip #7:
Look at the Light

Empress Hotel at Sunset
Empress Hotel at Sunset
© Jim Miotke 2005
All Rights Reserved
Look at the Light - Portrait at Sunset
Portrait at Sunset
© Jim Miotke 2005
All Rights Reserved

By this, I don't mean look into the sun - no, that won't do at all. But it is good to see what kind of light you are working with. Which way are the shadows falling? Unless you want a silhouette effect, where your subject is black against an interesting background, it's generally best to shoot with the sun behind you.

How is the light affecting your subject? Is the subject squinting?

Is the light blazing directly and brightly upon your whole subject? This works well if you are in love with the bold colors of your subject.

Side lighting, on the other hand, can add drama but can also cause extreme, hard-to-print contrasts.

Lastly, indirect light can be used to make your subject glow soft and pretty.

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