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Have You Heard of Bad Light?
Plus a new September contest!
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Maybe it was used to describe a bright, midday summer or the gloomy, grey overcast of fall. At some point in your photography journey, you’ll hear some people describing certain situations as having bad light.
I think this is horsesh*t.
This image was shot on the Leica SL2s and APO Summicron 50mm. I opened the aperture to F5.6, had the shutter speed locked to 1/1000, and the ISO landed at 200.
It was a scorcher of a day in Jaipur when I captured this image. A time of day that you’d be discouraged to go out practice photography. But if we only shot when the light was good, we’d be throwing away so many opportunities to experiment and grow.
The reality is that the conditions may never be perfect for us to capture the image we envisioned but as instruments of creativity, we need to be able to work with what we have and just keep moving forward. So many photographers have been taught about good light and bad light, where the latter can become this inhibitor. People think they see bad light and decide it’s not worth shooting at all.
What a f*cking waste!
We have to remove this binary idea of good and bad light. We have to believe that there is no such thing as bad light. Just different kinds of light. Light is constantly changing—bending differently all over the world—and through our creativity, something we can wield to tell varying stories.
What if you find yourself in a situation where the sun is right above you, just cooking the earth?
A chance to leverage contrast and shadows to tell a unique story. There were so many times in my early years where I would avoid shooting because I thought the lighting would make for a bad image. The problem here is that I was more concerned about the end result than the process. And let’s be honest, at that age I hadn’t shoot nearly enough to know what a good image even was!
I had to make a conscious effort to unlearn bad habits and the notion of bad light was one of them. Sure, it took some time but eventually I got to a place where I was looking at all light as opportunity instead of deciding whether it was good or bad. And if you’re asking me, it’s just a great f*cking place to be as a photographer.
If there’s one thing I wanna leave with you this week, it’s that as photographers we have to remove this idea of bad light. Each situation is a new opportunity to sharpen our skills and practice our creativity.
So the next time you get out there, and that voice in the back of your head wants to tell you the lighting sucks, turn back and tell that voice to keep it down. There is no bad light.
August Contest Winner…
Congratulations to the winner of the MagSafe Filmmaker Kit from Moment.
You’ll be receiving your prize directly from the fantastic team at Moment in the coming weeks. Enjoy!
Each month, I run a contest for the Church & Street community and try to feature something that I think people will appreciate.
For September, I’ll be giving away the MTW Backpack from Moment. This is a super versatile backpack that can adapt to just about any kinda lifestyle you throw at it. I have one myself and love using it for times I’m mixing laptop work and photography.
How am I picking the winner? All you have to do is be a member of this community and you’re automatically entered. As with every contest, I’ll be randomly picking one person, confirming they meet the requirements and then contacting them directly before announcing the winner publicly.
Once again, this contest is void where prohibited by law. Good luck!
My thanks to the team at Moment! Not only for this contest but for being the longest supporter of my work online. They’re a lean team of passionate creators that truly believe in supporting other creators on their journey. Whether it’s a new camera, lens, workshop, or just some great articles, visit ShopMoment.com today.
Reader Question: What photo books are you enjoying lately?
Thanks to the recommendations of my friend Jason—a photographer that you need to be following—I picked up two books from the same photographer.
SON by Christopher Anderson is a deeply personal collection that documents the birth and growth of a child as the author comes to terms with his father’s cancer diagnosis. This book has been giving me a lot of inspiration in documenting my own family.
COP is another book from the same author and not something I’d immediately gravitate to but this is why you surround yourself with friends much smarter than you. Jason had mentioned that this would be a great study for using tighter lenses in public spaces. I plan on using the 50mm a lot more for my work and this is proving to be a great look into extremely tight compositions and cinematic colours.
I try to make a habit of adding at least one photo book a month to study but I fell short over the summer. That being said, I finally got around to some new additions and they haven’t disappointed in the slightest.
I swear, August seems like it just flew by. And it seems like September may go even faster. Over the next three weeks I’ll be moving between Porto, New York, and Kuala Lumpur. There’s a ton to be excited about, especially the opportunity to share those adventures with you. If you’ve enjoyed being a part of this club so far, you’re gonna love what I have planned for the rest of the year.
Anyway, that’s enough for one week. See ya next time!
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