Finding Your Voice: Day 3. Light.

Welcome to Day 3 of our fun 10-day series: “Finding Your Voice: 10 Days, 10 Concepts To Help You Find Your Photographic Voice.

My friends, it may seem elementary, but fill in the blank on this:

My favorite light is_____.

In an interview recently, violinist Lindsey Stirling put it this way: “When I’m onstage, I feel like I’m exploding with light. I think when you’re doing what you love you actually glow.”

I agree; when we do what we love, we actually glow. I’ve seen it and experienced it. I think we ARE made of light in some way. And that doing what we love is the key to opening the door to all that radiance. It flips the “On” switch of our inner light. And it shows up in your work, it truly does.

The really cool thing? As photographers, we literally create with light! That’s our raw material – isn’t that awesome?  So when it comes to finding your “Artist’s Voice”… YOUR truest expression, then beginning with what lights you up inside makes so much sense. (Truthfully, it does no matter what. But if you needed an excuse to begin, there it is. You’re welcome.)

Sure, there are some basic ground rules to learn (how your camera works, composition, photo software, etc.)… and they’re important, no doubt about it. Mastering your version of those tools is critical to making clear and focused statement. But letting what you love – what lights you up – define your voice (what it is you have to say) brings about a very different result. It not only leads you to your own unique vision within your photography; It becomes the voice you speak with throughout all of your creations, including your life.

Like I say, light is what we use to paint our pictures as photographers. So what’s your fave? There are SO many different kinds! You can use any or all; each has its own value, weight, or feeling connected with it. Let’s explore…

If you think about it, each type of light makes you feel a bit different. I mean, would you rather be indoors all day under fluorescent lights – or outside being bathed in the full glory of a beautiful sunset by the beach? Just sayin’.

Big Deep Breath
Start by considering just a few different qualities of light, just for their own sake…

Highly contrast
Half light, half shadow
Different sources: from above…below… straight on… at an angle…
Ambient (where it’s just sort of everywhere)

Here are a few examples in action.

Pay attention to how each one feels to you and write down any responses you may have to them – or ideas they may give you!

Light in Action:

The sun right in your face. Bam! What’s your response to this kind of light?

BTW: I never look right at the sun when I do these kinds of comps. I avoid direct eyeball contact at all times!  Lucca, Italy.

Lucca Me!

Lit from inside and underneath. What does this vibe feel like to you? Florence, Italy.

Cherubial Wings to Heaven

Combo of blue hour, ambient, golden lights of the buildings. It’s not just one kind of light, it’s a blend of a few. A little more complex, which tells a few stories all in one frame. What do they say to you? Honfleur Harbor, France.

Café on Harbor Corner

Late afternoon. Especially between rain showers, where clouds part just enough to let a golden ray of light through. It looks even more gold against the stormy skies. I can almost feel it on my face. How does it make you feel? Paris, France.

Hotel de Ville

Soft, ambient light. It had been raining off and on, clouds covered the sun most of the day. It’s ideal for being able to shoot things like these grains, because there’s not too much contrast. Every detail shows up, every color. Nothing is too dark, or washed out. What are some words to describe this feeling for you? Normandy, France.

Grains & Spider

Reflected light in New York City. You can also have reflected light on person’s face which is quite lovely. You like reflected light?

Mirrors To The Past

How about soft light? It makes things glow a little, including people. You might find yourself reaching for words like;  intimate, delicate and gentle.

Teardrop Carousel

You can do your own explorations about light; here’s just one Google search page. It’s a HUGE topic; but for now, all you’re asking yourself to do is to explore light from the perspective of your favorite kind and how it makes you feel.

Knowing what qualities of light make you feel peaceful, excited, full of joy, like you can do anything, expansive, like dancing, mysterious, curious, annoyed (good to know what to avoid, too!), happy… can help you be more conscious about ways you can add those qualities to your work when you want them.

Be as specific and from-the-gut as you can be! No one but you is going to know… but these pieces of information will become part of the voice you speak with in your works. The clearer you can be – the more crystal clear your vision will be. And THAT’S where the money is! So to speak… 😉

Miss a day? No worries… they’re all right here:

Finding Your Voice, Part 1: My favorite way to feel.
Finding Your Voice, Part 2: My favorite time of day.
Finding Your Voice, Part 3: My favorite light.
Finding Your Voice, Part 4: My favorite texture.
Finding Your Voice, Part 5: My favorite element.
Finding Your Voice, Part 6: My favorite color.
Finding Your Voice, Part 7: My favorite movement.
Finding Your Voice, Part 8: My favorite shapes & patterns.
Finding Your Voice, Part 9: My favorite view.
Finding Your Voice, Part 10: My story.