Finding the Light | The Light in the Story

The light in the story contained in the photographs you make. How does the light play a part in the story? Light is so telling. It tells us what time of day it is (or at least a good guess), it sets the mood, it plays with our subjects, it brings attention to our subjects, it draws in the viewer, it creates magic, and so much more. There are so many different types of light, all of them having an important role to play in our photographs; from bright and bold, to dark and moody.

Think about the tv shows and movies you watch. Perhaps it’s something you’ve noticed more and more since diving into photography; the way movie makers create and use lighting to add to the story they are telling. It is so important. Imagine these same shows and movies in boring consistent lighting, never changing, always staying the same. The way light is used plays such a huge part in how we interpret a scene, a character.

Think about the light themes we’ve focused on this year – particularly Quiet Light, Cool Light, and Light + Composition. Thinking about and describing light in these ways, helps us understand the role light plays in the stories we are telling. Any type of light you come across can help tell the story you are telling, if you just let it. Let the light set the tone in your images. Let your subject be one with the light and the shadows and embrace whatever type of light you’ve got. Use it to your advantage, manipulate it if it helps in the storytelling process.

As you share your images this month, share your thoughts on how the light aids in the storytelling. Don’t be bashful. Don’t be fearful that you’ve got it “wrong”. The way you interpret your own image is valid. Someone else may interpret it another way, but that is ok. That is the beautiful thing about photography. There’s really never one “right” answer. There are facts, things that actually happened, things that didn’t, but photography is very much about imagining what might have happened, as it is about what actually happened.

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This light was peeking through the trees and highlighting a small area where my daughter was standing. It makes me think of how she’s growing older and a little more cautious in front of the camera than she once was. Letting the light take the stage, in a way, but also saying “I’m here too”.

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The light in this story, is a very telling sign that it is morning. The first glow through the windows as the milk gets poured into the cereal.

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The way the light touches the rock he’s standing on, the glow in the sky, the haze in the distance, showing off the layers of the land – it all helps in creating this “I made it to the top” storytelling image.

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