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  • Matt Graves

Speed lighting basics

Why so many photographers miss the mark, concentrating on equipment and ignore the PERSON standing before them.



I want to let you in on a little secret. Not many photographers LIKE to be photographed. I know, it's crazy! We are JUST like you, when we stand in front of that shiny lens we stand like deer in the headlights.


“If you cut out all the noise you're left with something really cool. A life altering experience!"

If you're not a photographer, don't worry. I wrote this article for you! If you ARE a photographer, pay attention!



G.A.S.


It goes with the territory. As a photographer I obsess over what camera body I've got or want. I drool over lenses that cost more than my car. I rip apart other photographers' work to try to gleam SOME information about what gear they're working with, if they haven't mentioned it on their website. We all have this debilitating condition. G.A.S., Gear Acquisition Syndrome. A better way to put it... bring your four your old to the toy aisle and ask them what they want.

It's easy to say, "I'd be a better photographer if I just had..." But when you're hiring a photographer, do you REALLY care? As long as they don't show up with a cell phone and a dream. For the record, I ALMOST did that! But really, does it matter what camera I use? No, I KNOW how to use it... that's why you hired me!


The Search for the Right Light


Do you remember that scene in the #5thElement where the old guy keeps shouting "Aziz, light!"? Yeah... I'm a dork. Whenever I hear photographers arguing about which light is better I honestly daydream THIS exact scene. If you haven't seen it, you need to run out and get it! (Who am I kidding... when's the LAST time you rented a movie from a store? #blockbuster anyone?)


We as photographers trick ourselves into believing that we are missing that last piece of the puzzle. Is lighting it? Whether someone uses a speed light, a strobe, natural light, or running lights is completely their style. If you like it, GREAT! If not... why are you hiring them? Personally, I LOVE natural light. Who doesn't!? But I also know when to break out a speed light when I need one.


What does all that mean? Rest assured that when hiring a seasoned photographer, whether it's me (and I hope it is!) or anyone else... they SHOULD have their lighting under control.


What SHOULD we be paying attention to?


YOU. Simple answer. The difference between a good picture and a bad picture is connection with the subject. Look through the decades of paintings on the wall at any museum and you can see the same thing. It's so easy to get lost in the physical nature of how to pose, what to wear... but if you cut out that noise you're left with something really cool. A life altering experience.

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