Weekend What To Do: Clean vs Blocked Light

December 5, 2021

Welcome to The Weekend What To Do!! Each weekend I’m going to walk through a real life situation of mine where I snapped a few photos – and one of the decisions I made to make the pictures the best they could be!

Just snapping a photo is GREAT to capture the memory, but there are SO many things you can do to enhance your everyday family pics… If you have all the right knowledge! I know your everyday life might not be “picturesque”, so hopefully these weekly behind the scenes tips prove to be applicable for just normal, everyday photos of your family!

Today’s topic – knowing the difference between blocked and open light! We visited the Roanoke Star a few weekend ago while we were visiting my sister at Smith Mountain Lake. While we were there I decided to snap a few pictures, and I made a personal preference choice about which photo angle I liked better!

The area we’e working with has a massive, light up star high on a wooded hill, and the city out over an open lookout. So where is the best angle for a photo?!

I know most of you would want the view in the background; the whole town of Roanoke is down there! But the angle you’d need to face to get this view makes you directly facing a line of trees and the large hill the star is mounted on – it blocks any clean or open light from coming onto your face. 

This creates dark circles and pockets of shadows under your eyes! It’s not clear, even light on your face… 

BUT, if you turn and have your subject face the overlook (where no trees, leaves, or dirt mountain blocks light to their face) you get clean, even light on their skin! 

So when I want the view in the background, I’m ok to sacrifice perfect light on our face. But the photos I’d be way more likely to frame? They’re the ones facing the open air, every. time.

Next time you’re going to take photos, find the open light and face your people towards it! What tricky every day photo situations do you have that I can cover in future videos?!

In the photo on the left, Grady is facing the wooded, dark, light-blocking mountain. In the right image, he’s facing the open aired overlook. There are NO dark circles under his eyes or hair, because the light hitting his face is from the open sky!

PS – we didn’t know how long these tattoos lasted when we let them put them on their face 🤣

*All images taken on a Nikon Z6ii with an F mount adaptor and an AFS Nikon 35mm 1.4 G lens

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