Liveblogging PartnerCon 2011: Let There Be Light with Jared Platt

November 8th, 2011

We’re sitting in total darkness to learn from Jared Platt about lighting…love it 🙂  Let’s roll!

Session Topic: Let There Be Light

The master of photography understands light, can predict it, command and replicate it and bend its course to suite his particular needs. Yet a mastery of lighting techniques is worthless without a clear aesthetic understanding of light’s effect on composition and meaning. Join me as I discuss the philosophy of light in photography. We’ll leave the technical mumbo jumbo to someone else.

Light is a gift.  It was only when photography was invented that allowed us to see moments in action and see the blur of seeing someone walking down a staircase.  What is light? Light is actually physical particles (quantum light theory).  There’s visible light but invisible too (xrays and such).  Colder light is warmer tones, warmer light is cooler tones (think of a flame!).  But we want to talk about more than the science.

It can be summed up by:  “The world we live in is but thickened light” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We see light to describe passion and beauty throughout history as well.  Light is a descriptor of all that is good in biblical references as well.  Conversely, darkness brings a sense of sadness and fear, wickedness and hate.  We can dispel darkness through light. (Martin Luther King, Jr. quote).  The person doing good, growing…they become the ‘enlightened’ person.

” Sometimes I do get to places where God’s ready for someone to click the shutter” Ansel Adams

He’s showing the first photograph by Joseph Niepce in 1826.  [COOL]

“Photography is not about light.  But a photographer who does not understand light and how to use it, is a painter who does not know how to mix his paints, or a writer illiterate of the meaning of her words.”  – Jared Platt

We’re going to be talking about what light does and what it says to people looking at your photographs.

Finding Light:

(Non-Natural) | (Natural)
Hair Light | The Sun
Soft box | Northern Sky
Diffuser | Clouds, Fog
Gobo | Trees
Neutral Density/CTO | Smog/Dust

What Light Does:
1.Light reveals (examples)
2. Light separates (creating depth in a photograph think about light, dark, light, dark patterns)
3. Light creates volume (shading one side of a building or face to gain volume)
4. Light is texture (contrast of shadows in nature)
5. Light creates depth
6. Light contrasts (the more light there is, the darker the shadows)
7. Light directs and distracts (towards a subject or item…think spot light)
8. Light defines shape
9. Light illuminates joy, happiness and energy and love

“Light is love.” – Jared Platt

In the natural world, we always see light coming down, not coming from the ground up.  Seeing light from the bottom up sometimes may cause adverse reactions.

Technical Talk
1. The quality of the light is subject dependent
2. Direction of light  (you’ll get much more dramatic and powerful light from behind the subject)
3. You need to match the light when creating fill light (or it looks like he’s being cut out from the background)