Freelance Photographer Cambridge - Blog | 02 - It's light, Jim, but not as we know it

December 20, 2016
bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Food & Drink Photographer; Commercial Photographer, Product Photographer & Packshot Photographer; Event Photographer; Portrait Photographer; Corporate Photographer & PR Photographer; Engagement Photographer & Wedding Photographer and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Freelance Photographer & Freelance Photography Services in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.    
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   Alistair Grant 

Freelance Photographer Cambridge & London

     
     

bokeh photographic: Blog No: 02

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It's light, Jim, but not as we know it

In photography we are seduced by light. Understandably so as light makes for (in actual fact, literally constitutes) an image. Photography textbooks talk about ‘seeing from a photographer’s perspective’. The assumption is composition i.e. the right things in the right place at the right time. Whilst important, composition is arguably not as important as the distribution of light - note the italicised. Most amateur photographers (overly) concern themselves with the overall amount of light. In truth, the overall amount of light in a scene is relatively unimportant as too little or too much light is normally reasonably easy to fix.

It is the distribution of light (or ‘tones’) in a scene that is crucial. This is why savvy photographers are far more interested in the range of tones - from the blackest blacks to the whitest whites - than the overall light level. An experienced photographer visualises a scene as a distribution of tones which allows them to make a call about whether that tonal distribution is likely to cause problems (in terms of what they intend the photograph to feature within the context of that particular scene) and whether anything can be done to mitigate potentially problematic distribution of light.

You have already seen the image above if you have read the previous post (albeit not in this form - I have manipulated the photograph in software to reveal tonal distribution); it’s the Vodka Raspberry Collins Cocktail from Blog 01. As well as visualising the distribution of light before I shot the image (checking, for example, that the lightest parts of the scene such as the ice cubes are not too bright or ‘clipped’) I also considered what steps I could take to mitigate any problems.

The key thing to understand is that extreme tonal distributions (aka high contrast or what technically are referred to as ‘over-scaled’ scenarios) will often mean a photograph will not turn out as intended. This is because human eyesight is far better at picking out detail in the very darkest tones of a scene whilst simultaneously picking out detail in the very lightest tones than even the very best modern cameras which have a much narrower ‘dynamic range’.

Recognising potentially problematic tonal distributions by systematically assessing a scene before taking a photograph, using in-camera diagnostics (ever looked at the histogram on your camera’s LCD screen?) and working through steps that can be taken to reduce over-scaling are the foundation to all bokeh photographic Photography Training Courses. High contrast scenes are common (bright subject against dark background and vice versa) and can fool even the most sophisticated cameras. The good news is that there is usually a solution and, depending upon the problem, that solution can often be as simple as a piece of horticultural fleece – the subject of a future blog post!

   
     

Call Alistair Grant on 07775 365507, Email alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk or click Booking Enquiries if you have any questions or would like to make a booking.

   
     

bokeh: "the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens"


Freelance Photographer offering Food & Drink Photography Cambridge; Commercial Photography Cambridge, Product Photography Cambridge & Packshot Photography Cambridge; Event Photography Cambridge; Portrait Photography Cambridge; Corporate Photography Cambridge & PR Photography Cambridge; Engagement Photography Cambridge & Wedding Photography Cambridge and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge. Also covering: Huntingdon, St. Ives, Ramsey, St. Neots, Peterborough, Bedford, Stamford, Newmarket, Sawtry, Alconbury Weston, Brampton, Hartford, Warboys, Houghton, Wyton, Godmanchester, Hilton, Hemingford Grey, Hemingford Abbots, Fenstanton, Whittesley, Yaxley, Needingworth, Somersham, Chatteris, Ely, Bar Hill, Grafham and Buckden.

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bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer | Cambridge, London, UK

Food & Drink Photography | Commercial Photography & Product Photography | Corporate Photography & PR Photography | Portrait Photography (inc. 'Active Portraiture') | Event Photography | Wedding Photography | Photography Training Courses & Camera Tuition

Tel: 07775 365507 | Email: alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk