Sophia and the Light

One of the many highlights from my past Senior Session was my time with Sophia, a soon to be graduate from West Valley High School.

The reason this one stands out to me is it was right around my transition between being known solely as a Natural Light photographer, and being a "Photographer". (Notice the quotations, because like most of us button clickers we're still and always will be in a learning phase so it's hard for me to say I'm a completed photographer) I know in this industry the people behind the camera can get a little testy when you try to pigeon hole them into groups or specialties but when you start as a photographer just learning the exposure triangle is hard enough so adding artificial light by using flashes both on and off the camera catapults you into an entirely different category.

This session was special because of that reason. This was the "first" session I used both ambient light and used off camera lighting as to enhance the photo. In the first photo I would have had some soft shadows on the right side of my subject, which would have been fine, but the use of lighting allowed us to create a better photograph by illuminating the entire subject (off camera left, golden hour sun to the right.)

Another reason why I love the session is looking back at it I was mature and relaxed enough in my skill to understand when to use lighting and also NOT use lighting. Doing too much can even hinder a photograph, and take away from your subject. In the second photo I chose not to because I saw that at the right angle Sophia's face would be lit just to the point where we would be drawn to it, then secondly to the highly lit flowers that she's admiring. As an audience we're engaged with our subject, and what she's being drawn to.

Chris Elam