A photograph holds a composition and captures light. Throughout the years, the lighting style in my photographs has been soft, natural and light handed. Whether working with digital cameras or film cameras, the need is the same: to reduce the contrast between the highlights and shadows. I like the analogy of what we can see versus what a cat can see. A cat sees in the brightest of day and the darkest of night whereas we need sunglasses at day and a flashlight at night.
For the camera, the photo print or the monitor, we need to compress the light range of shadows and highlights to a narrower range. Compressing this light range can be done by filling in the shadows or controlling the highlights. Lighting for photographs needs to first address this compression.
The second part of lighting is capturing the fall of light into a space, making the photo inviting. Working with the sun, I watch how the light plays in a room and I seek to be shooting when a natural glow is present. I often still need to bring my own lights to fill in the shadows and maintain a “natural” lighting feeling.
The third part of lighting is defining form and keeping color rendition true.
Here are examples of photographs that have a natural, available light quality yet all needed some of the two hundred pounds of equipment that I bring to my photo shoots.