That’s what I love about the art and profession of photography. There are so many different ways to think about how you work and present your work to the world… Today’s quote comes from National Geographic photographer Sam Abell. He has said that he could be perfectly happy with his photography even if his only subject was light itself. Here’s Sam’s quote which references a different way of thinking about photography than I do.

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As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something and show it to the camera.
A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.”   Sam Abell

When you see light as well as Abell does, as well as knowing how the camera sees and interprets what our eye sees, you can make fabulous images without supplemental light. I often see and hear people say these days I’m ONLY a ‘Natural Light’ photographer. While there are some fabulous exceptions like Abell that phrase is mostly code for, “I don’t know how to use flash or other supplemental light and can’t be bothered or am too scared to learn my craft.”

All light is useful in creating the best image of our subject. In the case of natural light it often means returning to a place or scene when the light is more favorable to show off the scene better. many times especially when working against a time constraint like a deadline for a commercial project, or ‘the family will only be together for this date and time’ or other such reason. The true pro will still create a beautiful image because he or she will be able to use all of the tools available including flash and additive or subtractive lighting.

Want to be a better photographer? Study light in all it’s forms and permutations. You’ll be glad you did!

Here are two head shot portraits of Sam Abell. Tells of two different sides and conveys different messages. What’s the major difference? Light.

sam abell head shot photographsam abell head shot photo

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS I am still learning light and it’s language every chance I get attending as many conventions and seminars as possible. I’ve been doing this for about fifteen years.

Maybe I’m a slow learner.

Or maybe there’s a LOT to learn.