Photography Tips: Light and Composition
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Photography Tips: Light and Composition

October 11, 2019

well this obviously isn’t somewhere warm
and sunny is it light the light on my face how look how hard is look at these shadows on
my nose this is the most appalling light for soft subjects like a human being
isn’t it is really really harsh and spiky but that doesn’t mean it’s bad
light it just means you think about where you going to use it for how about
some harsh and what could be more harsh than an airplane wreck I’m out in Iceland
with Thor again on our Iceland workshop and what a great opportunity to show you
some stuff now im not suggesting you have to go to Iceland this could be rock stars
could be a tree in the Sun in the park whatever it is I want to have a little
look how can we exploit and use some very very hard and spiky light now
natural wisdom would suggest I go over here somewhere with a wide lens because
we want the light coming in from the side and I see it from here and it’s ok
you can see ’cause truck in the background yeah rara but use your first building
block of photography done my first but photography think about that use your
brain think ok dont just go crazy then go rushing in to shoot things without
thinking how would this look because Suns up here
and it’s coming along the fuselage can come and look the light is washing along with
use of the aircraft and you can see there’s this kind of sheen the shine
going on but also look at these you see this shadow in here all these little
holes those are creating texture is along the fuselage of the aircraft very small
that they are what is going to make the shot so I’m thinking what we should do
shoot against the light just hard light doesn’t seem to go against it and just
walking back here is i’m looking at it I can see how interesting the shot is
becoming just walk around when you’re shooting you know move around as you do
it so so sorry about this will more who got Thor on camera again viewers I reckon about here now using the light
we also gonna think about composition what sort of composition do we want to use idlike to give it
a bit of space this is the wilderness and no you can see this tire tracks
people come here to look at this shame we don’t have virgin snow but we don’t
know what sort of a shot in my thinking I want to see the aircraft kind of
lonely and its environment so when you use a shortish widest lens that we too
worried about shooting against the light always used lens hood it will help
protect against flair but I miss a more about a minute so we’re in snow we know that snow
makes things it confuses the camera the camera make things dark so what exposure
are you gonna want willing to manually so we take our starting point by composing the
picture we want then having a look see what the camera tells me that the
cameras telling me that I want to use where are we gonna go with a F16 is a
good field camera is t elling me im on one hundred and twenty fifth of a second at F16 with ISO of 100 great starting point try it you know dont be a afraid to experiment so let’s put the
camera plane down in the lower left sort of third
give it a bit of space I like the sky above it looking at my histogram high-tech pretty
much perfect so why is that perfect when we know that the the the the cameras
light meter to be confused by the brightness of the snow is because we got the
darkness of the aircraft as well and the blueness of the sky always trust your
histogram looking at this histogram there is lots of data it’s to the right
is up in the middle we’ve got everything we need there to
make this work now what happened if the histogram was wrong what happened what will happen if its too bright or too dark just adjust the exposure exposure changes shutter speed until you
get it where it needs to be so that’s looking really great let’s go in a
little closer let’s just try slightly different composition is moving a bit
and I can extend the focal length slightly so ive gone from 24 minutes on a full frame
to thirty five-millimeter just brought in a slightly more natural
perspective by placing the plane on the lower left kind of giving it more of a
leading line into the shot notice I’m had to change the exposure I’m using
manual exposure is instead the life hasn’t changed nothing’s changed now we
can really think about what we’re going to do with the picture back like coming
up the fuselage is really interesting if we can exploit it some more by moving
over to my right as we come to the right the light is coming more along the
fuselage which is adding to that highlight haha I like let’s just focus
on the plane line up our shot get the horizon level take it again i think thats looking really cool I really do like the way the light is
coming up that fuselage but there’s another t thing we can do that is how about using the
light source the Sun itself as a feature within the image when using the lighting
as part of the picture so what I’m gonna do is look at the shadow here and see if
we can put the Sun just sneaking across the edge of the fuselage so to do that we
just gotta find the place where that will lines up a wide lens 24 millimetres
just find the place squinting into the Sun I like that focus
on the plane see where it goes off to the left like that check the histogram based I’m
starting to the Sun the histograms a bit too far to the right I need to reduce
the exposure I want to maximize what I can get from the sky so Im gonna take that from 120th to
200 of a second find the place where it works again at Sunday’s clipping over the edge
of the top of the aircraft there it is out there its hard
to focus so you need to just be careful with this about there looking good to my eyes out here in the bright the
image it’s quite dark on the screen but the histogram is telling me that I’ve
got the data that Im not only shooting the image we’re also using the
light source as part of the image is a peculiar thing we can use all sorts of
stuff we can also just include the Sun in the shot to the left a little to move
back this time to give it more space walking really look at things see how things change the alignment as
you move now I’m sitting with a wide lens with the Sun in the sky I wanna get the reflection on the water
and the light coming down aircraft with really small you can probably see that
in the video camera so don’t be afraid to shoot into the light thor is doing now can
you see me Thor we got a nod but I’m guessing the background is very
bright indeed but there you go so look play with light to be afraid to experiment
shoot into the light line with your exposes use the light itself creatively
as we did just then but putting across the edge of the fuselage of the aircraft
I get back in the warm place – it’s bloody freezing subscribe to our YouTube channel to be
notified each time we upload one of our cool photography videos will for more
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  1. As always, another great piece of photographic advice. If all the latest reports are to be believed with regards to El Nino, we may well have enough of the white stuff of our own this year. Should keep all those "snow is beautiful" photographers happy. Not sure how I am going to get my hands on a fuselage though! ……time to give my mate Del Boy a ring lol. Nice one Mike.

  2. Great lesson! I absolutely love your way of explaining things.

    If you are ever going to do a course in the Netherlands, please let me know. I would be very pleased to join!

  3. Just amazing how you inspire . Knowledge , language, everything encourages me to go out and shoot! Thank you very much for being there and sharing .

  4. Thanks Mike. Another good one for composition. Only one thing bothers me – the video camera is giving us white snow, while the still shots make it blue. I noticed on the LCD that you're using a 'Sunlight' setting for the White Balance. I know that, shooting Raw, we can change the WB later but what would the other WB settings give? If set to 'Cloudy', I imagine it would warm up the image a little., maybe turning the blue to white?

  5. Great teaching style, Mike. So well illustrated and demonstrated. I love your vids, so instructive, thank you.

  6. talking about post production, i saw your Camera kit video, where yo talked about carrying ur Fuji and your D600 and you showed this picture after you edited it, added a man on top of the plane, and made the sky green and all sorts of things? my weakness is post production and i just cant seem to get my head around it.

  7. After watching so many of your videos I just had to leave a thank you.

    I literally want to jump out of my seat and take pictures because I feel like I'm learning something new every minute. Thank you for sharing your approach and passion. There is a joy that I think all of us viewers can see. I can't wait to support you further in the future (I don't even have a camera yet but I will be ready when I do!).

  8. I keep finding my way back to your videos and every time I watch I get inspired in different ways. Thank you for your videos! I hope to use what I am learning from you …though I'm going to wait until it's warmer out.

  9. hey Mike,
    why you shoot in AdobeRGB…because most of the photographers say to shoot in sRGB..can you please explain this?

  10. There's a nice article about the history of this aircraft and how it came to be where it is here:

    Great videos BTW Mike. Very useful, informative, and most of all, inspiring. Thank you.

  11. I noticed that the pictures had a nice rich deep blue sky. Did you have a polarized filter on or help from Lightroom? Because I do remember you mentioning that when using a polarized filter that the light should always be coming from the sides and not straight on.

  12. thanks. i just started photography. hoping to learn more from your videos. watched this vid and i immediately subscribed.

  13. First the light, then the composition, then the exposure…I really like the emphasis you put on your priorities as a photographer, and your infectious enthusiasm.

  14. Very under-rated channel !! I learned so much from this channel. I like how he is teaching things in a very easy to understand way, to the point, no bs. Great job!

  15. Mike, it would be loads of fun to be able to hang-out and shoot with you. You do make it fun. I completely understand what you are going for and how you are going about getting it. In time, I hope the steps you follow will come naturally for me, as well. Great stuff!!!

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