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Winter comes as a challenge to many photographers, especially wedding photographers.  There is a certain lull to business that lends time to better your craft and prepare for the coming busy season.  My mentor and my friend, Larry Spencer of Spencer Photography, Inc. is an amazing Cleveland, Ohio photographer.  He has pushed me and challenged me to better myself. This evening I had the opportunity to work with Larry and his back up assistant, Deb in Downtown Akron, OH near the Akron Art Museum with clients Chantel and Timmell.

The focus of tonight, as always, is lighting.  Lighting is key to creating a beautiful image, and everything else follows.  Since it was an evening session, lighting was even more of a challenge to find and create.  The Akron Art Museum is a great daytime location as it provides opportunities for window reflections and silver siding for a natural light reflector, as well as many geometric shapes and lines.  Larry spent the evening trying some new techniques with and without video lights.  Video lights are great as you can set up the lighting and see through the lens exactly the image you will create, however they do not freeze movement quite like strobe flash does, so it requires a steadier hand.

One lighting technique that I would like to personally work on is hair lighting.  When setting up off camera flash or video lights, there are often two lights used, one to light the subjects face, etc, and one to light the subject’s hair.  The hair lighting gives an extra dimension to the image.  Standing between the two lights, as if standing at the peak of a triangle, gives optimal lighting to the subjects face, creating contrast and simple shadows which helps to show the details of the subject, instead of blasting out all of the details with on-camera flash.

Other light sources used were street lights, lighting from a lighted display billboard and even the lights on the very top of the art museum.  The top of the art museum lighting was an awesome technique.  Larry posed the couple standing in front of the museum and then laid with his back on the ground.  He proceeded to instruct the couple to bend at their waist until it appeared in his lens that the couple were standing upright.

I am so thankful to have a mentor like Larry Spencer to give insight and direction into this ever evolving art.

At the end of the night, Deb and I got to test out our modeling skills and pose for one last shot of the evening:

Akron Ohio PhotographerI am looking forward to improving on these techniques we focused on tonight!


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