Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Ambient Light vs Strobes and Portaits #17 and #18...

Photography rule #1: always look for the light.

I took portraiture as a field of interest when I started playing around with strobes. I started with ambient light like almost everyone I know and my inspiration for my portraits came from Danny Santos, who is a well known ambient light, street portrait shooter. I also was inspired to do 100 portraits just like him.

And lately I have been leaning towards shooting in ambient light. If you'd ask me why: its always about simplicity.

Photographers these days think of concepts and themes, go with outlandish makeup and costumes, and consume time with setting up and everything else when they should be shooting. Truth be told, I never had a strobist or concept shoot that started on time and ended up the way I wanted it to be. It's not that I don't get good results out of it; its just that I hate having to take too much effort to get where I want to be.

Playing around with strobes has its merits. You'll always have full control of the light source, you can move it around without changing composition. And you light will always be what you want it to be. Not to mention, you can light only the parts of the person you want to be visible, which is impossible with ambient light (or at least I haven't figured it out yet).

So what path do I choose? If given a choice, I'd be doing ambient lighting for its simplicity. I am a firm believer that simple portraits can be great, and can even be better than any studio shoot if done correctly. My aim is to be better in photography and going back to the basics and all natural feel is probably the best way to go.

But that doesn't mean I wont be shooting with strobes anymore... I'll take any opportunity to shoot. So, I'll end this blog with two additional shots for my 100 portraits project. One is done in ambient light and the other is with strobes. The one in ambient light is my best Danny Santos impersonation as of the moment; I'll get the hang of it eventually. I guess you'd be the judge on what suits me better.

Portrait #17: Maggie

Portrait #18: Gail

PS: special thanks to Kaye Garino for the makeup on Gail. 

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