This talk was a free event provided by Amateur Photographer and Nikon (of whom Kate is an ambassador) and I was lucky enough to bag a ticket.
Kate’s website is here http://www.katehopewellsmith.com/
Her talk gave a background to her career which surprisingly only began in 2007 and is, as she pointed out an example of what can be achieved in the industry (even in this time of increased competition – I would add) I liked the quote she used – “In the right light at the right time everything is extraordinary – Aaron Rose” – and I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of Mr Rose, but agree 100% with his comment.
What I found most interesting and clearly pertinent to the part of the course I am now doing, is her use of natural light.
Kate explained that she used the full canvas of the setting with one powerful key-light – the sun. She pointed out that the modern digital camera, for all its strengths, is still a computer which reads reflected light and fails in tricky light conditions. She shoots manually and does not “pre scout” locations as light cant always be anticipated, and meters for the highlights.
She had a list of some pointers for producing good natural light work:-
- Not good for form enhancing
- Location should be based on direction of light
- Overcast light not good for portraits
- Make sure you can see the colour of the subject’s eyes
- differentiate between portrait (ie directed) light and location light
- flat light requires more work on composition
- direct sun not good for portraits – squinting.
- Form enhancing but takes precision to get right
- Chiaroscuro (Check out here:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiaroscuro)
- easier to work with individuals than groups*
- Use window for light source (Jane Bown?)
- Not flattering for skin
- rim light or silhouette
- can give warmth (glow)
- may need to add light if subject in shadow -reflected light – add as needed