Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Shoot What It Feels Like

by Judy

"Don't shoot what it looks like.  Shoot what it feels like." I try to keep this quote from photographer David Alan Harvey in mind when I'm shooting, but like many things, it is easier said than done.  

As photographers, we spend so much time learning the technical aspects of photography and perfecting these techniques.  I believe this to be a necessary step to good photography, but there comes a time when we must push some of the rules of photography aside to truly shoot what it feels like. 

Some times when I shoot, I'm unhappy with the way my photos come out.  They are usually technically correct, but they haven't captured the moment the way I had envisioned it.  I have found that one area of photography that I am usually able to capture "what it feels like," is through back lighting.  I was delighted when Kelly chose this to be our theme for June since back lit photos can be so magical.

Do you remember the old rule to always shoot with the sun at your  back?  (And do you have many an old photo, probably from your childhood, where everyone is squinting horribly into the sun as they pose for a photo?)  That rule needs to be thrown out when shooting backlit photos!

The backlit photo up top is far from technically perfect, yet it does capture "what it felt like." I love how back lighting can create an ethereal feel.

Back lighting can help you shoot what it feels like by bringing out the tiny details of your subject.

Back lighting can create magical silhouettes.

And, if paired with the golden hour, back lighting can create a magical golden glow over the most mundane field of weeds.  

I know that this monthly theme is almost over, but with summer's longer days and good weather to get outside and practice, I hope that you continue to capture some magic all summer long by back lighting your subjects and shooting what it feels like!


Sandra said...

I love this article, Judy, and your examples of back-light shots are just gorgeous. My personal favourites are the water shot with the bird and the very last one which is quite magical!

Carol said...

So true Judy -and that second shot is a stunner!

Cathy H. said...

Each one of these photos are simple gorgeous! My favorite is the bird. Oh, I love those ribbons of color! I think entirely too much emphasis is put on technically correct photos. I'm not a professional photographer nor do I want to be. I am a photographer that simply wants to capture moments and wonders of nature. I find more and more that even though I know and sometimes get a technically right photo, I'm happier with my photography when I don't worry about technicalities, but just enjoy the moment of capturing what I see.

terriporter said...

Oh, you made me laugh with that example of people squinting on the beach! Your backlighting examples are all so beautiful! There is no replacing feeling in a photograph with technical perfection. I'll go for feeling every time!

Sarah Huizenga said...

Backlighting is one of my favorites. Yes, the squinty faces of childhood, yikes!

Dotti said...

Such beautiful examples of backlit photography. I remember the evenings in Galveston when we all trekked to the field to watch the sun go down. Your last photo reminded me of that. What fun we had! And, yes, photos with feelings are better than technically correct photos with no soul. Even David duChemin agrees! I read it in a recent newsletter. So we must be on to something good!

Focusing on Life said...

The last photo that reminds you of our Galveston trip is from one of our evening trips for sunset photos! Good eye Dotti.

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