Photographers are like Moths, they are drawn to the Light.
Never has a truer thing been said. Photography is not about cameras. It’s not about the subject. It’s about the Light. Without the play of light and shadows, contrast and color, texture and reflections that good light produces the subject just has no reason to be photographed.
As I was waiting for my wife and daughter to return from shopping I was walking through the shopping area just people watching. It was about a half hour after sunset and the lights were just coming on. I started shooting working one area to the next and after about three sets of images I stopped to chimp for a moment. As I looked away from my camera and looked back to where I had just been shooting all I could notice was the pool of light at each place that I had stopped. I wasn’t looking for subjects, I was looking for light. The light was what made the images.
In the photo from above I would not have taken a second glance at the area during the day. But at night there was a spotlight that was being reflected from a glass wall that was illuminating this area that caught my attention. The image was an obvious black and white conversion just waiting to happen.
When you are street shooting I have learned that the first thing I look for is the moment. An expression, contrasting subjects, humor. But I get pulled to areas that have “the light”. I just instinctively know that this is an area that I need to check out. Because that is what photography is all about, the light. When you find the light sometimes all you have to do is take an image of the light. A strong photo can be taken of just light, no subject needed.
After you get past the basics of photography you realize that it is the light that makes the image. Take a look at the work of the big name fashion photographers. It’s all about composition and lighting. They are magicians of light. Google the work of Irving Penn. That’s the work of a real master. If you want to take your work to the next level, work on your lighting skills. Anybody can setup a light and snap an image. Learn to say something with light. Develop a lighting style. People will be drawn to your work like moths when you find the light.