Friday, May 08, 2009

You Light Up My Life Friday

Good Morning Everybody,
One really good thing about traveling the country on a lecture tour are the "pause points" we work in along the way. That is exactly what LaDawn and I doing in Portland for the next few days. While talking to the concierge at the hotel yesterday and finding out just how close so many cool Oregon attractions were to our downtown, we decided to stay on in Portland for an additional day or two.

Yesterday we headed up I-84 towards Hood River and enjoyed some great wines from some of the local wineries. That's me with the owner, Robert Morus, of Phelps Creek Vineyard, one of our favorite vineyards in the area. It seems wine-making is not Mr. Morus' only day job. He is a Delta pilot and his love of wine brought him to the Willamette valley in 1989. LaDawn and I gave all of his wines two thumbs way up!

We pasted several waterfalls on the way which we plan to visit again today. The scenery is absolutely magnificent in this part of the country. We are heading up to Mt Hood today and maybe even track down the route to Mt. St. Helen's. Yes, lots on the itinerary, but we are getting a much earlier start than yesterday. I'll keep you posted with a pic or two over the next few days.
On another note - we are still looking for three volunteers for my lecture in Sacramento next Tuesday, Fresno on Thursday and Burbank on the following Monday. Please contact LaDawn at if you would like to help with the set up starting at 3:00, assist with registration and help with the tear down after the show. LaDawn promises some special goodies for the helping hand.

Anyway, let's get on with a brand new series today.

You Light Up My Life Friday
Today I've decided to stand down from my Soap Box for a while and move on to another series. I'm calling it, "You Light Up My Life Friday" sung, of course to the tune by the same name;~)
Many readers have been looking for some lighting answers over on my Skribit widget in the right hand column of the DPT blog. I thought I'd spend the next several weeks addressing many of the lighting situations that come up during a wedding or portrait shoots and address those questions and concerns.

I'm thinking they will be posted in no special order which should add to the spontaneity of the posts and their readings. If there is some you would like me to cover as well, just pop a suggestion in the Skribit widget or leave a comment after this post. I know I've got a backlog of suggestions in the Skribit widget and these posts will help ease that backlog.

OK, let's get to it.
Anyone who has attended my Digital WakeUp Call tour knows that I'm am not a big fan of on-camera flash particularly when the flash is pointed straight ahead. I'm not going into specific reasons why - I do that during my program. Just know that direct flash on the subject is about the least flattering light you can put on your subject.

Yes, I do have a quick fix - just turn your on-camera flash about 90 degrees to the left or right side, bounce it off a wall and, presto - beautiful light. Check out the diagram below to see how I have the flash orientated.
With the light bouncing off the wall, the returning photons now have a direction as they illuminate the subject creating a highlight next to a shadow that creates detail, depth, dimension and a portrait much superior to the on-camera "blast flash" variety.

Check out the second image to see what I'm talking about. The lighting looks great and really flatters the bride - none of that harsh on-camera flash lighting here. Obviously the light can be bounced off of anything as long as it's return path coincides with the direction of light needed for the loop lighting pattern I use so often. You can find out more about classical lighting patterns at my previous post, "Rembrandt Lives - Part 2" right here.

Hey gang, that's our quick "You Light Up My Life" segment for today. We will see everyone in for my DWC in San Francisco on Monday. See ya' down the road. -David


  1. David, I'm looking forward to this series on lighting.

    Thanks for demystifying the use of flash for me. I left from the seminar on Wednesday night with a million more questions but empowered.
    I found extremely valuable your insights on the business side of things and on 'customer service'. The seminar was worth every penny and more!!

    One more thing - I thought that it was so cool that you travel with your wife and she works with you - you guys seem to make such an awesome team! :)

  2. Hi David,
    I look forward to reading your lighting tips. Concerning your diagram, the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection ... ;-)