David Olkarny - Photographer/Filmmaker

Master of light

03/11/2014 lumière-light-master-sun-flash

I really want to tell you about it.
Without going into technical and physical details about the light, I would like to share with you my approach and my vision.
Of course, I will not hesitate to deal with the the strobist (field of photography that combines flash remotely).

It is well known that lighting is versatile and difficult to manage. This is one of the biggest challenges of the 8th art: to tame lighting.


Imagine that you have managed to capture an expression or to create an original scene, the result will be disappointing if no lighting atmosphere envelops the scene. In most cases, the light contributes to the quality and charm of an image, it gives off the atmosphere and the depth and perspective to which it contributes. With a soft light, well directed and scattered during the shooting, it is possible to teleport the “reader”.
But in practice, on the spot … nothing seems so obvious.

In the field of portraiture, to cite a few instances:

    • It is noon, the sun is at its zenith, it will cause shadows under the eyes, unflattering and difficult to foreclose on Photoshop.
    • The famous “against the light”, the sun is right behind your subject, it will be as dark as a moonless night (if silouhette effect what you want, you’re spot on).
    • During a photo report inside, the room lights are turned on : artificial tungsten light, everyone is orange, it is disastrous.

Just with these three cases, we can find the 4 features of light, whether natural or artificial:

      • Its direction: Where is the source?
      • Its quality: Diffused, thoughtful, direct, indirect?
      • Its intensity: light too strong, too discreet?
      • Its color temperature: Is it too bluish / yellowish or too cold / hot ?

The challenge will be to take into account the physical specifications, to master them and to make them your allies.
Obviously, it is not enough to fully understand lighting. Poor composition, bad framing or a wobbly update you will disadvantage very quickly. It must be a full package, all the ingredients necessary for a successful recipe and good photographic image quality.


It is useful to appreciate and analyze the lighting before / during a shoot, despite its versatile and temperamental character, it is obvious that it is the ligh that will stamp your final image. Better the understanding of light is, the more quality will your photos have.

Everything is good to take according to the desired rendering: a strong side light for a nice contrast, a backlight to light a halo above the subject or the hot and very broad light from a sunset.


Be vigilant, adapt to the whimsical nature of the light, take the time necessary to understand and identify management for a nice atmosphere. The focus on the elements of the image will allow you to understand it better. However, you need not to fear an element of chance, surprise and unexpected as to its appearance, its location or its intensity. Sometimes it is where the magic and spontaneity of the sun is as interesting as that of your subject.
Dare photo, dare! And keep in mind that it is you who are familiar with the light, not the camera.


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