Taking just one picture rarely satisfies our photographic urges, we often like to work our subject matter. This process of experimentation helps to loosen up our creative muscles, dispel inhibitions and drive our imagination and technical skills into maximum convergence.
This method also gets us looking, seeing and paying closer attention to our surroundings. It’s what helps us learn and become better photographers. As with any experimentation, it’s all about “What if?” What if I used a different lens? What if I changed backgrounds? What if I shot from a different vantage point?
I grabbed these two shots within a couple of minutes of each other. The only real difference between the two is that that I simply moved 180 and shot from the other direction. The Alaska winter sun made for interesting light on both frames, but notice how I used the light in each shot.
In the first image, the warm sunlight is my main light source, whereas in the second shot, I’m using shaded ambient light as my main light source. The direct sunlight becomes an accent, or key light; it doesn’t illuminate the subject, it merely acts as an secondary light that gives the shot some added zing. Note how it also completely changes the quality of the background.
Pay attention to these kind of things when you’re out shooting. Both techniques work equally well, but depending on how you want to portray your subject, you might have a preference for how you use your light. Going one step further, once you begin to understand how to use natural light in different ways, suddenly, using flash doesn’t seem so intimidating.