How to Take Control of the Light to Improve Your Photography

More light is not always better light. You need to take control of it in order to make wonderful shots. In this video, photographer Cliff Mautner shows how controlling and directing light is way better than just having more light in general:

The goal is to be in control of the light all the time. Even if you are outdoors, you can still control the light by using obstacles to block it, reflectors to direct it, flash to augment it, and so on.

Rearrange the Room

Mautner says that whenever you walk into a room you need to judge and understand the light conditions and then alter them according to your needs. He practically redecorated the hotel room in order to fit the light and scene to his needs. Take that example and use it for your own shoots.

bride preparation scene

Modify the Light

Keep in mind that you can get really creative when modifying the light using everything at your disposal. Mautner used dark blinds to block out light, however, if you need softer light coming through your windows, you can use white transparent blinds to soften up the light. Essentially you’ll be creating a window softbox. That’s just one example. There are countless ways to modify existing light.

Even though Mautner uses quite expensive gear, it doesn’t mean that you can’t control your light with cheaper gear. It is all about the planning. It might take you a tad more fiddling with the settings and setup but nothing can stop you from achieving the same look, or at least getting very close to that which would be sufficient to almost anyone. Also, it doesn’t have to mean that you’ll work with that little amount of light that Mautner decided to work with.

bide portrait

“More light is not better light. Once you understand that you can control this light—use these little slivers of light—whether you are shooting a wedding or just your kids at home, you are going to see what a huge difference this makes.”

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever