As a photographer, it is my job to “see” light.  As a photographer of people, it is also my job to make people look as good as they possibly can. The #1 technique to making a person look either fantastic or terrible is by my use of light (both available outdoor light and in the studio.)

When I meet my clients for the first time, I have to look at the shape of their face, their skin texture and asses their features to decide on the light that will be most flattering to their face.  I often look at photos and say “yuck!” what was that photographer thinking when they lit a person like that! All light is not created equal, and it takes a very sophisticated eye to see and create the best light.  So, after harping on this subject for the past few years – I accidentally proved my point while recently photographing a headshot client.  Take a look at these two photos.

These photos were taken from the same camera angle, with the same focal length, pose, everything – I just made an ever so slight change in the lighting. 

In the first image, look at how dark & shadowy her eyes are and how the wrinkles under her eyes ar accentuated.  Some photographers would shoot the client with this light because they don’t know how to make it better, and they would just lighten the eyes and re-touch her wrinkles in post.  However, in the second image – all I did was bring in a 4×6 foot black reflector to block all the light coming from above her.  Now, in image number 2, the strongest light is coming from the front of her – and therefore her eyes are brightly lit and those shadows under her eyes have been filled.  It’s simple – you just have to see the light and see how you can fix it 🙂