Creating magical memories | Finding the light 

(my continued series for artist and clients)

I just had a wonderful mentor session this weekend with a client that came to me from Raleigh, NC.

When we were location scouting I had asked her…What questions do you have for me and she said “How do I find the light ?”

I thought this brings up a great point and thought it would be useful to a lot of photographers !

Here are some pointers on what to do for a future where you are in search of the light.

These tips are based off of outdoor shooting . It can be applied to indoor – you would just be looking for light source through windows and such.

Look for catch light (a light source that causes a specular highlight in a subject’s eye in an image) in the eyes of your subject. You may have to move your subject around .I find having them turn slowly until you see beautiful light in their eyes works great. I often wear white or cream or ivory at my sessions . I also bring a reflector & scrim ( that is another point though – i will go over in a moment ) . You can get great catch light from your subject looking towards the sky too.

Reflector ( a reflector is an improvised or specialised reflective surface used to redirect light towards a given subject or scene) This is like my BFF ( i mean not in the super literal sense 😉 ) I have a 5 in 1 from amazon that does a great job and was very affordable . I typically will find a way to hold this and shoot. Lucky for me I hired an assistant now and she does a great job holding it for me ( I also trained her in how it works so she is knowledgable on site). I also own a 4×6 scrim jim . I have been using this almost every session – it’s great for family sessions.

Open Shade (a spot that is shaded, however have a light source around- avoid putting your subject in those hot spots if under a tree ) For me personally midday , bright sun is not my go to look. I prefer open shade and often use this in the beginning of my session before “golden hour” ( when I do a bulk of my shooting) This is wonderful for capturing that catch light in your subjects eyes. By placing your subject in shade facing the light it can create a dramatic look with the diffused light. Also, bring that reflector with you so you can bring some light onto your subject if needed.

Over Cast ( The state of the sky when it is covered by clouds) Natures natural diffuser 😉 (wish I could say I made that up …I heard that somewhere ) . You wouldn’t know it from most of my photography. However I LOVE a overcast day. I will start about 30 minutes or so earlier than usually just because at golden hour ( when I typically shoot ) you loose light a lot faster with the clouds . I love how the sun illuminates the clouds . During those evenings when the sunset is that beautiful orange color it will light the area with this beautiful pink cast – oh I just LOVE it when that happens .

Back light ( is the process of illuminating the subject from the back) – I typically do this again around golden hour and this is what gives my subjects that beautiful rim lighting & glow through their hair and clothes.

Twilight or last light : ( This is the time before sunrise and after sunset where it is still light outside, but the sun is not in the sky ) almost acts the same as overcast. Depending on when you live (here it’s very hilly) you will get a beautiful cast of light from sunset through last light

These are some of the  most natural ways of “finding the light” I hope this helps !

Are you are interested in one on one mentoring ?

View my client magazine on page 15 for details (click zoom to view it at it’s best )

or of course please contact me direct and I would be happy to chat with you 🙂

To find more on my continued series “Creating magical memories “ please search my blog and check back often for more tips & tools meant for photographers and clients!


Pamela Salai photography | Finding the light

7:22 p.m. / September 7

1/500 , 3.5, 200 mm , iso 500

( I always intentionally under expose)