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A Lesson in Incorporating Natural Light

By Chris Corradino on July 8th, 2014

Sophisticated strobe lights are not required to make an effective portrait.

Working with only natural light, the photographer has captured a poignant photo of Pope Francis. Had The Pope been lit with artificial light, the entire mood would change dramatically.

But, by choosing to leave the shadows darker, the photographer allows us to almost feel the weight of Pope Francis' contemplative expression. Rather than looking directly into the camera, he gazes off into the distance. This creates a sense of mystery and leads the viewer to wonder what he is thinking.

An observant eye may also notice what appears to be the shape of a cross in the window. The shape is further accentuated by the bright white light that beams in from outside. Whether it is an actual crucifix or a shadow from the window is irrelevant. The photographer noticed it and knowingly incorporated it into the photograph's composition.

This type of attention to detail can set a professional apart from the masses. It involves a thoughtful approach to image making, rather than a rapid fire approach.

An internet search will yield thousands of images of Pope Francis. Yet, this one stands apart as a truly unique capture. The photo succeeds not only at recording the event, but also offers a glimpse at the human side of one of the world's most influential public figures.

Want more? Learn photography with the New York Institute of Photography, the largest and longest running photography school in the world. Get started today.

About the Author

Chris Corradino is the head of the photography mentor program at NYIP. Just like all of our mentors, he is also a professional photographer.


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