All About the Light by Elishia Merricks
The best advice a photographer can give is 'it's all about the light.' This doesn't mean that it has to be perfect every time, but it does mean that you should shoot with intention. I’m a natural light photographer so don’t like to work with flash, especially with books, because if you don’t know how to use it, flash can iron out all the interesting nooks and crannies of an image.
So, it's best to take pictures in direct sunlight, right? Wrong. The best conditions for a photo shoot are on a cloudy day as it reduces harsh shadows and casts a soft, diffused light. With this picture, it was a really beautiful day – so naturally, I hid in the shadows to recreate cloud cover. Although the un-edited image looks dark and gloomy, the edit was incredibly easy and can be done on any smartphone in a matter of minutes.
Don’t be afraid of editing – just think of it as recreating what your eyes could see when you were in the moment. I increased the exposure, highlights, and whites to make the background pop, and then to give more definition to the book I lightened the shadows and intensified the black point. You can recreate a similar effect with the contrast slider BUT learning to work each element of an image will give you more control over the final result.
There is, of course, no hard and fast rule when working with light. But once you know the beginner’s rules, that's when you can learn how to break them and get creative.
Comment below, who is your favorite bookstagram photographer?
This article was originally printed in the Fall 2019 issue of Curiositales. If you would like to receive a free digital copy of the magazine, sign up for our newsletter at the top of this page! Then, confirm your email address (be sure to check your spam folder). Once you click the link in your welcome email, you'll get regular news from Curiositales, including notifications when the latest magazine is published. You can unsubscribe whenever you like. Or, you can read it for free here.
Prefer physical copies? Us too! Subscribe to the magazine and receive a print magazine in the mail every quarter along with a whole bunch of bookish surprises!