"Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography. "
Moments create emotion, light creates the photo. I feel like the biggest weakness to some photographers, is also the most important aspect. Lighting can be easily overlooked when asked what the most vital aspect is in your work. This is what separates the talent from the trend. The easiest way to determine if someone has "it" is to observe how their subjects are presented. Are the subjects dark to present artistic effect, or because they don't know how to see the opportunity of light? Are obstacles, such as foliage and speckled light, used as framing and depth, or do they take away from the photo by neglect for evenness of light?
Manipulating light is difficult for everyone. Photographers aren't joyous and inventive as soon as they walk into pitch black venue lit by one candle ( But really, I'm sure this has happened somewhere.). If they're like me, a calm smile probably hides the chorus of "OH S#@%" in my head. But that's the challenge. The thrill, so to speak. If you go into a shoot uncertain and then create awesome images, it's a pretty magnificent feeling.
Photographers have many resources to tackle lighting, but of course whether you decide to use them are entirely up to each artist. Lighting equipment, or lack thereof, creates different images, and I just so happen to hate all lighting equipment. Does it work and look amazing for what some photographers are going for? Of course. I just don't feel it has a place in my work. Of course that's not always realistic, and some situations need that added light, and that's where flash comes in. Of course, I'm that photographer who refuses to use flash until is is absolutely necessary. Because of my hatred for the flash and what it does to photos, I've been questioned as an artist. Does straying from flash make anyone less of an artist? (Insert dramatic profane words here) NO. If anything it makes you a better one. Flash helps as the resource when enough light is just not available to manipulate, as well as the crutch to the hobbyist photographer who would rather not be bothered by using light. Everything in this area can help and harm the same.
Lighting is a changing, learning aspect to photography. It's not always easy and then sometimes you're blessed with that beautiful, "ICOULDSHOOTALLDAYINTHIS" light. Learn from it and use it and you'll continue to grow. I have my fine share of misses, but they make the hits so much better. Experiment in the best and worst lighting situations, and you'll be surprised how much more control you gain over your ability. Happy light manipulating!