project for beginners - using lightshade & light pockets

Pockets of light and lightshade are possibly one of the easiest and most efficient ways to really boost your style as a photographer. Becoming fearless of midday sun and creating images which are attractive takes just as much practice as understanding how to use light pockets. Using the information from the graphics on page 30 hunt down some light shade and play around with it, preferably with a human subject. This is your first chance to really improve your skills in portraiture if you are able to find a human or animal subject.*

For lightshade: use walls as your background, but do not put your subject’s back directly against it. Instead have them stand 5 or 6 feet away from it. Open up your aperture a bit and allow the wall some blur as your background to make it a bit more abstract and interesting. Once you have some experience with lightshade, move on to finding light pockets. This is easiest done during the golden hour, and you will still want some background to your subject.

Light pockets may be found in parking garages, in buildings with a great deal of light or even out in nature in between trees.


1. Demonstrate your understanding of creative light with light pockets and lightshade.

2. Use live subjects: humans or animals, although humans are usually easier.

3. Have at least 6 pictures to edit; 3 with light pockets and 3 with lightshade.

4. Edit your images in black and white, unless you feel that color changes the quality of your images for the better.

*In portraiture: the focal point on your subject should always, always, always show the subject’s eyes clearly unless you have a specific reason for not doing so. Meaning that when you take an image of a living subject, the subject’s eyes should always be in focus.

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