Training your “eye” to really see the light in any given scene is the most important step toward improving your photography.
To see the lighting we must learn to stop and look at the actual shadows and gradients. Seeing is about awareness, but it isn’t easy at first. It takes a conscious decision to stop, and actually look and search the scene at length – to know what we see. The more you look, the more you will see and thinking about what you see will soon becomes the norm.
Learning to see the light is to consciously study the scene and the interplay of light and shadows the light creates. Ask questions such as – Is the scene comprised of hard light or soft light? How will my camera react, and will it be able to record detail in both the highlights and the shadows? This will in turn teach you to see the way your camera “sees” and records. Once you know that, you will then know how to adapt to any given light in any given scene.
The second most important step is to know your camera well enough to react quickly, technically, accurately and creatively to that light. This alone will set you apart as a photographer who “interprets”what he sees rather than someone who merely records what they saw. It is this ability, to recognize and respond to light, that gives us the ability to show our viewers a new way to “see” any given subject “in a new light”.
In short, as photographers, it should be our consant pursuit to marry the technical and the creative and use the light available to us as effectively as possible. All of this will better equip us to convey our own way of seeing. But before we can do that it is imperative that we regularly practice looking, seeing, and thinking, whether we have a camera in our hands or not. If you have not started yet, there is a whole world of, at this point, unseen possibilities that will soon be yours to shoot.