What do you see? Look around you… what do you SEE? Okay, now close your eyes. Close them really tight. Squeeeeeze those eyelids shut. Now what do you see? Okay, now open your eyes. What do you see? You see light. Light reflected off of objects. Without light we would see nothing at all. Without light photography would not be possible, nor would it be relevant. Lighting is what often times separates the amateurs from the pros. Because it is a make or break issue many amateurs or dabblers feel like it is an insurmountable mountain. I say, not so. You are a master of light but just don’t know it. You have experienced light your entire life. The only issue is that you have taken it for granted. You are okay with the green cast those florescent bulbs cast on your faces. You are okay with the dark circles the sun creates under your friend’s eyes at noon. All because your brain filters it out. Tricky, tricky. Our brains are very good at sly deception. Now, however, I would like you to overpower your brain and simply observe. Observe what light looks like. It is said (Urban Legend) that Eskimo’s have 400 words for snow (in fact they have 12). There are many more words for light. Here are a few to get you started: for sunlight (daylight) you have dappled, shade, diffused, direct, magic, golden, reflected… for non-daylight you have tungsten, florescent, halogen, neon… Don’t forget candle light from fire, or moonlight which is actually sunlight reflected off of the moon. Just look around you and you will know what looks good and what does not. A great rule of thumb when lighting people: the bigger the specular highlight the better the light will be. If all you see is a little spec, or no light reflecting in the eyes at all, you can be pretty certain you do not have good light. Observe, then shoot. Analyze, then shoot again. Become a student of light and you will become a brilliant photographer.