One of the most exciting things for me as a photographer, is recognizing light. Light is all around us, in every aspect of our lives. We use light for mood, to express emotion, to watch a ball game, to stop us at an intersection, and on and on.
I play a game with myself and light. Wherever I go, I look for the sources of the ambient light that surrounds an area. I look for the depth and strength of the light, how it casts a shadow, where is the best place to interact with the light when I take a photo, etc.
The "Golden Hour", (The hour before sunset, and the hour after sunrise), is the best time for portraits and general photography outside. Why? The light is not as intense as in the middle of the day, and the shadows help to create depth in our photography. As a photographer I am ruled by light. If I can't find the right light, than I need to create my own, or mix the ambient light with my controlled light, (by using flash or other means to create fill, backlight or whatever the mood requires).
Recently I had the opportunity to create the engagement images for Matt and Rebekah. We found a spot along the coast, and I was excited that we had a low fog that continually moved in and out. The light created by this mix of fog and sun, was perfect for creating soft portraiture. I also used off camera flash to help fill my image with light when shooting toward the sun.
When pursuing photography, always look, and question the light and how you can make it work for you and the story you hope to tell with your pictures!