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Tips & Tricks

How To Capture That “National Geographic Style” | Bob Holmes

By Wendell Weithers on May 9th 2017

Bob Holmes is a National Geographic travel photographer and, as such, he finds himself constantly confronted with the challenge of shooting in unique environments in which he cannot control the light.

By choice and by the necessity, traveling light he forgoes the luxury a packing extensive lighting equipment. What this produces is a more basic and more raw form of photography that is no less captivating. Mr. Holmes has mastered the skill of evaluating available light and, in this brief conversation, shares rays of wisdom to help you do the same.

Bob’s Rays of Wisdom

“You have to be aware of light and what it does and, probably more importantly, how the camera reacts to that light.”

“You have practice and shoot things under different lighting conditions so that you know exactly what the end result is going to look like.”

“Always expose for the highlights and let the shadows look at after themselves.”

Two Kinds of Lighting

Bob goes into discussion about two kinds of light he endeavors to encounter in the field: Rembrandt Lighting and Vermeer Lighting.

Using Remebrandt Lighting as Bob desribes it, means taking images where the light source is entirely within the frame. Vermeer Lighting is when lighting is coming from outside of the frame through something like a window.

Rembrandt Lighting

Vermeer Lighting

[REWIND: Another Photojournalist Cautionary Tale | Are Souvid Datta’s ‘Mistakes’ Forgivable?]

Listening to Bob’s advice about shooting really makes the process of capturing great images in the field simple. But simple doesn’t mean they aren’t stunning.

If you’d like to learn more about natural lighting you can learn from the following resources below.

3 Simple Lighting Techniques for Problematic Scenes | FREE WEBINAR

Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

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