Light and airy lessons from a trash can

Long before I ever owned a camera of my own or could check one out from Mr Jones' Digital Imaging class, I borrowed one from a friend. Savannah and I grew up together - elementary school all the way to college and our current fave: coffee dates.

She had this point and shoot and I asked to borrow it almost constantly when we were on mission trips (and really any summer adventure). Isaac says I created the idea of selfies because I was always flipping that camera around, grabbing a friend, and taking photo after photo. 

After several trips of snagging her camera, all of us started to notice this trend - I took photos of trash cans all the time.

So weird, Jordan. [I'm laughing so hard right now!]

I liked some photos and didn't care for others. So I started paying attention to the photos that I liked and noticed one, tiny difference about the photos that grabbed my attention...

Light and airy photo lessons from a trashcan

In the photos I absolutely loved, the trashcan was lit and "glowing" on all sides.

Light and airy photo tips - what a trash can can teach you

I started using this little trick when I was looking for photo locations and noticed that when the trashcan was lit on all sides, eyes also sparkled. Not only that, but the skin tones looked so even and illuminated.

When you see a trashcan that is illuminated on all sides, you’ve found an ideal place for light & airy photos.
— @jordanbrittley

Just take a look at my birthday photos, which were taken further down this same alley...

Now, I totally get it - you don't want to bring all of your clients to an alley and shoot by a trash can! So you can actually just use your camera for this.

When you don't know where the pocket of light is on a wedding day, you can hold a pen or your camera out in front of you and walk around until you find that pocket. The light on the pen/camera will shift as you move. Keep walking until the pen/camera is lit on all sides.


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After you get used to looking for that type of light, you'll start to see light differently and you won't need to walk around looking for good light. It will become like an instinct. Soon, you'll be able to arrive on location and immediately know where you want to shoot.