l am hugely excited to bring you an interview with the talented and creative Jessica Lutz. Her beautiful images are full of depth and emotion. Read on to find out how Jessica harnesses light to help enhance emotion and mood in her images. You can find out more about Jessica and see more of her work at the links included below.
1.Can you briefly describe your photography learning journey up until now?
I am a self taught Photographer. I purchased my first DSLR (Canon Rebel) 6 years ago. I haven’t done any mentoring/workshops. I am pretty shy so I stuck to teaching myself. I did a lot of reading and experimenting. I certainly had my struggles over the years, especially in the beginning. Now, after a lot of hard work my style of work/ in shooting/processing is exactly what I wanted it to be from the very beginning.
2. (a)Can you tell us a bit more about how you approach using light in your images?
Light sets the mood for the photo so I approach light by thinking about what I am trying to say, deciding what emotion am I trying to convey.
2(b)Do you use all natural light/ studio light/ speedlight/ OCF?
I mostly use Natural Light. I have a few speedlights but they are collecting dust. I very recently used OCF for the 1st time and loved it for weddings. I plan to learn it all though, so I can break those rules too ;D
2(c)Do you have a favorite time of day to shoot?
Early morning, and around 9-10am and and 1-2hrs before evening golden hour and of course golden hour itself.
2(d)Can you describe your ideal lighting scenario?
It really depends on what I am shooting. I myself in general prefer moody light. Give me some dramatic light/shadows and I am a happy girl.
2(e)Are there any lighting situations which you completely avoid?
I will completely avoid using flash until there is no other option.
3.Can you describe how you use lighting to add to/ emphasize mood/ emotion in your images?
Well, I believe myself to be an emotive photographer. If there is no emotion behind the photo or in the photo -it’s pointless. If I want to convey a sadness I could use a soft golden light that emulates the delicateness but at the same time I could use a moody dramatic light to really emphasize the immensity of the emotion. The emotion I want to evoke needs to be a forethought not an afterthought. Therefore, is the subject a peaceful/hopeful kind of sad or a harsh/gritty/raw sad? I plan that out prior to shooting.
4.What is your preferred equipment choice?
My Canon 5DMKii and 50mm 1.4. I use this combo the majority of the time, everything else collects dust.
5. What have been your lighting ‘aha’ moments?
I’d have to say when I realized there is beauty in all light not just the golden hour. I was restricting myself by only shooting at this one magical time a day. Forcing myself to learn how to embrace all light was only going to enhance my work.
6. Do you break any ‘rules’ in photography and if so, how has this aided your creativity/ vision?
Absolutely. I break the rule of thirds all the time, I limb chop, I like negative space, I shoot into the light, I shoot wide open the majority of the time and I’d rather us a 50 to shoot a wedding than a 24-70, to name a few. It is true though as Pablo Picasso says “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Learning the rules helped me to learn how to take a well exposed image and also helped me learn how to break them to achieve a desired look. Breaking the rules in photography once you have learned them helps with fine tuning yourself, your work and discovering your style.
7. Can you share some some of your favourite images and talk us through why these are your favourites?
This image of two of my good friends. I shot their engagement at a vineyard. The sun was setting and we were pretty much done then he picked up this flower to hand to her and I caught it and gorgeous natural light. It’s practically SOOC (straight out of camera). I could have turn that SOOC red light to a more golden colour but I love this photo because the red really emphasize the passion/love these to have for one another.
The light in this self portrait is from my living room window. It’s soft yet moody. I was trying to portray a hopeful kind of sadness. I love it because it makes me think “light at the end of the tunnel” which brings me to think of “rebirth” and “growth” and “change” and “healing”. And this photo was really about all those things.
This photo was taken during a difficult time. My husband’s sister had just passed away from Cancer a few days prior and we were struggling with a variety of emotions. I love this photo of us because it speaks volumes to our love and connection as well as our support of one another and what we were going through at the time. The soft light aids to the overall feel of the photo- love, delicate emotions and sadness. The light is soft/light and there is light/hope in all suffering and sadness.
7. Where do you look to for inspiration?
In literally everything. We are surrounded by inspiring things constantly, it’s literally in everything. I’ve never been uninspired. It’s right there all around you you just have to be open to it.
9.How often do you shoot for yourself and how has this impacted on your photography?
Daily. It’s impossible to grow if you don’t shoot. If you photograph your kids on a daily basis it’s only going to help your client work. Not shooting any personal work is a good way to take a passion and make it your job. I picked up a camera because of a passion, if I don’t feed that passion I’m wasting it.
9. Can you recommend any resources for photographers who wish to further their understanding of light?
I honestly can’t say enough how much Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson helped me. Start thereThen get out there and shoot, practice, don’t be afraid to change those settings.
10. Can you tell us what is next for you in terms of photography?
I am working towards my main goal which is to create images for book covers. I’m also getting more into editorial which I love. More Fine Art Client work as well.
You can see more of Jessica’s work here:
If you want to find out more about how to get featured on Light through my Lens, go to the submissions page at:http://www.lightthroughmylens.com/submissions/