This week’s theme is spotlight, or pools of light, which is when there is only a portion of your scene that has light in it, like a spotlight on a dark stage.

Part of the magic of this is due to the dynamic range of cameras vs. the dynamic range of our eyes. In the range of the brightest light to the darkest dark, our eyes can only see part of what exists, at least at the same time. Cameras can only capture a certain range of light, less than what our eyes can see. Our eyes adjust to the lighting in our environment and adjusting your camera’s exposure does the same thing. So if you capture more detail in highlights, you might have to sacrifice detail in the shadows. Hence, why if you expose for really bright highlights, like on a spotlit subject, the darker parts of the scene will go really dark or even pure black.

That’s the key here: exposing for highlights. And noticing when a scene has more dynamic range than your camera can handle. If your subject is in really bright light and nothing else is, you can get the spotlight effect. Below are a few examples. For the first two images, I noticed the spotlight effect during wedding ceremonies, both due to the sun shining through trees or buildings. Actually, I think the first one was a portrait I took in the same place as the ceremony because I thought the lighting suited them. The third image of the groomsman putting on his tie was candid as well. He was in a foyer that was kind of messy and normally lit, but a skylight above him was really lighting up his face. I exposed for the light on his face and everything else went dark. The last image was in a beam of sunlight breaking through the trees, though this time I purposely placed them there.

If you have any questions, join us in the Facebook group. I’ll be checking in there daily to see your work and help you achieve the best results.

If you’re just finding this now, you can check out the full list and more information on the challenge here. You can follow me on Instagram at @documentyourdaytoday and use the hashtag #dtd52weeks so others doing the challenge can see your work.