Challenge, Solution, Results
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Challenge, Solution, Results

With the growing availability of digital and phone cameras, everyone can now be a photographer. I think this trend is wonderful! Who better to capture the special moments of your child’s youth than you.

It is also making people pause and realize that there is a lot more to photography than simply pointing and shooting.

When I in Africa a couple of years ago, I photographed this young boy with his bike. I thought I’d take a minute to explain my thought process in capturing my favorite image from my trip.


The sun had just set which was surrounding me with the most beautiful colors along the horizon (oh Africa!). I wanted those colors in my photo, but if I exposed for them, then my subject was completely dark. If I exposed for my subject, then I washed out my sky and all those beautiful colors.


Using my super helpful assistant, I had him stand next to my subject holding an off camera strobe in a soft box (think of it like a flash that isn’t attached to my camera). He was pointing the soft box from the direction that the sun set so that the light would look like it came from a natural source. I positioned myself slightly to the side so that I could get the beautiful dimensional lighting on my subject’s face. This allowed me to get both my subject’s face and the sky properly exposed.

“But wait!” you say. “If your assistant was there, how come I can’t see him?” Great question, you!

The reason you can’t see my assistant is because I then took another photo where I just exposed for the sky (leaving my subject dark) and merged these two photos in Photoshop. I painted on the part of the first photo that I wanted to be in the second photo – essentially just my subject, some of the tree, and the ground around my subject. LOVE Photoshop magic!


I was thrilled with the way this image turned out – not only because it is technically beautiful but also because of the look on my subject’s face. This is such a perfect slice of African life. Bikes were a common mode of transportation and the red dusty ground beneath the setting sun brings me right back to the beautiful place.

As a side note: If you are interested in donating to The Little School On Top Of The Hill, I can get your donation directly to them so they would get 100% of the money.