So there was no lighting setup for those photos?
It was all natural light. There’s nothing to it. I teach classes and I teach people not to overthink things. People get nuts and think they need all these lights. I’ll have people show up to my classes and they’ll tell me all these things they want to do, and I’ll tell them to go over to Home Depot and buy a light. They say, “That’s only 12 bucks!” Or, I’ll say use your cellphone. There are a million things you can do that doesn’t require a truckload of equipment.
Full disclosure: I spent at least a few minutes trying to figure out how you could get lights into that spot and get it to look like that. I totally overthought it.
When I’m teaching people how to manipulate light, I hand everyone a silver card and I tell them this card can help you create every kind of image you’re ever going to want to do. Then, when you bring in the big lights, you can still use the silver card to move light around. You can walk into a room and say, “that lightbulb is all I need to take a picture.”
I just did a lecture in San Francisco last week and I told everyone how important it is to take chances and make mistakes. Don't’ be afraid. Photography has zero rules. Rules have been applied by people who want to tell you what you shouldn’t do with a camera. But if it creates the vision you want, you should certainly do it.
Is that why you’re such a big fan of Instagram?
I love it. My assistants call me the sheriff. (Laughs). I openly berate people when they post too many food or kitty pictures unless they’re interesting. Especially with photographer friends. I’ve had huge back and forth with photographers who post without a thought behind it. And I say to them, “Come on, you’re a photographer! No one’s telling you what to do.
Find a moment you want to create. You’re an interesting person. You go to interesting places.” You can also find people on there who aren’t professional photographers, but they do the most amazing work. If they can do it, how a professional doesn’t do it is beyond me. They’re seeing this way every day. It’s amazing.