Light Shadow and Love

Light, Shadow and Love with Carmen Buck Photography


A Big Brother Meets His New Baby Brother for the First Time



Okay, so you know this meeting can go a variety of directions. Kids are unpredictable, but hey, that’s what makes it fun!  I was asked to photograph James’ first view of baby Jackson. I have been excited about this for months! 


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Have you ever wondered why some images evoke such intense emotions? The emotions are often worth way more than 1000 words!  It’s as if the still image speaks right to your heart. 

How do YOU get those pictures? 

How do the professionals grab those moments?

Light and Shadow

Images, like real life, evoke emotion when we stop to appreciate the shadow or darker areas and the contrasting light.  Life is filled with both shadow and light after all.  Without the shadow, the light is hardly noticed.  

One simple way to explain this is what I call the Bucket Method. To my left I have one big bucket, and it is filled with fear. This is my shadow bucket. Pretty much any ‘negative’ emotion such as uncertainty, shame, sorrow… originates with fear. 

The buckets to my right is one big bucket filled with LOVE.  My buckets have a lot of the 3 C’s: Creativity, Compassion and Curiosity. There are 2 big buckets though- one is filled with fear and one is filled with love. You get to name your ‘Fear’ and “Love’ Buckets whatever you want, and by the way, it is important to think about it.

Why We Need Shadows and Light

The attention you give to light and shadow in your photo is up to you. That's the creativity.  

In any event, there is contrast and with that contrast comes emotion.

As a photographer, I observe and then bend the light and create shadow to tell the story I see. Often, the most beautiful contrast in light and shadow is already created for me by nature. In any event, manipulating light and shadow is only part of the job!  Can you guess the missing pieces? 

Light, Shadow and LOVE!

Selina, Clay, James and Baby Jackson

Selina asked me to photograph James’ when he first met his little brother Jackson. We knew it would be special because Jackson was the highlight of James’ conversation for about 8 months! I have been ecstatic about this too! I can’t even begin to tell you the feelings experienced when I photograph such an intimate, special time.  It’s an honor to be trusted with something this important.


Take a look at this image of Selina, her son James and her newborn Jackson. Notice the light and shadows. Do you see how they work together to tell the story? The big piece is the interaction between the subjects though!  Notice the focus in on her hand touching her older son’s hand reassuringly. The looks and the energy help to tell the story.


James is warm, loving and autistic, so we weren’t quite sure how he would respond. The story begins with James apprehensively walking down the hall. You can see the full story in the video/slideshow below. I tried to become as invisible as possible once he entered the room as to not interfere. In truth, the presence of another person observing or photographing automatically changes things, but I tried to go unnoticed. Why? 

I want the love within to shine through, and then I want to capture it in the photo. 

It’s really that simple for you too when you take pictures at home.


Predicting Emotions

Emotions are unpredictable and often surprising. As a photographer, I need to try and predict emotions. We all have gifts and talents and my gift is the ability to sense sacred moments. When you hear the term ‘you’ve got a good eye” that is really what it means. Yes, there are many things to consider: composition, light, shadow, color… but without the eye for the sacred moment, a photograph is simply a pretty photograph. Without both light andshadow a photograph can be flat and somewhat lifeless. 

So, we know we must have light, shadow and the demonstration of emotion. 

There are many different kinds of photography- people portraits, landscape, food, children, adults, pets and so on. In my mind, there are basically 3 other classifications: LIFESTYLE, POSED AND A MIX. I like to keep it simple.

 According to Wikipedia:  Lifestyle photography is a kind of photography which mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday.  The primary goal is to tell stories about people's life or to inspire people in different times. Therefore, it covers the various kinds of photography (portrait, families, kids, landscape...) together.  

I have an interesting blog post all about Lifestyle Photography? 

Typically, lifestyle photography is in a 'typical' or usual setting.  This might be hanging out at home, going to their favorite coffee shop, sitting at their desk looking dazed or amazed, going for their daily walk with the dog, playing with the kids...  In my example today, the setting was a dimly lit uninspired hospital room. The setting didn’t matter did it? The images are incredibly inspiring. There is no question about love being in that room. There is no question that sacred moments are now preserved for this family. 

The love within is the essence of God within us showing through. I am in this presence every time I pick up my camera and for that I am in awe.


Baby Jackson arrived to find a loving Mom, Dad and big brother- oh and some adoring grandparents!

People respond to one another creating emotion. This is captured on the image along with light and shadows that provide depth and feel to the image. This is the story of a young mother with love and concerns for her older son as he meets the baby for the first time. The love she pours to her older son is truly palpable. Enjoy the short video/slide show created with the images from that afternoon.



Tuesday Tell All- FaceBook Live Program: Light, Shadow and Love! James meets his baby brother Jackson for the 1st time, and it's an exciting time. This blog is about Selina, Clay, James and Jackson and about capturing love and emotion in photos. Learn ways to capture the beauty of emotion in your own photographs.

Selina is a member of my Bump-2-One-Year program  where I photograph maternity pics, follow to the hospital if they wish and then photograph the ever changing newborn every month or two until it is time to smash his 1 year old cake.  Each family will have a high quality full album of the emotional photos taken along the way from maternity to one year. They also get a video/slide show. Memorializing important times of our lives is so important, and their album will become priceless to them. Enrollment is limited for this program, but I do have a few openings.


Children, families, Couples, Elderly Family Members, Pets...I love them all!  

My specialty is story telling and most of my images are filled with emotions. I get to know my clients so I can best tell their story for them. This is my style and why I so love what I do. Photography can be very healing for both the clients and photographer. I’ve been a nurse/nurse practitioner for nearly 4 decades, and I recognize the healing power of this art.