How does one capture drama in their photos?  Before I share my opinion, I want to start by asking for yours.  Please leave your thoughts in the comments today because there isn’t one right answer.  This was a question I felt challenged by while in Angkor Wat. 


Capturing drama feels easier to me when doing Portraits or Weddings.  People alone are full of drama and emotion.  But what about the ruins of a temple?  Yes, the architecture is amazing, but it has to be more for me.  I needed to find dimension in the temples.  I wanted to capture Angkor Wat in a way that brought these ruins to life.  How to capture drama in your photos…exploit the LIGHT. 


The greatest difference between a pro photographer and amateur is often one thing.  The pro knows how dependent they are on exploiting the richness of light.  The pro knows that with dramatic light, they can capture an image of a temple at noon (but it feels a little flat), or…


Angkor Wat Temple 1


they can come back at sunrise to capture something magical.   (Click on any image to see them larger.)


Angkor Wat Photos at Sunrise 1


Yes, we got up at 4am and dragged our kids to the hot air balloon. 


Angkor Wat Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise 1


The day before, we had walked Angkor Wat’s ruins, but it was full sun at noon.  We knew Angkor Wat would be a different experience, if we had the opportunity to see it at sunrise.  


Angkor Wat Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise 2

How you position light in your images makes all the difference.  But it the sun is right over your head, there isn’t much you can do because the sun can’t get behind your subjects or in front of them.  It’s just over your heads.  So shooting at sunrise or sunset is ideal for getting the most drama in your images. 


Whether it’s a line of monks walking along the river in the morning sun.


Angkor Wat Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise 3

or a quick family photo with your favorite Tuk-Tuk driver…light can add drama, warmth,

Angkor Wat Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise 4

or enhance emotion.


Here is the other thing…I don’t have to do any editing to the images on my computer when I have dramatic lighting b/c the light is the drama.  In today’s second image, the temple at sunrise, I didn’t edit the color at all.  That is how amazing the color is at sunrise—how mysterious it can be.  When my light isn’t as dramatic, I find that I add more in the post process.  Tomorrow, I’ll show you an example of what I mean. 


SO, do you wake up your kids or clients at sunrise to shoot their photos?  I prefer to wait for sunset.  :)  BUT, if you venture to Angkor Wat, Cambodia—sunrise in the hot air balloon is unbeatable!


Happy Monday Friends!  How do you capture drama in your photos?  Tell all! 



Me Ra