Unexpected Light – Using a Motion Detector Light

I remember racing home (not literally) from picking the kids up from school, because the sky was this incredible orange and pink tone. It was just after sunset and the light was fading quick. After grabbing my camera, we made our usual walk down the driveway to the mailbox. The light was nearly gone. When we got back up near the house, our motion detector light picked us up and we were suddenly in a spot light.

We only recently purchased this light, so using it for photography lighting had yet to cross my mind.

Standing with the light behind me, I could see almost a big circle on the ground – just like a giant spotlight. My son, Levi, was rolling the soccer ball. It kept rolling down the hill. I took a couple of photos of him getting it and looking back at me. I’ve never been into using any type of lighting gear, but I was captivated here.

Here are the two photos I took. The light was behind me and it sits on the house just above the garage door. My garage is on a 90 degree angle from the driveway, so the light was coming from about 45 degrees off my son.

motion detector light off camera light source


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Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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