The Magic of Light

The Magic of Light with Summer Murdock on the Fill Your Frame Podcast with Jillian Goulding

Today, we’re joined by the amazing commercial photographer & photography educator Summer Murdock to discuss one of THE most important elements of photography that can take your photos from “meh” to MAGICAL: light. 

Summer teaches a program called the Magic of Light (which, spoiler alert, I took 7 years ago and it literally CHANGED everything about my photography in the best way), and she’s here today to share her best light tips, why lighting is so important for your photography, and what she does when she gets into a creative funk. 

Summer has been an enormous inspiration to me during my career, and I know her insights and story are just what you need to hear to take the next steps in your own photo business.

In this episode:

[5:17] Summer shares her journey to being a photographer and photography educator.

[15:06] Summer took a break and photographed only things that inspired her.

[18:14] Being true to yourself as a photographer makes it easier to create photographs that you want to create, while still fulfilling other people’s expectations of you.

[19:32] The most interesting photographs usually come from experimentation and play.

[22:11]  Light can totally transform a scene. It also teaches you to be really present and just be curious about the world around you.

[23:02] Story, composition, and light are the three most important elements of great photography. 

[24:40] Beautiful light amplifies the connection of motion.

[25:25] Learning about light in photography is one of the fastest and most tangible ways to visually transform your work. 

[26:50] Why it’s important to take photos under a variety of conditions in order to hone your skills and be able to translate what your eyes can see to the camera.

[31:02] Summer explains what inspired her passion for teaching light in photography.

[31:31] Light is everything in photography. It’s an instant way to draw a viewer’s eye around the frame. 

[32:51] By learning to make the most of whatever light is available, you’ll build your confidence as a photographer.

[36:46] When you seek constructive feedback, you learn more about yourself and can better prepare for the future.

[41:43] Summer shares her thought process for setting up her photos.

[45:11] Be observant of your environment, use these elements and find a way to incorporate them into your images for more impact.

[49:58] Summer talks about her new project, Women in the Water. 

[53:10] Always be looking out for the next right thing because everyone’s path is different.

[56:39] Being a photographer is like being an athlete. You have to exercise your skills on a regular basis if you want to do well. 

[59:06] Always be a learner. Be open to new experiences that can allow you to grow and expand your knowledge.

[1:00:15] Photographers sometimes need to unplug and put their cameras away to keep the creativity flowing.

[1:05:51] Learn how to evaluate and simplify your thoughts. Just because you have those thoughts in your brain doesn’t mean they’re true. 

[1:06:43] Your limiting beliefs are not a reflection of your skillset. 

[1:09:10] Lean into your fear. Often, the things that we fear the most are the things that have the potential to push us toward new levels of growth.

[1:09:57] The lightning round – Summer’s favorite lens and light. 

About Summer Murdock

Summer Murdock summer is a Salt Lake City Utah based commercial photographer and photography educator who specializes in children’s lifestyle and portraiture. She has created campaigns for brands like Disney, Garmin, Pillsbury Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America, and so many more. 

She’s been teaching a successful online workshop called the Magic of Light for the last nine years, as well as running illuminate classes and online photography school. She found that speaking and teaching at photo conferences is one of her favorite ways to meet photographer friends. She’s been a Lightroom Ambassador for the last two years creating educational content for Adobe. 

Summer’s inspired by the quirky stuff that kids do weird and wonderful human connections pretty light and the great outdoors. She’s an intuitive mom of four children of her own. And in her free time, she seeks out every opportunity that she can to hang outside in the sunshine, traveling, exploring, and going on adventures with her husband and kids.

Connect with Summer



The Magic of Light Workshop 


The Magic of Light with Summer Murdock on the Fill Your Frame Podcast with Jillian Goulding

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