Lighting is the building block of a perfect photograph. Therefore, to excel in the world of photography you must learn how to use light to paint exceptional photos. In each scenario, different lighting techniques are used. For instance, the use of lighting in portrait photography is totally different in comparison with landscape photography. Once you learn how to use the light accordingly to the requirements of your photo shoot, then nothing can stop you from getting professional photos. In this article, we will go through some amazingly informative tips on photography lighting. After finishing the read, you will know everything you need in order to make the best use of most of the lighting conditions.
There is No Bad Lighting
Saying that the lighting is not just good for the photo session is a very common excuse among photographers. Although, you may think that certain lighting will not work for you but another photographer might capture fascinating scenes in the same conditions. So, be flexible and learn to adapt to changing lighting conditions.
Natural vs Artificial Lighting
Whether you need to use natural or artificial lighting depends on the type of photography you are doing. The obvious source of natural lighting is the Sun. Natural light is used to capture Landscapes, Wildlife, etc.
On the other hand, artificial lighting is mainly used in studio photography, portraits, etc. A great advantage of artificial lighting over natural lighting is that you choose the equipment according to your requirements.
The behavior of light is the same despite the source it is coming from.
Photo edited in Lightroom.
Soft vs Hard Light - Tips on Photography Lighting
The quality of the light is divided into hard and soft lighting. You can easily observe either the light is hard or soft in the shadow it produces. Understanding this will help you a lot while post-processing.
Soft Light creates shadows with more diffuse edges, whereas, hard light creates harsh and sharp shadows. In order to create artificial soft light, photographers use diffusers, softboxes, etc. If you want soft natural light, then the best time to photograph will be early morning or evening when the sun is not shining bright.
Another essential technique a photographer must learn about is the positioning of the light source.
Side Lighting is a technique that helps in highlighting more texture and depth in a photograph. When the source is placed on either side of the subject, it creates are more depth and adds a sense of drama. You must be careful about when to use it. For example, more texture in portrait photography is not a plus point, but it is in product photography.
The next tip on photography lighting is Front lighting. In contrast to the side lighting technique, front light reduces the shadows and textures. Using a single source exactly in front of the subject produces a flat image without any depth.
Photographers use a combination of both front and side lighting to get the perfect results. Popular among portrait photographers, using two light sources gets you nice depth and also less negative texture.
Placing the light source behind the subject generates silhouettes. Silhouettes basically highlight the outline of the subject in the form of a dark shadow by blocking the light. Silhouette photography itself is becoming a widely popular niche.
You can use this technique in various amazing ways. It can also work in combination with previous light placement techniques. For instance, you can use backlighting with a relatively lesser intensity to highlight the hairs or the shape.
Soften the Light - Tips on Photography Lighting
Pointing the light directly at the subject sometimes is not helpful. The main problem one might face in this situation is harsh lighting hitting right at the subject. You can use different surfaces to reflect the light and make it softer and also the surfaces don’t need to be reflective. For example, a white wall can act as an amazing diffuser.
Making the light soft by bouncing is commonly used in studio photography. However, you can use reflectors while shooting outdoors to bounce the sunlight towards the subject.
If you are not careful about the temperature of the light, then it can produce an undesirable tint in the photos. One might not observe it with the naked eye, but the camera will surely capture it. The solution to this problem is adjusting the white balance of your camera. You can also fix the white balance in post-processing.
Conclusion - Tips on Photography Lighting
By now, you have surely learned a few yet extremely important facts and tips on photography lighting. However, only reading the necessary tips will not do the job. The only thing that can get you to benefit is practice. So, take your camera and head out for a photography session. Practice all that you have learned today and leap towards becoming a professional photographer.
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