Digital Photography Tips – Lighting
Lighting is everything in all forms of art. The same subject and composition can look completely different if you simply change the lighting, whether you add it yourself or you use natural light at different times of the day. The effects can be quite dramatic.
The shot on the left below, was taken outside and late in the day as the sun was setting using just natural light. The shot on the right was taken about an hour later, still outside, using just one big flash unit with a large softbox. A fast shutter speed was used to kill any natural light in the sky behind the subject.
Do you see the difference it makes with regards to skin tones, hair colour and the catchlights in the eyes? You always need to be aware of what the light is doing and decide which, if any, additional lights to use (flash, studio, reflector etc).
Becoming more aware of light and how it works is fundamental to the success of any art including photography. If you can reach a deep understanding (through practice) of light and how it affects mood, appearance, skin tones, shadows, detail, landscapes and colour, you are almost there.
Think about it. If you know what you want to shoot and where, how to compose it well, how to use the best light available at the right time of day, use the correct camera settings (that you will learn here) that will enhance the image even more…what else do you need? You are a photographer my friend!
Here is an example of poor lighting…
These shots have done this fantastic landmark in Dorset no justice whatsoever. As I was there anyway, I took some shots for stock and guess what…these have barely ever sold!
I plan to go back in better weather and I am sure you can imagine how a dramatic, Jurassic landscape would look with sunny blue skies behind!
That doesn’t mean to say that all photos have to be taken in bright sunshine to appeal to somebody. take this next shot for instance…
I was driving through Lincoln one winter’s day and saw this scene and for some reason I liked it in all it’s gloomy glory. I took a shot and even uploaded it to a stock agency and lo and behold, it sold for $295.80! ka-ching!
Surprised? You need to read our stock section!
That should give you an idea of how important lighting is with photography. Learn to understand and control it and your photography will improve dramatically. We cover a lot more ground in the next module (DSLR Training).
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