A Guide to Photography Lighting
Photography lighting is nothing but the indirect lighting of the subject to be photographed. A photo simply documents patterns of light, shade, and colour; lighting is therefore important in manipulating the picture. Illumination is desirable to provide an accurate portrayal of the subject. In the same way, the shade indicates what the sky colour is; appropriate lighting lets you show the shadows.
Taking the photo with the sunlight shining on a subject creates a beautiful drama with very contrasting tones of blue and white. But it creates problems with lighting conditions since the sunlight is often at the highest noon, which is the time when most photographers prefer to take the photo. The sunlight can also create high key shadows and shades if not taken at the right time. There is another problem too, in that the sun is not an easy light source to control; many photographers have to wait for a long time before the sun appears high enough to take the shot.
Another photography lighting option is a flash. A flash can also be used in conjunction with the sunlight. It is a good idea to set the camera settings to take the photo with the flash on, but if you don’t have the luxury of time, you might have to rely on your camera’s internal flash to provide you with the required light. Or you could try to position yourself so that the sun is in the exact middle of your main subject and the flash is slightly away from it, as this would result in the sunlight being over or under your subject, resulting in interesting shadows. Remember too that different flash settings will produce different effects.
The one area where photography lighting tips always come into play is when shooting night scenes. Since the absence of physical lights in the nighttime creates darker shades, natural lighting or spotlights are recommended. These can be controlled remotely through the use of a dimmer switch, making it easier to achieve the right mood. For outdoor shots, your flash needs to be on since nocturnal animals tend to roam about, looking for food and water. Avoid placing your tripod in the direct path of these animals, as they may spook the animal and you won’t get the desired photograph.
One of the most common and often overlooked photography lighting tips is to avoid photographing shadows. shadows can appear at any time of the day and are never a bad thing, but they do create an ‘immediate’ eerie feeling. As with sunlight, it is best to take your pictures in the late afternoon or early evening when the sun is just above the horizon. If you’re trying to capture sun shadows, make sure to use a long exposure, preferably four hours long, so that you will be able to notice the shadow effect.
In photography, it is very important to keep practising and studying. The more you practice, the better you will become and the faster you will realize your photographic talents. Keep experimenting and studying, and before you know it, you’ll be using natural light to capture stunning shots. Apply these basic photography lighting basics and start documenting the world around you.