The Importance of Light in Photography

The Importance of Light in Photography

The importance of Light in Photography became a major aspect in determining the outcome image acquired in photography.

The quality and position of light in your pictures shapes the atmosphere of the images. Recognizing different qualities of light and capturing those qualities in pictures will help improve your photos.

As a photographer you must know how to use the light in any given situation to your advantage and how to manipulate the light to be more appropriate for your photograph. Photography is dependent on light. No matter what type of camera you have without light you would be unable to record images.

When you're taking pictures you need to look for the following aspects of light:
Where is the light coming from?

First consider the direction the light is coming from. Is it directly overhead? Is it coming from a low angle? Is it behind or in front of your subject? This will greatly affect the look of your image. Light behind your subject will make it a silhouette. Low light will cast long dramatic shadows on the ground or on walls. High light will cast shadows on faces.

How intense is the light?

Is the light dim or strong? The intensity of the light will determine how you set your ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

What is the quality of the light?

Is the light soft and diffused or is it more intense and harsh. Intense light tends to give a flatter look to the image while diffused light tends to add more depth to the picture.

What color is the light?

Is the light warm--more yellow? Or is the light cool--more blue? This will determine how you set your white balance. It can also affect the mood of the picture.

Other Tips

Here's an interview with Bambi Cantrell in which she give a lot of very good advice about photographing people, but most importantly she talks about using light in photography. I really like her advice and put this same video on my blog last month. I decided that it's so good it deserves a more permanent place on the site. I highly recommend watching this video.

Now that you've read a little about light start noticing it in your daily life. As you notice the light around you try to frame pictures in your mind. This mental practice will definitely improve your photography.

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