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PART 2 – Photo lighting techniques :

With this weeks subject just on lighting, I hope I can convey in these blogs the importance of understanding lighting. Yesterday’s blog about the different types of lighting was a great article. To carry on with this subject I found another great article from the website: PictureCorrect.com and it’s titled: Photography Lighting Techniques and authored by: Zoe Shaw. So check this out:

Photography Lighting Techniques

Photography is about light, and in fact, it can be defined as recording the light. Lighting is also one of the hardest things to get right in a photograph. To shoot images that stand out from the crowd, understanding the light source is critical.

Photography lighting plays a major role in capturing colors as well as in revealing form and texture in an image. Examining daylight is a great way to understand certain characteristics of light: the hardness or the softness of the source, direction of light, and visible colors.

Hardness or softness of the light: Hard light (direct light) produces vivid colors that stand out, and it creates harsh shadows. Soft light (diffused light) produces more pastel tones and softens details.

Direction of light: Moving the light source around a subject or object either adds or takes away detail.

Color: Photographs tend to lead most viewers toward certain feelings. For example, softer colors often create a calmer mood. The strength and the angle of the light source determines if you will have vivid or softer colors.

Below are five tips that explore the light source and its characteristics.

1. Understand color temperature

Color temperature is the actual colors that the human eye can see. Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light. It is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). Yellow to red are called warm colors and have lower temperatures (i.e., 2,700-3,000 K). Cool colors like blue and white have higher temperatures.

2. Examine natural light

The sun is the source of all daylight. Outdoor lighting offers all kinds of light, coming from various directions. Shooting during different times of the day will allow you to capture different tones, colors, and light effects.

  • Don’t miss the early morning hours. That’s the best time of the day to capture great tones.
  • The sun brings out blue hues in the morning hours and creates a crisp effect.
  • On a cloudy day you will find softer colors and diffused light (soft light). When light is distributed evenly you get more natural colors. Neutral colors can take away some of the definition or harsh details.
  • Noon creates harsh light (hard light) and produces images with shadows.
  • Afternoon offers warmer tones with reds and yellows.
  • Around sunrise or sunset, you will often get flattering light.
  • Sunsets put out oranges or pink tones.

3. Be aware of the hardness or softness of the light source

The brightest time of the day produces a hard light source. For example, images taken around noon have strong colors that stand out. This type of light is used for contrast, as it creates more shadow.

An overcast day reflects less light and produces diffused soft light. It will spread the light evenly and does not cast strong shadows.

4. Be aware of the direction of the light

When you shoot the same subject from different angles, you either add or remove shadows on both the subject and the object. This is also true if you move your light source around your subject. Of course, it is easier to move the light source in a studio environment, but keep in mind that if you shoot at different times of the day, you will get the same effect.

Photo by Vandan Desai; ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/30-second exposure.

5. Use flash to create interesting effects

Flash can be a great addition in any kind of light when you need to fill in shadows.

Using flash outdoors is an effective way of recording actual colors and more of the detail in a scene. For example, if you have a moving subject in front of a colorful sunset, you can set your flash mode to slow sync and get all the details.

Photography is an art that requires good technique and practice. Lighting is a major part of photography, and when you use the natural light to your advantage you definitely add to your photography.

About the Author:

Article written by Zoe Shaw from digitalphotoworks. She is a computer programmer and graphic designer.

Here are some more great photos, using light creatively:

A PEXEL PHOTO BY JOHANNES PLENIO
A PEXEL PHOTO BY PIXABAY
A PEXEL PHOTO BY ICON0.COM

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PART 1: Understanding light in photography

If you have been following these blogs for the last few weeks, you will notice that I pick a theme and run with ideas of that theme for the whole week. For example, last week I did a whole week of understanding what you need for “travel Photography”. This week, I am going to do a whole series based on “THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING LIGHT IN PHOTOGRAPHY”. Now you may be thinking that maybe that is not so important, and you would be wrong. Most people DON’T understand the basic principles of light in photography, and that is why some of their photos don’t turn out very good. Once you understand light, you can make your photos improve tremendously. It’s this one concept that could be the key to making good photos or making GREAT photos. It’s that important. I have learned from reading blog or instructions from professional photographers, that once I understand the principles of light in photography, I have been able to improve my own photos. It’s as important of a subject as composition is.

So, with that, I have found an article on light that I would like to share. Let me introduce you to today’s “learning experience”.

How Lighting Plays a Crucial Role in Your Photography:

This article by Amy Renfry is one of the best articles I have seen and goes through the details of all the different types of lighting. This is so important to learn. Check out this article:

You’ve heard me deliberate about how significant lighting in photography is, but do you really know the reason why? You may know that gaining enough light is essential, but there is a lot more to the story.

First we have direct light. This is from the sun or a strong, bright source. Then we have reflected light. This is from a surface where the light bounces from one place to another. Both look entirely different.

In order to get high-quality pictures, you need the right lighting. You don’t just need sufficient lighting, but you need the right light to help capture the narrative for your image. The temperature, the intensity, and whether it’s soft or hard light play a crucial role in your photography.

Let’s look at the four primary aspects to consider when examining your light:

  1. Intensity (intensity usually comes from how strong it is)
  2. Angle (what angle it is coming from)
  3. Hard or Soft (how much difference between bright and shadow)
  4. Warmth or Coolness (colour)

Digital Photography Lighting Techniques

I can tell you how to increase the lighting on something in a certain way, but that doesn’t genuinely show you anything about how to really master your own sense of observation. I was compelled to write this tutorial when someone emailed me last week. She inquired, “I have to photograph my grandchildren, and I want to know what settings to use, can you help out?” I was sad to read this, as she had missed what photography is all about.

Photography is not completely about settings. Let me repeat that. Photography is not totally about settings. We need the settings, sure, but the story goes deeper than that.

As photographers, we use lighting to express emotion. If we want a photo to convey a feeling of romance and an engaging mood, we might use a yellowy-orange light. If we want to convey a problematic, tough, and challenging story, then we might use hard light with deep shadows. This creates intense contrast. It’s the way you utilize light that matters.

Photo by Neusa Quaresma; ISO 50, f/3.5, 1/800-second exposure.

Light has an intense impact on how we emotionally understand what’s going on in the photo. There are certain things you can achieve to enrich your story such as using the flash, not shooting with the flash, or using window light instead and making use of different temperatures of daylight.

Let’s look at what particular types of light tell us.

Low Light Photography Without Flash

Many photos that have low light (dim and soft light with no strong shadows) have been used in stories that represent sadness, bereavement, secrets, or even intimacy. Lighting like this can reflect introversion of some sort.

Photo by ™ Pacheco

Artificial Light Photography

Artificial light may come in the form of uninterrupted light, like lights in a photography studio. This light is often used to reproduce daylight conditions. Brilliant, white light can stand for optimism, pleasure, sociability, and energy. Flash is also artificial light. Depending on how you utilise this light (i.e. the direction and angle you fire it from) you can recreate these feelings.

Photo by Baba G

Morning Light Photography

Morning light is generally soft and doesn’t have as much brightness as the light we see at high noon. It appears warmer in photographs. Keep in mind that the seasons play a crucial function in the intensity of light as well. On a bright day in the summer season the light is very intense and very white. This means that there may well be a lot of contrast in your scenes, such as vivid areas and deep shadows. This might be suitable if you want to include shadowed areas to tell your story.

Photo by Sam; ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/80-second exposure.

Dramatic Lighting Photography

Dramatic lighting usually relies upon intense light and deep shadow. This is a high contrast situation where the light creates and impacts the mood. It is also very dependent on the number of light sources and at what position the light is coming from. If you place one light source next to a person’s face, you can produce a lot of hard shadows across the face. This will generate a very different feeling from a softly lit portrait at sunset.

Photo by casch52; ISO 100, f/10.0, 1/250-second exposure.

Hard Light Photography

Using hard light can capture many intense areas and dark shadowed areas that can be employed to tell us a story, just as dim light can. You can use this kind of light to enhance quietness, secrets, and desolation. Alternatively, you may want to photograph a black and white portrait with strong shadowed areas in the background and keep your subject well lit. This style will mean that that there might be another facet to the subject’s life or situation.

Photo by Wil C. Fry; ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/200-second exposure.

Lighting is not just about better exposure; it’s about mood and feeling. As you understand light you can then move forward and capture many different types of moods for your shots. When you take pictures of a similar thing with changed light, that thing takes on an entirely different emotion. The way you feel about it alters, and that’s the strength of photography.

This is why photography is not just about settings. It’s about creating powerful, emotive pictures. You use settings like aperture and shutter speed to have power over the light. You control the light to direct the emotion and story.

Start examining lighting today. Look at the lighting you see right now and ask yourself about its qualities. Awareness of lighting will change your photography for the better.

About the Author:

Amy Renfrey writes for DigitalPhotographySuccess. She’s photographed many things from famous musicians (Drummers for Prince and Anastasia) to weddings and portraits of babies. Amy also teaches photography online to her students.

A special thanks to Picture /Correct for providing this article, with Amy Renfry as author.

Here is some more great photos from photographers, using light creatively:

Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Min An
Photo by Pixabay

TRAVEL / PART 5: Photography tips you probably haven’t heard before:

Traveling in different parts of the world can be challenging. And there are obvious things to learn about traveling to foreign countries, especially 3rd world countries.

Here is a great article that I found that goes over some real important tips on photography that a lot of photographers don’t mention. I thought you would enjoy reading this:

It’s a golden age for budding photographers. Learning resources are plenty, and most of them are free. The internet is full of tutorials. However, most of them offer pretty similar tips.

Allow Yourself to be Naive

When photographing people, it’s best to throw out what you know and get into an innocent state of mind. By being genuinely fascinated by what happens in front of you, and what people do, you can develop a sense for portrait photography. If you get too self-conscious and start to wonder about what they might think of you taking their photographs, it may even prevent you from taking your camera out of your bag.

be naive as a travel photographer

However, if you feel that there is strong negativity, then it’s best to not to take photographs. This especially applies to places where people aren’t too friendly with photographers.

The Main Event is Often Not the Main Thing Photographically

When traveling, you sometimes come across local festivals and events. While the main event may be important for the people there, photographically speaking, it may not always be interesting.

Try photographing the events that happen prior to or following the main event. Scenes like preparations for an event and practice sessions can be far more visually compelling.

“Even if the main event is what’s most amazing, most incredible, photographically by shooting around it, you end up with more interesting images. And there might be more photographic opportunities and sometimes more freedom too.”

preparation for indian wrestling

There Won’t Be a Next Time

Photographers on-the-go are presented with many photographic opportunities. Too many photo opportunities can make you make excuses not to take the photograph immediately. But, the next time you try to recreate the image, things may not work out the same way. The lighting, the scene, the colors, and the people’s mood may not work out the same way next time.

photograph of a fish seller

You will never regret stopping and taking the time to take a photo. Even if you don’t end up getting an amazing photo, you’ll often walk away with a pleasant memory or even a valuable life lesson.

When the Weather is Bad, Run for Your Camera

How often do we associate travel photography with cloudy skies and rainy conditions? Rarely, right? Rather than keeping your gear somewhere safe during bad weather, it can be a good idea to take your camera out. Cloudy skies and foggy weather can add drama to images. Instead of trying to avoid such conditions, see how you can take advantage of them.

“They show a side of life and travel which isn’t represented anywhere nearly as often as scenes shot during beautiful sunsets or sunrises.”

However, while doing so, be wary of the limitations of your camera.

child being bathed in rain water

Embrace the Ugliness

When starting out, it’s common for photographers to look for subjects that are visually appealing. Learn to step out of your comfort zone and photograph subjects that are far from beautiful. Subjects that have a grieving story behind them, places that have been abandoned, and architecture in its ugliest stages can be great subjects. Make a genuine effort to find beauty in the ugliness. Sometimes, the ugliness tells more of a story than the beauty.

“By embracing and photographing what you would consider ugly, what you wouldn’t usually shoot, you are expanding your creative horizon. You are adding variety to your work. You are also likely showing a different side of the places that you visit. And in our world which is so full of stereotypes, this can be incredibly fascinating.”

embrace the ugliness while travelling

Be Skeptical About Local Advice on Places to Go to

You didn’t expect this tip, did you? This tip does not apply to famous places and landmarks. You’re better off visiting them. This is more about rushing to decisions before following the locals’ advice.

Before you visit those places that the locals suggest, search for images from those places on the web. If you feel that it’s your thing, then you can include that in your schedule.

“…they mostly try to recommend what they think is beautiful, what they’re proud of. They have no idea what you’re into.”

Aim to Have the Action on Your Doorstep

Stay close to the place where the action you want to photograph happens. You can get to the location early, shoot the entire day, and get back to your room for some rest. Also, you don’t have to spend most of your time traveling to and fro. Even if you may have to pay a bit more, staying close to the location is still worth it.

a fish market

Thanks to Sunny Shrestha and Mitchell Kanashkevitch for contributing to this article.

COME BACK NEXT WEEK, WHEN I SHARE A WHOLE WEEK OF ARTICLES AND INFORMATION ABOUT TAKING PHOTOS OF PETS AND ANIMALS.

Here’s a few more photos of Travel, I thought you would enjoy:

A PEXEL PHOTO BY JAXSON BRYDEN
A PEXEL PHOTO BY MICHAEL BLOCK
A PEXEL PHOTO BY JULIUS SILVER