The Importance of Lighting in Photography

The Importance of Lighting in Photography

There are many crucial elements that build together to make a successful photograph, but there is one magical element that is most important of all, lighting. Light is one of the most vital factors on earth but in photography, lighting is the magic that contributes to stunning and well-built photos. Without it, your photographs will be dark and lifeless. How it is controlled, whether artificial or natural determines the quality of images that we make with our cameras. Depending on whether natural or artificial light is used, the color, quality and angle changes, thus the photographer has to use the light available to produce the greatest effect.

Capturing Photos In Low Light Situations

Capturing photos in places with low light may be a huge challenge. Using the camera flash can make the subject appear washed out, due to the harsh light produced by the flash. On the other hand, not using the flash can make the photo appear blurred. To compensate for the dim light, you can set a higher ISO setting, to allow the shutter to take full advantage of any available light. Also, you may want to mount your camera to avoid unnecessary movements.

How Well You Position Your Lighting Will Determine the Quality Of Your Photos

Even though there is really no standard formula for using lighting when taking photographs, there are just basics of what you can do when shooting pictures. For example, a photographer should avoid taking photos of people or objects with light behind them, or what is commonly know as backlighted, such as in front of a bright window.

The Importance of Lighting in Photography
Example of bad backlighting.

This can make your subject look dark unless if you want to create a dramatic effect on your pictures. The best thing to do when capturing photos is with the subjects facing the source of light, to achieve a clear image. Side lighting produces a stunning effect since it shows the shape of the object, and casts a partial shadow, thus producing amazingly dramatic photos.

What Shaping and Manipulating Light Does to a Photograph

The Importance of Lighting in Photography
Front Lighting.

Adding a diffuser to your source of light minimizes harsh shadows, glare and blemishes on your subject. If a photographer is using artificial light, then adding a diffuser makes it soft, making it look more like natural light. Also, light can be manipulated around and on an object to make differing images of that same object. This can be achieved using reflectors and diffusers. Manipulating and shaping the right give the photographer control over the direction of lighting and how broad it will appear.

Top 3 Sources of Lighting For Photographers

Natural Lighting – natural light is used when the shoot is taking place outdoors or close to a large window. Natural light is more flattering and it allows for a better quality picture than other sources of light. However, to take full advantage of natural light, the shoot has to take place during the but not at high noon when the sun’s glares are prominent. Also, the place should not be shadowy since shadows may affect picture quality.

Artificial Lighting – Many artificial lights are designed to serve as work lights. However, if the shoot is taking place indoors, these lights may be very beneficial. The major benefit of working with artificial light is that it is very bright and a white backdrop can be used to allow for flawless lighting. The lighting can shine off to the side to create a bit of an ambient glow if that is the desired effect.

Camera Flash – Sometimes there are cases where getting the right lighting doesn’t prove to be as effective as required. In these instances, the camera flash can be a good source of light. However, it may be tricky to work with a flash since the best photographers have a hard time with camera flash settings. If a photographer wants to rely on a flash, he should make himself familiar with flash and its settings before the photo shoot.

It is vital not to be afraid of lighting since it’s there to be taken advantage of. As a photographer, lighting should be thought of a painting brush. A painting brush can be used with different techniques to produce a wide range of results. The same case applies to lighting.