Imagine how terrific it would feel to be able to pick up your camera, shoot any subject matter you want – and get jaw dropping, awesome photos – every time. All it takes is an understanding of some basic photography lighting techniques!
Three beginning photography lighting techniques that you really need to understand are:
1. Color: If you’ve ever photographed a landscape that looked dull, flat and lifeless – here’s what you do…Examine the COLOR of the light in your photo. It is a common mistake to shoot outdoor photos in the middle of the day.
Set your alarm and roll out of bed just before dawn, then go to your site…you’ll get shots with a soft, delicate pink touch. Or, shoot at sunset and get a landscape covered in gold! The light glancing off your subject will create gorgeous highlights and deep, defining shadows. It is the shadows that will make the subject appear 3D and POP!
2. Intensity: Trying to get a good photo of a friend? Is the sun beating down on them – causing unflatteringly intense highlights and deep, dark shadows? Do they have raccoon eyes? Keep in mind that the film or digital sensor in your camera “sees” in a much narrower dynamic range than your eyes.
Frequently where we can see detail in the shadows, your camera just sees black. At the same time, when we see detail in the highlights; the camera shows pure, featureless white.
Move your subject into the shade. This will lower the dynamic range between highlight and shadow and make it easier for your camera to record detail.
3. Directionality: The direction the light is coming from is another key factor. If you have light glancing in from the side…it will create long shadows that will magnify form and shape. Like muscle. For a body builder it’s great. They look much more muscular.
For a teenager, it can be a nightmare. Every pimple looks HUGE. Light coming directly into the face can either make your subject squint, or at the right intensity can fill in wrinkles and visually take off ten years! Back light can beautifully rim your subject or cause lens flare and ruin the shot.
Understanding how the directionality of light will affect your subject is as important as knowing how to turn on your camera. Your subject will determine if a certain photography lighting technique is right or wrong!