Friday, June 11, 2010

Photography Tips- Natural Light




Let’s first talk about why lighting is important. As you’re beginning to learn here, photography is all about light. Photography is the act of picking an aperture setting, opening a shutter for a length of time, and letting the light that reflects off the subject, bounce through the camera and towards the sensor or film in the back. So what gives an image a harsh contrast or that soft romantic feel? It’s not just photoshop or post-process editing. Most of the quality of a photograph comes from what kind of light was being bounced toward the sensor. The photos in this post I took around 7 30 pm near the end of Spring, I think the sun was setting around 8 or 8:15. At this point the sun in the sky was behind the trees, and I find this is the best time for photos. When the sun is just hiding, it still illuminates the sky enough to illuminate the ground, and if you’re using your shutter speeds properly, and perhaps a tripod (though the images above were handheld), you can pick up some really good detail from this. When sunlight is hitting an object directly it causes harsh shadows and bright highlights, and though to the human eye this can look fantastic, the camera will over-record those highlights, and under-record the shadows, meaning you see no detail in either area.


Sometimes you may want this strong contrast, but to the traditional classic photographers (and to your professors when you’re receiving an education), the goal of a good exposure is to capture details in the highlights as well as the shadows.


When people refer to the “quality” of light, they usually mean its degree of diffusion, which can range from contrasty and hard-edged to soft and diffused. Direct light creates hard-edged, dark shadows. The smaller the light (relative to the size of the subject) or the further away, the shaper and darker the shadows will be. An example of direct light is a spotlight, or the sun on a clear day. Diffused light scatters onto the subject from many directions. Shadows, if present, are very light. An overcast day, dusk, or the shade will diffuse and soften light. This can be really nice lighting for portraits, gently modeling the planes of the face.


If you plan on shooting outdoors a lot, here is a very useful tip: Light changes as the time of day changes.


Daylight has a natural blue cast to it, so the more sun that’s available, the cooler your photograph will feel. So for that warmer tone, sunrise and sunset is best, or a bit of photoshop!

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous11.6.10

    Hey, great photos and great site!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous11.6.10

    You really have a lot of useful information here, thanks so much for posting. It's much better than a lot of the same regurgitated crap I see on the web. Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11.6.10

    I check this site at least every week, you really have some helpful posts! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous11.6.10

    Great colors, easy on the eyes

    ReplyDelete
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