Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Feature: Light

I hope this isn't too simple a Friday feature- it's always nice to revisit the basics.

Lighting is the MOST important aspect of photography.

A definition of photograph is writing with light. The source of light is just as important as the amount of light.


Hard Light is light that is direct and harsh. It hits your subject from straight on or above. Most photo classes I've taken or books I've read advise you not to start out using hard light- rather to avoid it until you can confidently manipulate it the way you want. Until you can use it properly hard light is rarely flattering, causes harsh shadows and blown out highlights.



*Sources for hard light:

-Sun at Noon

-Flash- on camera flash, which also causes red eye.



A good type of light to use is Soft Light. This is light that is indirect and almost flat. It's very flattering and hard to go wrong with.



Another type of light that makes for nice photos is Dimensional Light.
A lot of painters have made their living off of dimensional lighting. Rembrandt’s studio had one wall made up entirely of windows. He would open and close the blinds to get the quality of light that he wanted at certain times of the day. Rembrandt Light is a lighting effect that was used beautifully in many Rembrandt paintings.The effect is to light a person so only ¼ of their face is in shadow and there is a triangle of light under one eye. It is a universally flattering, yet dramatic light on faces. It allows for most of the face to be illuminated but with some interesting shadow detail.



*Sources for Soft/Dimensional Light:
-Window light

-Porches

-Open Shade – Is shade that isn't directly under the source that is causing the shade.

-Open Doors

-Open Garages

-Trees- Make sure you watch for uneven light on your subject when under tree shade.

-Overcast days- Can give a wonderful diffused lighting


The Golden Hour for photography is right before the sun goes down. It's considered by many to be the best time to take photos.

10 comments:

Rachel H. said...

I think this is a super feature! Especially where summer and SUNSHINE are coming up in abundance!! Great tips for lighting!

Breezi said...

This is a wonderful feature! You did a great job of explaining everything.
Thanks for your time doing this :)

Teri said...

Thank you so much for the tips and also the pictures, they are really beautiful. I love the Friday Feature!

Blake said...

Thanks for the tips. I have noticed overcast days have been good for me. Where Im at during this time of year I have quite a few of them.

You mentioned open garages, I never thought about that before. I will have to try and set something up in a garage.

Candace said...

Thanks for posting this! Lighting and how to correctly use it is the subject my brain is most focused on right now, so this was great to read! :)

Katy said...

Awesome Friday Feature, thanks!! That's something I really need to work on... seems like all of my pictures harsh light these days!! Wahoo for longer days!

Felicia H. said...

Great Friday feature!!

Mindy said...

April, what a great friday feature! My favorite lighting is in my dining room next to a window that has a porch, so it's not direct. I love how you explained the different kinds of lighting... thank you!

Melinda said...

This was the PERFECT feature for me!! (Especially after my last post.) Can't wait to put it into practice...let's hope I improve now on the next challenge!

Travis and Jenny Holloway said...

Very interesting and informative--will definitely have to try these ideas out! Thanks for the info! --jenny