Wednesday, 23 February 2011


The prefix photo- means "light, or radiant energy." Photography is all about light. How light is used in making a photograph can make all the difference in the resulting image. Light defines space, place, time of day, and mood. Creative use of light can be used for dramatic impact, to lend extra depth, and to add to the general composition of the photograph. The following tips can help you to use light to your advantage for improving your photography, no matter what type of camera you use.
What is the time of day?
Bright sunlight, midday, is not the best time for photography. In fact, it may be the worst, if you think of light in terms of its interaction with shadow. Light and shadow form compositional elements that continuously change as the light changes. At midday, there is very little shadow; existing shadows are harsh and contrasty. Sharply contrasted elements can sometimes lend themselves to an interesting composition, but in most cases, hard bright light washes away interesting elements in landscapes, and creates unflattering shadows across people's faces. In landscape photography, there is no "magic hour." However, every scene has its moment of prime light, and with patience you may be able to capture it. Long after high noon, for example, the light steadily begins to improve. During late afternoon, shadows become part of the composition, evoking drama and emotion. Light later in the evening takes on a golden or reddish glow. Take the time to continue shooting a scene as the light fades into the evening. You may be amazed at the results.

What direction is the light coming from?
When shooting outdoors, frontlighting (sun behind the photographer) is most commonly used and the least interesting direction of light for your images. It works well for showing great detail on the surface of your subject, such as flowers blossoms, but sidelighting is a much better light to use whenever feasible. Sidelighting adds depth impact to your photos, whether your subject is a pinecone, sand dune ripples, a vast forested landscape, or a bustling cityscape. The most dramatic is backlighting, or shooting "against the light." This technique is difficult to master, but worth it. Backlighting can be used to create silhouettes of the subjects in the foreground (often people) with wonderful results. Think backlighting when photographing anything translucent such as misty spider webs, delicate blooms, or wispy blond hair. When using backlight to photograph a person, use your flash or a reflector to lighten the face and avoid an unintentional silhouette.

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