Importance of Lighting in Photography

Photography lighting can be the difference between a breathtaking photo and a terrible one. The science behind photography lightingis really what photographers use each time they take a picture, whether they know it or not. Without good lighting, a photograph can be grainy and blurred. Professional photographers understand the relationship between their camera settings and the light that they have available. Different kinds of light can create different effects in a photograph. If a photographer knows how the light will change the picture, he or she can create the exact photo that they want.

Sunlight at Different Times of Day

Natural sunlight is one of the best light sources a photographer can use. On a clear day it is bright and covers everything equally from the same direction. Photos taken during the middle of a sunny day will have sharp, bright colors and plenty of detail. Sunlight creates a different effect during the first few hours of the day and the last few hours before it sets. When the sun is low on the horizon it shines through the atmosphere at a different angle. Photographs taken in early morning and late afternoon will be permeated with a soft and hazy atmosphere because of the quality of the sunlight.

Low Light Situations

Taking photographs in low light can be a challenge. If you use a typical flash, the subject of the photo may be too washed out because of the harsh lighting. Taking a photo without a flash in low light can give you a grainy image that is blurry and filled with indistinct objects. When you know you need to take photos in a dimly lit room or at night, you can change the settings on your camera to compensate for the dim lighting as much as possible. Set the ISO to a higher setting so that the camera shutter will be able to take advantage of any available light in the room. If possible, mount your camera on a tripod to avoid any camera movement. Before you take your pictures, though, you should understand that it is very difficult to get sharp images in dim light.

What Reflected Light Does to a Photograph

Reflected light is a tool that photographers use to avoid glare in photos. When the light shines directly on someone or something, there is always a chance that there will be a bright "hot spot" in the picture. Reflected lighting is created by shining the light onto a white wall or board so that the light bounces toward your subject and covers the subject in an even, diffused lighting. You can adjust the angle of the light so that it creates the exact look that you want. Moving the light closer and further away from your subject will change the quality of the shadows and create a different atmosphere for your photograph. Many photographers who specialize in taking portraits prefer the control that they have when they use reflected and diffused lighting instead of sunlight.