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Lighting

Lesson 9 from: Photography Essentials: Getting Your Best Shots

Sean Dalton

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Lesson Info

9. Lighting

Lesson Info

Lighting

So for this lesson, I want to take a second to talk about lighting. Lighting can be a very complex thing when it comes to photography can be very technical, but it's also the most important because as we said before, cameras capture light. I think one of the things that really sets good photographers apart is their understanding of light. Um they can use it to really capture the look they want, they can manipulate it. I mean they know where to find the best light to capture the photo that they really want. Now, lighting isn't something that you really can completely teach. And of course, I mean it's pretty complex. There's a lot of different things going on and light can really affect your photo in different ways, but there are a few topics that can greatly improve your understanding of light and the effect that it has on your photo. So for this video, there's three things I want to focus on the quality of the light source, the strength of the light source and the direction of the ligh...

t source. These are the three most crucial features to understand and essentially every light that you use in your scenes, whether it's from the sun or indoors or whatever that might be. All three of these things. These three topics are going to apply to that light source. So starting things off first is the quality of the light source and this essentially means um how good that light sources. And there's really two categories that fall into the quality of light or kind of all light sources for that matter, That's natural light and artificial light. Natural light is referring to light from the sun and artificial light is referring to light like this one that I'm using here or a flash or kind of any kind of light that's not from the sun. So for the most part, I think for most photographers needs natural light is king. Natural light is the most beautiful light. It has the nicest color. Um and it's called natural light for a reason it looks so natural, it looks so good. I mean it can be very flattering for your subjects. I think the only time artificial light is necessary is if you're shooting at night or if you're a professional photographer and you need a very, very specific lighting setup that you just can't really get from the sun because the sun is not always that reliable. So don't worry about using artificial light, don't worry about using flashes or anything like that. Natural light is amazing. And you know, most of my favorite photographers of all time, you know, understand how to use natural light in a really beautiful way. So quality was natural light and that's what I want to be focusing on as this course goes on. So the next topic I want to discuss is the strength of your light source. Um and when we're talking about the strength of the light source, oftentimes we're talking about hard light versus soft light, hard light being light that is very strong, very, very bright um resulting in a lot of different shadows. Maybe high contrast and soft light being light that is a little bit more gentle. Um a little bit more relaxed um and just kind of easier on the eyes in general. So the strength of a light source is dependent on two things the size of that light source. Um So the bigger the light source, typically the softer the light um and then as well as the distance of the light to the subject. So the closer that light is to your subject, actually, the bigger that light source becomes um in the further away, the smaller that light source becomes. So we can often use something called a diffuser to make our light source bigger. Um and that helps kind of spread out the light a little bit, a little bit soften it up um and helps us get better results with things like portraiture, food photography or any kind of photography where we just don't want a really, really hard light. So, for example, if you're shooting in the middle of the day, the middle of the day on a hot summer day, that light is going to be very, very hard. Um you're gonna have shadows under the eyes. If you're taking a portrait, you're gonna have shadows under the nose, it's just not gonna look that great, but if you add a diffuser in between your subject and the sun. Well that will make that light nice and soft and a lot easier to shoot. You can also shoot in the early morning or in the late afternoon. Um That is the best time to capture natural light. Um That's because it's more soft during that time. Um the color is really beautiful, it's often very golden um and that's just beautiful light that you can shoot in. So when it comes to hard light, I don't want you to completely dismiss it. Um Some of the best street photos of all time were taken in really, really hard light and that's because like I said, it adds a lot of contrast. Um then you can also get these really harsh long shadows in your image that can kind of create areas a little bit mysterious, a little bit interesting. Um a lot of interesting lines. So hard light is very cool um and I think it's just as interesting as soft light. So experiment we're shooting at different times of the day um and that will give you a better understanding of hard light versus soft light. Um and things like that and the last topic I want to discuss in terms of lighting might be the most important out of all three and that is the direction of the light source. So I break down the direction of the light source into three different ways. Um Front light. So that means you're shooting with the light, so the light source is behind you or maybe right in front of your camera. Um side light, so the light is coming from the side, it's hitting your subject from the side. Um and then back light where you're shooting into the light. So maybe you're shooting somebody indoors and their window is behind them or you're shooting somebody outside and the sun is behind them, all three are going to drastically change the outcome of your photo. And one of the biggest tips I have for you to capturing more dynamic photos with more interesting light is to not shoot with the light. Don't shoot with front light when you're shooting with front light with the light source behind you or just directly in front of the camera, you're not gonna get any of the shadows in the image, It's gonna light everything perfectly, everything's gonna be evenly lit and it's just not gonna be dynamic, it's not gonna be that cool. If you shoot with sidelight or backlight, you're gonna get a lot more interesting light coming through the frame, you're gonna have shadows all over the place, it's just gonna look way cooler. And personally I love shooting side light, I think it's the easiest to shoot. Um because you're not shooting into the really bright sun. Um and it just looks the best. Uh and this goes with all types of photography, food photography, portrait photography, landscape photography. I always try to shoot with either sidelight or backlight. Um and I think this is one of the things, if you can understand this, you're gonna set yourself apart from 99% of the photographers out there, lighting is one of those things that so many courses overlooked, but it's also the most important and it has the biggest effect on your image. So next time you go outside and shoot, try shooting from different perspectives in accordance to where your light source is. So go outside with a friend, um anytime of the day, it doesn't matter. Um and shoot them with the sun behind them, to the side of them, and then also um, the sun behind you and just look at the differences between the photos. Um I think you'll come up with some really cool stuff.

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