Basics: Lights

Photos are literally made by light, so we should try to make sense of it.

Cameras capture light, not pictures. I like to consider several things about lighting when taking a photo. I’ll be referring to taking photos of a single subject, or object, as a focus.

Is there enough light?

The most important of these. You need light to capture light. Make sure there’s enough light. In most situations, there can’t be too much light.

Where the light is coming from

Lighting direction is very important. Think of it like when you hold a flashlight to someone’s face. Would you want to shine under their chin like a horror film, or from the side for some contrast.

Where it’s going

Where the light bounces off of should also be considered. When you have a main source of light, the extra light will always bounce off the background and back to the subject. You should think of how much of that light you need to fill in the shadows on your subject, and what the reflected light will look like on your subject (like not a neon yellow poster making them look weird)

The source

What time of day is it? Is it sunny? Cloudy? Are you in the shadows? Indoors? What type of light bulbs are being used? Pay attention to how the color of the light affects your subject and your image. Typically a cloudy but bright day is the best time for outdoor photos, and fluorescent lights don’t look great in photos (kinda green)

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