Photography Lighting Tips For Beginners

To Flash or Not to Flash

Flash can look harsh, and appear to be very unnatural in pictures. These extend from taking photographs of the gorgeous fireworks that we observe across the river, to photographs that are as personal as indoor portraits.

We should bear in mind that there are various ways that we can take an imagine indoors without having to use flash on our cameras.


Flash versus Natural Light

Natural light is always the best. As we all know, lighting is an important factor in creating a successful image.

Lighting not only determines the brightness and darkness, but also conveys the tone, mood and atmosphere of the photograph. Hence, a good photographer (like ours) know that it is necessary to control and manipulate light correctly in order to get the best texture, vibrancy of colour and luminosity of our subjects.

By distributing shadow and highlights accurately, we can create professional-looking photographs effortlessly.


What Can You Do

First, we can push the ISO up. What is ISO, you may ask. In the past, ISO was used in in traditional photography (film) to indicate how sensitive a film was to the light.

Being measured in numbers that ranged from 100, 200, 400, 800 etc, a lower value would suggest a lower level of sensitivity, not forgetting the finer the grain in the shots you’re taking.

However, now that many of us own Digital Cameras, ISO in Digital Photography measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The same principles apply as in film photography - the lower the number, the less sensitive your camera is to the light and the finer the grains visible in the photograph.


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Higher numbers just mean that your camera sensor becomes more sensitive to light, which allows the camera to be used in darker situations. The cost of doing so is more grain.

Even though camera quality and adaptability is evolving and have improved over time, many models of cameras are still able to use high ISO settings and get images that appear clear and useful.

To put it simply, if speed is required to shoot a photograph, a higher ISO would be used so that a faster shutter speed can be used to freeze the moment. But this can be another whole topic by itself; Exposure.

Flash can look harsh and unnatural especially for indoor portraits. Therefore, there are various ways that you can take an imagine indoors without resorting to flash.

If flash is an absolute necessity, then use a flash with a head that can be rotated. Point the light towards the ceiling at an angle, and take your photographs. You’ll be amazed and the difference that makes!


Where to position your lights

The source of where the light comes from has a huge impact on how it falls on the subject. We need to remember that light originating from behind the camera and pointing directly onwards gives us a very flat lighting image. It will also cause shadows to fall in the background of the image.

For those aspiring photographers, try side lighting, it produces a far more interesting light, as it shows the share of the subject much more and cast it in partial shadow giving it a more dramatic effect.


Shaping & Manipulating Light

Adding a diffuser to a light source can reduce glare and harsh shadows and also diminishes blemishes on your subject. It gives the artificial light a softer more natural looking result.

Diffusion of light can happen in numerous ways - using soft boxes, umbrellas, and sheer heatproof material work really well to achieve this result. Light can be manipulated to fall on a particular area of interest on your subject. This can be achieved through the use of diffusers and reflectors.

Collapsible Reflectors shape sunlight or bounce flash light on the area that is to be highlighted. Spot lights can also be covered in light shapers that enable us to have more control over the direction the light will fall and how broad the light spans.


Interesting Fact

Ever heard of Rembrandt lighting? That’s right - it is an effective common example of this lighting type. Rembrandt lighting is a lighting technique that is used to studio portrait photography. It can be achieved using one light and a reflector, or two lights, and is popular because it is capable of producing images that appear both natural and compelling with minimal equipment used.


In Summary

All in all, though there seems to be many things we can do to ensure a better turn-out for our photographs, all we need to do is pick out a few tips that work for us and stick to them. That’ll do the trick!

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