Photography Lighting Strategies for Beginners

yashica-711794_640Professional photographers have distinct lighting strategies and know how important and essential good lighting is to beautiful pictures.  To start making beautiful creative pictures you need to understand the basics of lighting.

Once you build a foundation of basic photography skills then you want to expand your skills, capture moments of merriment, nature, and love.  Here are some helpful strategies that will set you apart.  You will master the fundamentals rather quickly.

  • Using a wider light source gives you softer light and subdues the shadows, on the other hand using narrower light generates a harder light and sharpens the shadows.   Wider light doesn’t emphasize shadows or textures and it works for portraits and wedding photos.  Narrower light creates sharper shadows increases the contrast between colors, forms and shape.  It accentuates the textures giving them a different and three dimensional look.
  • Diffusion takes a light source and makes it wider and softer.  Think of clouds, they take the suns light and diffuse, making it softer and it is a brilliant lighting strategy.  Clouds cover the sun’s light and softens the shadows.  Three types of diffusing light are clouds, overcast skies and fog.
  • Indirect lighting or bouncing light from a matte surface, a wall or ceiling can work to diffuse light.  This allows light to spread and cover a wider area.
  • Using distance and where the light is placed can determine how soft or hard the light will be.  The closer light is to a subject matter, it covers a wider area and make the photo look more artistic.  The further away you place the light it becomes narrower and has a harder light source.
  • Shadows give your subject form.  It can create a three dimensional perspective, it does this by increasing the highlights, mid-tones and the shadows.  Shadows created through lighting give your subject the appearance of an object in its space rather than just a shape in a photo.
  • Fall off happens when you put the light away from the subject.  The light will be dimmer on your subject and varying the light gives you more artistic shadows.  The effect of using fall off can change the relationship between the subject in the foreground and the background of your picture.  Closer light gives you far more contrast between the subject and the background.
  • Blending with the background doesn’t mean that your subject fades into the background but that the background works for the picture.  Think back to your school pictures and all the backgrounds that were used there.  All of them looked fake and very contrived.  Tie your subject to the background so that you’re enhancing that point in time.  Wedding photographers are masters of this skill.

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