Shining the light on taking stunning photographs
We’re all photographers these days. The world encourages us to be. We’re constantly capturing moments and storing them for posterity, sharing on social media, and sending them via text to our friends. From citizen journalists snapping photographs of developing events to parents carefully documenting every moment of their baby’s life, it’s something we all do.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiastic amateur, you’re going to want your photographs to look as good as possible. One of the key components to achieving this is good lighting. Lighting is so important that it genuinely can make or break the quality of a photo. Here is what you need to keep in mind to ensure that you’re constantly capturing the moment in the best possible light…
Use the Golden Hour
If you’re only just introducing lighting considerations into your photography, you must first become acquainted with the “golden hour”. The golden hour allows you to capture images in truly stunning, natural lighting. It occurs around an hour before sunset. The effect produced in your snaps is more beautiful than anything photo-editing software could ever achieve. There’s a great article here about how you can use the golden hour to your advantage. It’s definitely worth giving a read and then trying for yourself.
Get Close to Your Subject
It’s important to be close to your subject when trying to capture details in an image. The closer you are, the more you can manage the lighting conditions. As this fantastic article details, getting close to your subject is also a wonderful way of connecting with the subjects of your photographs. It’s definitely worth a try.
Opt for Warm Light
Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between warm and cool light. There’s a great primer on this topic here. When you know what warm light is, integrating it into your photography will make a huge difference. Cool light is simply not that flattering. This becomes very noticeable if you’re trying to photograph people. By switching to warmer hues, your photographs will immediately improve. Your subjects will be delighted by the finished result of your work too— all thanks to warm light!
Learn to Manage Direct Light
Given the importance of good lighting in photography, it’s easy to think that the more light you have to photograph in, the better. This isn’t actually true. Direct light — where the light hits the subjects directly from the source, without being reflected from other surfaces — is far from ideal when it comes to taking stunning photographs. This is a an issue if you are trying to photograph in bright sunlight. Direct light can in fact create shadows and otherwise distort your images. Thankfully, there is help at hand. This article has a great list of tips that should allow you to take photographs in direct light with a minimum of issues.
The Importance of Light Should not be Underestimated
Focusing on achieving good lighting in your photography is a surefire way to produce the best possible images. With so many new apps available to correct lighting mistakes, many people think that they no longer need to give much thought or attention to the lighting while taking the photo. However, getting the lighting correct from the moment you shoot the photo can save hours of editing later. Also, don’t hesitate to move yourself or the subject to get the lighting angle correct. Lighting is a great first skill to master before investing in additional equipment. In future articles, I’ll share some other insights on how to take great photos. Until then, use the tips above and, before you know it, your photographs will be looking better than they ever have before.