Dawn (sunrise) and dusk (sunset) often have the best light for outdoor photography. Know ahead of time when and where the sun will rise and set. If you know this, you will be able to plan when and where to be to get the best shots.
“Whether you’re photographing a landscape, a flower, or a castle, there is an appropriate light that will bring out the best attributes of your subject.” – Unknown
The cool colors of early morning bring out the coldness of the frost in this picture.
- Think about what kind of light would be best for your subject and why.
Backlighting this soybean pod at sunset highlights its beautiful feathery-ness.
Bad weather is often great for exciting pictures. If you include the sky, it needs to look interesting.
Plan ahead for great light. Keep a list of places or things and what kind of lighting you think would suit them best. To refresh your memory, review Lesson 7 on the kinds of light.
We can learn a lot from the masters in photography.
Here is what some of them say about light.
Read the following eye-opening statements and then think about how to take this knowledge and apply it to your photography. Your photography will improve drastically!
“When the magic hour arrives, my thoughts center on the light rather than on the landscape. I search for when the perfect light is right and everything is working earthbound to match with it.”…”When the light is right and everything is working for me, I feel as tense as when making a difficult maneuver high on a mountain. A minute – and sometimes mere seconds- can make the difference between a superb image and a mundane one.” – Galen Rowel
“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” – George Eastman
“Of course, your camera also has certain limitations. While you have two eyes to take in a scene, the camera is limited to one. While your eye and mind can balance the details in highlight and shadow, you may find your camera and film unable to record these details as you perceive them with your eye. Understanding the limitations and strengths of your camera equipment and film are the first steps toward taking consistently better photographs.” – Jim and Kate Rowinski
“I look for what I have seen before, and I follow the hints of magical light the way I would follow clues on a treasure map. As Luis Pasteur once said, ‘Chance favors the prepared mind’, and I almost never arrive at the right place at the right time to make a photograph by chance. I am there because my photography has led me there through an understanding of the nuances of mountain light.” “I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record’ shot. My first thought is always of light” “It is easy to forget that light to photographers, like language to writers, is their only means of artistic expression. Without an understanding of language, combined with imagination and intuition, occasional strings of lyrical words are little more than intermittent accidents. So are photographs made without understanding the language of light.” “three components that need to merge at the instant the shutter is released in order to make a truly fine photograph of the natural world: technical proficiency, personal vision, and light.” – Galen Rowel
“Working the edge of a storm in hopes of finding dramatic light can be (both) frustrating and tremendously rewarding.” -Jim & Kate Rowinski
…”magic hour, soft light, backlight, light against light. Beyond those is a selective emphasis that sets them apart. Natural forms lose much of their significance when taken out of context, yet many photographers isolate single subjects in what I believe is a misguided quest for simplicity. Of far more importance is harmony, that is, combining the parts into a whole to create a clear message.” – Galen Rowel
I was reading some facts about light at Porter’s Camera, and thought I’d recreate some of them here for you to benefit from!
Narrow Light = harsh light – it’s coming from a small light source
Front light = flat light – In portrait photography, front lighting certainly helps when trying to make wrinkles disappear! Front lighting isn’t as interesting as side lighting though. It’s a trade-off. J
Side light brings out texture – and blemishes too! Good portraits often use something in between front lighting and side lighting. Highlights and shadows add depth and interest – just make sure there is detail in both!
All Light = colored light – Light has all the colors of the rainbow, even though it looks white, so remember to set your white balance to get the effect you want!
That’s all for today!
Talk to you next time,
“Find out what kind of light inspires you, then determine what subjects most often draw your attention and concentrate on them.” – Jim and Kate Rowinski
"Thy work is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven."