Professional Lighting Photography

Without light,  there is no photography. Technically, the sensor can register nothing without light. But light is also needed to achieve certain artistic effects. In addition to illuminating one’s subject, light in certain circumstances, even becomes the main subject of your picture. The quality of light can make, or break your picture.Framing, composition, perspective, and the subject, must all work together to be a successful picture. But even if you apply all these elements together perfectly, the picture will still be missing something. Most non-photographers take the light as a given. They are not aware that the quality, and  behavior of the light, create the atmosphere of a scene. As a photographer, you need a good understanding of the quality, and  behavior of light  to exercise control over the final image.

Still Life Photography Lighting Techniques

Light has many features that a photographer can exploit, to achieve a certain effect. Lighting can be strong or weak, the subject can be lit from the front, from behind, or from the side. Light reflects differently on different surfaces. The light can come in a high, or low angle. Hard, with dark, and clear shadows, or soft, almost shadowless, or with shadows spread-out, but not dominating the picture.You can use light in a certain  way that it becomes your signature.  You can stamp your photos with your own  unique style by the way you manipulate light. Do  this long enough, and soon it will distinguish your work from other photographers. Some photographers are sought after by clients  because of their distinct  way in capturing beautiful images , because of their mastery in using light.

The Power To Paint With  Light

Just as the famous painters have  their  own masterful brush strokes, you , as a photographer, have  the power to paint with light, and  create a particular atmosphere. Like a sculptor modelling a lump of clay, you  enhance your artwork by using different  lighting techniques  to get to your  final image. This picture is worth a thousand words of the Lensman. Learning how to deal with light is an immensely powerful artistic medium.

Professional Lighting Photography

Directional Light

Hard light is often described as directional light. The pointed shadows that these light sources give off are dark, with clearly defined Directional light edges. Although under sunlight, the reflected light in the atmosphere still has a soothing effect, and  cast soft shadows. You’ll get very dark shadows if flash units are used without another light source. The contrast in the scene is increased, the harsh light makes the light parts even lighter, and the shadows even darker. Edges are strongly delineated, and give a three-dimensional feeling, giving the illusion of depth.

During high summer, in the middle of the day, as the Sun is very high in the sky,  the effect of the focused sunlight is less clear. All parts of the scene are lit equally, there is little contrast difference between the shadows, and the highlights, which makes the picture boring. There is nothing in the scene that  catches the eye. Forms, and composition, then  play a bigger role.

This is the time when many tourists shoot pictures  from their summer holidays, between 10-11 AM, 12PM, and 5 PM. Sooner or later in the day, when the Sun is lower to the horizon,  you have more opportunities to play with the light. By placing yourself, and your subject at a certain angle from the Sun,  you can achieve different effects, and better photos of the places you  go to.

Direction Of Light

The least flattering light is  the light directly over your shoulder. This illuminates the subject  from the front. This creates a flat, felverlicht  subject, with little texture, and shape. There are no shadows that can give the illusion of depth, or a shadow directly behind the subject. This kind of lighting is what  you see often, when a flash  is used at full power on someone’s face. However, it can become interesting, if the  light cast by the (low) Sun illuminates a building or landscape,  with large dark clouds behind. The frontal light, then illuminates the subject, which creates  a great contrast between the landscape, and sky.

We call it a sidelight if the light source comes  from either the left, or right side of the photographer. Brightly lit parts, and dark shadows create a strong contrast, giving emphasis to the shape of the subject . Sidelight highlights, texture, and gives the illusion of depth in landscapes. You can  take advantage of using sidelight yourself, by choosing a different time of day to take pictures. Side lamp comes in high summer only early, or late in the day when the Sun is lower on the horizon. But lens flaring is more common when using sidelight, so you better use a lens hood.

Portrait Photography Lighting Techniques Home


Backlight,  means the light source is directly behind the subject. This  kind of lighting often gives a dramatic effect to a photo. It ensures that subjects are illuminated from behind, causing details to disappear,  and creating a stronger contrast between light, and dark. Shadows and silhouettes  are more visible, and lines, and shapes are emphasized. The light source in the photo often shows up as a bright spot or halo around the subject. In beautiful evening light, backlight can completely envelop the subject. Transparent subjects such as leaves, jellyfish, etc.  get  a beautiful luster. Your shutter speed should be slow enough to allow light into the sensor, so the subject  will not be  in  silhouette.

In portrait photography, frontal light is more flattering, and  can  best show your subject’s  features. Side-lighting is best  used when you want to emphasize the shape, form and texture of your subject.Direct sunlight often casts hard lighting. If used in portraits, you can edit your photos by adjusting it to softer light to conceal your subject’s imperfections. Soft light camouflages  the wrinkles, or other blemishes, on someone’s face. Hard light in a corner also gives the best impression of sharpness, and  make textures  more visible. A good way to work with directional light is by taking pictures beside a window. The light from the outside  comes in, and serves as a spotlight for your subject.

Spread Light

On cloudy days, the light seems to be evenly distributed everywhere. Everything is visible, the sensor can capture many details, but lacks depth.  Just as during the height of summer, you can’t see any shadows, everything  from all sides are evenly lit. The light cast on the surrounding scene is much softer. This light gives a completely different effect than the directional light from the Sun, or a flash, and it is best to apply if you want to capture subtle details in color, or bring out the shape, like when  photographing flowers, or capturing detail in wet stones. The natural color of the subject is enhanced, and there is also more detail visible in the shadows, and highlights, because there are no reflections caused by bright sunlight.

For landscape photography, the light of a cloudy sky is considered  ‘ poor ‘. For some,  they will just come back when the light is better.  But sometimes you have no other choice, for example if you’re on  your well-deserved holiday. You can work around the lighting issue if you carefully select your subjects,  or use some other approach,  or techniques. There are many possibilities. For example, you can start looking for details in the landscape. Normally the contrast is too high in a forest, when the sun shines through the leaves. Especially on cloudy days , you can capture great detail in the subjects you can find in the forest.

Color Tones

Color has a significant impact on the mood you wish to reflect in a photo.  A color gets, and gives an emotional response. Warmer colors (yellow, and red ) tend to elicit a stronger emotional feeling, than cooler colors such as blue and green.  A good photographer uses this, and chooses the right time to shoot a particular picture.

The sky’s light blue color appears in  the middle of a hot summer day, than later in the day. An hour before, and after sunrise/sunset, the light plays a more prominent role, than in the middle of the day. The color quality of light changes continuously throughout the day. Most of the day,  people experience the bright cool color of the light, and see this as normal light. Before and after a sunrise, and sunset sunlight seems much warmer, almost yellow-orange.

Often than the light itself also a reason to take a photo. This time of day light has really a big influence on the final picture. It’s not for nothing that landscape photographers days get up early and go to a place draw near in the hope that all the elements well coincide and there a memorable photo. Especially if there are clouds in the sky reflects sunlight in the air and you’ll have great chances of nice warm colors in the sky.

Outdoor Lighting For Photography

Studio Photography

The light is not there, then you can make it too. The difference between studio photography and location photography is that the photographer in a studio usually starts with a white sheet of paper (unless there are large Windows in the studio are that the light from the outside to the inside drop) and everything yet to think of. For example, the photographer must figure out how to highlight the subject, what will be the effect of the light on the subject and then the lighting plan are implemented. And then it shows whether the idea is true or that adjustments are necessary.

A studio photographer must develop the light instead of see what already exists. This requires knowledge, skill, observation ability, organization and discipline. Good studio photography takes a lot of time, a lot of practice and a lot of patience.


Different objects will reflect light in a different way or even absorb. The part of an object where the light shines on is lighter than the parts of the objects where no light on. Some parts also give to see a shadow, because part of the light is blocked. The opposite is going on if an object reflects the light making it on other surfaces appears where it otherwise would come not directly. An object that can under different light would keep anyway, for example, in a table.

The principle of reflect is widely applied in portrait photography. With a reflector screen is curved so the light that this is the model. So are shadows with light colored that otherwise would be very dark. Often choose the photographer than for side lighting. Depending on the reflector to get a different effect. A white reflector makes it soft and light colors the soft shadows in. A silver reflector radiates the light more making it harder light. A gold reflector gives the light a warmer color.

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