photography lighting
the dramatic impact of lighting

Are you interested in photography lighting? It's a fascinating topic! It's also the single most important element for you to understand as a photographer. Here is a list of photography lighting articles on this site.

3 photography Lighting VariationsThree Photography Lighting Variations

You can completely change the impact and the emphasis of your subject with small changes in how you light it. One of the ways to describe photography is painting with light.

Literally, photography is simply the recording of the light reflecting off of your subject that hits your camera sensor.

Natural Photo Lighting CondtionsDramatic impact photography lighting has on photographs!

Four out of five of these photos were taken using the natural light from windows. They are all so very different. Only the guitar player in the middle above is lit from a stage light. 

Lighting is a broad topic but a lot of fun to cover and I've had a blast writing about the many facets of lighting and its importance relating to photography. Digital photography is completely dependent upon light and I am a self-professed lighting geek


soft lighting on daisyThe "soft lighting" on this daisy was just perfect!

Although it sound likes one simple topic, lighting can be quite complicated and I continue to try to educate myself continuously in order to get better at reading and controlling light.

There are actually many characteristics about light to consider. These include the brightness, the direction and the size of the light source, as well as many other aspects like the color of light.

photography lighting equipment

You can learn a lot about lighting by reading the reviews of consumers who have purchased and used lighting equipment. The links below give you lots of customer reviews on various lighting options for your photography.


If you happen to find something you like and you buy it, I get a little commission. It costs you nothing and that money helps me keep this site going for you. Thank you.

Combine the amazing diversity of subject matter that is presented to us, along with the many number of ways to use natural or artificial lighting, and we have an infinite number of interesting photographs to create. The world is your photography palette.

Study the picture of the wooden floor at the beginning of this post  for a minute. The wood actually takes on 5 different appearances because of the lighting. You have the pure white from the direct sunlight streaming through the window. Secondly you have the reflection in the top left corner of the photo of another light object.

Then you have the three differently tinted areas near the sunlight reflection: the white-ish in the bottom right, the neutral brown in the bottom left and the warmish brown in the top.


Okay, I guess you can tell I am a lighting geek. But here we have a single boring subject that takes on five very different appearances within the same photograph.

The wood floor is essentially uniformly the same in these five different areas. They only appears to our eyes and the camera sensor very differently because of the photography lighting.

The key thing is to become a great observer of the existing light first. Develop a passion for noticing where the light is coming from and what effect it is having on your subject.



Good timing - morning light in the FallGood timing - morning light in the Fall

One little trick to observing where the main light source is to use the "squinting technique". When you look at a potential scene to photograph, squint your eyes.

The brightest areas will become more pronounced in your sight and give you a quick snapshot of your photographic composition.

I've linked a bunch of other related articles on more specific topics below.

Do you like to photograph people? How about reading this article on Outdoor Portrait Photography?


Are you interested in a lighting lesson for flash on camera situations? I chose a boring subject so that you can easily absorb the photography lighting tip in this article: Lighting in Photography.

If we had no light, we would have no photography. The first step is see the light. Learning to see the light is a great skill to practice even when you are not taking pictures.

And when I say "seeing the light," it's not an epiphany and it doesn't mean just casually looking at a scene. It means asking yourself how the light is effecting your subject. What qualities are being revealed and emphasized?


The direction of the photo lighting has a dramatic effect on all of the elements within the photo.

The change from looking to seeing is part of artistic growth.

It takes a conscious decision, and with time and practice you will get better at judging how your picture will turn out.


This photograph of the rock surface in Zion National park shows the importance of photography lighting direction.

The direction of the lighting really brings out the irregular and unique surface of the rock face.

The second thing to do is to decide if the light is going to create your desired effect or if you want to modify the light.

In this case, we can't change the sunlight, can we? Modify the light might mean returning to this spot at a different time of day or maybe even a different time of year when the sun is at a completely different angle.


In other situation, consider whether you want to add flash, add fill light or perhaps adjust the exposure to create a certain effect. You may want to move to a different angle or location to get a different lighting situation.

Consider moving or turning your subject to face a different direction if that's possible. Experiment by moving your camera position to a new location. Not only with the photography lighting change, but the background directly behind your subject may change as well.



photography lighting articles

You may find some of these articles useful in specific areas you would like information about:


The 4 Elements of Photo Lighting. Direction, quality, intensity, duration.

How to Use Fill Light. Use fill light to lighten the shadows.

Photography Lighting Techniques. Use the squinting technique, shadows and the LCD.


Lighting Photography Portraits. What kind and how many lights. Lighting ratio.

Portrait Photography and Lighting. Why it matters so much to me.

Nighttime Photography. Tripods, Shutter cords and exposure.

Use Morning Light. Use the sweet light available in the morning.

Tips for Lighting Macro. What's the best kind of lighting for macro photography? Eight examples of great macro lighting.

Photo Lighting Kits. There are many choices for lighting kits. 

Moonlight Photos. One of the most common mistakes with photography lighting is made by over exposing moonlight photos. Here is the link to access three articles on photographing the moon.

Does Lighting Really Matter?   What do you think of this sentence: "Everything that light touches can be photographed in an interesting way."

In addition to these articles on photography lighting, take advantage of the other articles and tips for taking digital photography on this web site and have fun learning to take better digital pictures.


Happy Shooting!
Bruce

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