How To Use Light in Photography

To achieve good results in making photos with different light sources you need firstly to get acquainted with the photo camera’s manual regime and secondly to forget about automatic regimes. While making outdoor portrait photos in build flash can improve the photo. In cloudy weather the photo becomes more bright and saturate. It sunny day the use of flash allows to avoid deep shadows.

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Probably the best lighting for outdoor portrait photos is dispersed light in cloudy weather. Also the problem photographers frequently meet with is the shortage of light in room. In build flash application is not the best way to increase lighting.

Flash provides hard light and while the light source is small and the light isn’t dispersed shadows become highly intensive. Flash makes faces flat and that leads to a lack of artistic attractiveness of the photo. All the wrinkles and skin defects are reproduced instead of unique eyes expression of the model. Moreover, while making portrait photos at home it’s better to combine flash with natural light only because the combination of flash and electric light bulb provides not the best color effects. The lighting must be selected carefully to reproduce the face volume and form without deep shadows. It is desirable to make the light soft because such lighting won’t be contrasting and will create smooth changes making the photo gentler.

The sources of light in photography may carry out the following functions:

1. Drawing light. The source of drawing light ought to be the only one. In theory it is the main light in the composition. It is a directed light which reveals the object’s form and details. It’s necessary to use the lamps of different capacity or to place them at different distance from the object. The source of light is usually placed not closer than 1, 5-2 meters from the object, but not too far from it also. The function of drawing light may be performed by sunlight which passes through a door or a window. The drawing light creates shady outline.

2. Fill in light owes to light up the object uniformly and to create an appropriate level of illumination to show all the details and to remove visible shadows. It makes shadows more radiant. Fill in light must be soft, for instance, the source of it may be directed in light ceiling.

3. Modeling light is used as additional fill in light. It illuminates shadows in defined areas. Modeling light can be created by small sources of soft light. It allows getting patches of light and reflexes on the details of object.

4. Contrary light. The source of light is placed behind the object. It is used to create light outline. If you want to make the bar of light outline wider put the source of light closer to the object and vise versa to make it narrower place the source of light more distant.

5. Background light. Soft and dispersed light is the best for it, but directed light may be used too. Background light marks out the object, creates the difference of lighting between the object and the background. To get an ideal white background make the light directed to the background stronger than to the object. To emphasize the object on a bright background the object needs to be elucidated better than the background.

6. Light accent. A narrow directed beam of soft or even hard light is directed to the part of object which needs to be accentuated.

Article Submitted by Alex Maas (
Shot Addict is a digital photography website which runs free online photo contests and free photo galleries.

2 Responses to “How To Use Light in Photography”

  1. StephanieCHC says:

    Thanks for the great tips about lighting, they are very helpful. Our company recently posted a blog about taking better photos and we touched a little on lighting, and agreed that cloudy days do give great outdoor lighting. We also recommend that when using flash use a ‘fill light’ or ‘slow sync’ mode on the camera to avoid any unwanted shadows the flash may create.

    Thanks again for the tips!


  2. Larry Larry says:

    Very good lighting advice.

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