•  

Light

How to Avoid Burned-Out Highlights

Filed in Light, Tips by 1 Comment
How to Avoid Burned-Out Highlights

With very few exceptions, every photograph needs to have shadows and highlights. Defined, a shadow is an area that contains true blacks, and a highlight is an area that contains true whites. It sounds simple, but you probably already know that there’s an art to capturing those highlights and shadows. You can have true blacks in your photograph, but that doesn’t mean that they’re good shadows. And you can have true whites in your photograph, too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good highlights. How do you know the difference? Read on to find out. Continue Reading »

Yes, You Can Shoot Good Photos in Terrible Light

Filed in Light, Tips by 1 Comment
Yes, You Can Shoot Good Photos in Terrible Light

You probably have photographer friends who “tsk, tsk” you for heading out to take photos in the middle of the day. If not, you’ve probably at least read that you shouldn’t take photos during the middle of the day – you may have even gotten that idea from something you read on my site. And it is pretty decent advice for beginners, but it is not by any stretch of the imagination an unbreakable fact of photography. You can actually get good photos in bad light, contrary to popular belief. But how?
Continue Reading »

The Five Values of Light

Filed in Light, Tips by 2 Comments
The Five Values of Light

Before you became a photographer, there was exactly one sort of light. It was either on, or it was off. Sure, there were varying degrees of brightness – there was dim light and there was bright light, but it was all pretty much the same thing.

Then, when you learned how to use a camera, you discovered something new. There’s not just one kind of light. Light has color and direction. It can be hard or soft. It’s no longer just about how bright it is – now light has quality. And what’s more, that quality can make or break your photographs.
Continue Reading »

How to Take Great Photos at Midday

Filed in Light, Tips by 3 Comments
How to Take Great Photos at Midday

I’m pretty sure I’ve told you before that you ought to avoid taking photos in the middle of the day. I’m pretty sure. But just in case you missed that advice, I’ll say it again – mid-day is a lousy time to take photographs. If you have a choice, you should always opt for shooting during the magic hour – those golden moments just after sunrise or just before sunset, when the light is soft and warm. In fact, if you have a choice, shooting after dark can actually yield better results than typical mid-day shooting conditions.

But let’s be realistic. Sometimes you just don’t have the choice. Sometimes, your child has a soccer game at high-noon, or his best friend’s mom scheduled a lunchtime birthday party, or maybe it’s just because your lunch hour is the only available photography time-slot you have during the week. Sometimes you’re forced to make the best out of a bad situation. So how do you make the best out of this one?
Continue Reading »

Cloudy Day? Perfect for photography!

Filed in Light, Tips by 3 Comments
Cloudy Day? Perfect for photography!

Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t take photos on overcast days. Sure, cloudy days have their challenges, but they don’t call them “nature’s softbox” for nothing. Just follow a few simple tips and your cloudy day photographs will prove to those naysayers that overcast conditions really are perfect for photography.
Continue Reading »

Using a Reflector to Soften Hard Light

Filed in Light, Tips by 5 Comments
Using a Reflector to Soften Hard Light

You know all about the “golden hour”, that hour after sunrise and before sunset, when the light is beautiful and soft. Photographers dream of this light that flatters their subject and makes their work look like a million bucks. Now back to reality. What about that afternoon birthday party you booked, or your own child’s first steps on the beach at midday? There are always occasions when you are forced to shoot in less than ideal lighting situations. The harsh, midday light casts shadows and makes your job as a photographer more difficult, but you can still get great pictures even when it is bright outside. If you are doing a lot of portrait photography, just add a simple, relatively inexpensive tool to your kit – the reflector (and maybe a personal assistant to go with it)!
Continue Reading »

Tips for Great Candlelight Photography

Filed in Light, Tips by 4 Comments
Tips for Great Candlelight Photography

Want to create a romantic or dramatic mood in your next photo? Try candlelight as a lighting choice. Candle lit photos are absolutely beautiful when taken correctly. As this is a low light situation, there are some tricks to make sure your photos are correctly exposed. Read on for some tricks for taking great photos by candlelight.
Continue Reading »

Using lighting style to create mood: High-key and low-key lighting

Filed in Light, Tips by 6 Comments
Using lighting style to create mood: High-key and low-key lighting

Intermediate From reading my articles, I’m sure you now know all about light, range of tones, highlight and shadow, and how to make a beautifully-lit, perfectly balanced photo.

Now, I want you to temporarily forget it all! Today we’re going to mix it up a little.

Lighting does not always have to be perfectly balanced with a complete range of tones. Like color, different styles of lighting can produce different moods, and two of the most extreme examples of this can be found in high-key images and low-key images.
Continue Reading »

Dealing with Difficult Lighting Situations

Filed in Light, Tips by 6 Comments
Dealing with Difficult Lighting Situations

In the Photographer’s Perfect Paradise, the golden hour would last all day long. The light would forever be soft, your subjects would never squint and raccoon eyes would simply be markings on the face of a common North American procyonid.

But alas, we do not live in a Perfect Paradise. After all, we have to get up at dark-o-clock to take advantage of that elusive morning golden hour, and neither it nor the one in the afternoon lasts as long as we need them to. And the rest of the time, the light varies from occasionally splendid to just OK, to absolutely terrible. Can you hear those tiny violins? We photographers have it tough. Painters, they have it made. They can just paint the right light. We have to wait for it to come along. Or do we?
Continue Reading »

Tips for using Natural Light

Filed in Light, Tips by 4 Comments
Tips for using Natural Light

“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

Photography is all about light. Unless you have a studio setting with lighting, for most photographers that means natural light. Your ability to observe and utilize light and adjust your subject and settings accordingly can make or break your pictures. Learning to “read” the light and use that knowledge to take beautiful pictures is truly an art that can takes years to master, but there are some simple lighting tips that even beginners can follow to improve their photos.
Continue Reading »

Incident vs Reflected light and which type gives you better photos

Filed in Light, Tips by 1 Comment
Incident vs Reflected light and which type gives you better photos

Advanced Successful photography has everything to do with understanding light. Light comes from many different sources ranging from natural, such as the sun, and forced, such as flashes and studio and other indoor lighting. By understanding light and its influence on your images, you can better control the outcome of your photo shoots.

There are two essential forms of light: Incident and Reflective. They work both together to create light and apart in their own separate ways. Understanding the difference between the two is a big start to mastering light.
Continue Reading »

How to Use a Hand Held Light Meter

Filed in Light, Tips by 4 Comments
How to Use a Hand Held Light Meter

Advanced If you have a high-tech DSLR camera, you are probably thinking it’s already got a perfectly good on-board light meter. Why would you want to invest in a hand held light meter? All the new cameras boast sophisticated multi-segment metering systems, advanced light measurement capabilities, and the varying degrees in which they can adapt to different light sources. Doesn’t that make the use of a handheld light meter obsolete?

While you may be tempted to go on a photo shoot without one, a handheld light meter is still essential to obtain optimal results in your photography.
Continue Reading »

Understanding Light

Understanding Light

Do you know what the difference is between a good photographer and a great one?

It’s light. Or rather, the way the photographer uses light. A good photographer knows how to compose an image, how to angle her camera so the viewer gets a completely unique perspective of an object, how to capture an event in an interesting and unusual way – even how to capture an emotion. A great photographer does all of this in the right light.

Light is pervasive, and because of this you may not always be consciously aware of it – unless it’s either blinding you or fading from view. Most of the rest of the time, light just is, so we don’t pay much attention to it. For this reason you may spend a lot of time just snapping photos without really thinking about the quality of the light.

But it’s worthwhile paying attention because you’ll get some stunning results…
Continue Reading »

Infrared Photography

Filed in Light, Tips by 2 Comments
Infrared Photography

If you’ve studied and practised photography for long enough, you know that a great photo is one that gives the viewer a unique perspective on the world. That can be done in many different ways–by choosing a unique subject, by taking the photo from an unusual vantage point, by carefully selecting depth of field or shutter speed, or by experimenting with camera equipment such as filters and special lenses.

One way to almost guarantee a photo will make people stop and take notice is to try your hand at infrared photography. Now, if you’ve ever spent time watching scary movies you’ve probably already seen infrared in action – apparently that’s one way to spot a ghost – but you may not be familiar with using infrared (IR) to capture less frightening scenes, such as landscapes. And you don’t have to go shopping at the Catch-A-Ghost Emporium either, nor do you have to spend a truckload of money on high tech equipment. You can start capturing great IR photos, in fact, for around 100 bucks – with the understanding of course that if you get hooked on it you might want to make further investments.
Continue Reading »

Painting with Light

Filed in Light, Tips by 0 Comments
Painting with Light

You’ve heard me talk a lot lately about inspiration, and about how to find great photos in boring places. Let’s say you’ve tried a bunch of those tips but would really like to break out of that whole reality box and try something completely different. Here’s an idea: get yourself a flashlight, a few glow-sticks from the dollar store and a tripod and try painting with light.
Continue Reading »