• Frank

Light Me Up!

Photography and art is all about light. The ability to see how the current lighting in any situation interacts with the subject you are trying to capture is one of the key components in any photographer’s toolkit.

Like any other situation in life where one person’s trash is another one’s treasure, there will be many differing opinions on the use of artificial light vs natural.

Both have their unique place in capturing those images you are after, depending on what outcome you are trying to achieve.

You’ll be able to capture great images regardless of your lighting if it has become second nature to you in understanding how light interacts with your subject. Three things to keep in mind:

Concentrated, intense lighting to draw the eyes


Direct lighting, whether from the sun or otherwise is very harsh and will intensify the contrast between light and dark. Soft, dreamy portraits may be a tad harder to capture under these circumstances. If the lighting is too harsh, then perhaps look for something that may diffuse it somewhat – the dappled shadows of a tree perhaps.

White balance leaning towards a warmer white for vibrancy


One thing to keep in mind is that light comes in varying degrees of color. Yep, it’s not all white! Our brains take the light that we see and internally adjust our perception of it so that we don’t go mad. Imagine that, the colors you are seeing are not the actual color being seen! This is where the WB, or white balance on our cameras comes into play. Play around with the WB settings on your camera to get different effects, depending on the intensity of the available light source.

Intense, midday sun streaming in through a window into a darkened room, for effect.


This one is a no-brainer. Where is the light source coming from? Is it down low, at eye level or shining down from above? Is it situated in front of your subject or from behind?

Learn to see how the available light plays with everything around you, even when you don’t have your camera at hand. Learn to love how it interacts with everything around you and don’t be afraid to keep shooting those images regardless of the available light. Don’t let the nay-sayers stop you from doing what you love.

~ Frank

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