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Transcript of Lighting

  • Photography 101 Lighting Basics
  • Direction of Light
    • With the exception of completely diffused light, light casts shadows over a scene which can emphasize texture and depth or diminish them
    • The main source of light (the sun, a bright window, or flash) will illuminate the side nearest the light and cast shadows on the opposite side
  • Direction of Light cont
    • When looking at the lighting on a scene, you need to take into account the direction the light is coming from and also its relation to the camera (will the shadows be visible to the viewer?)
  • Direction of Light cont
    • Three different kinds of lighting are defined as front , side and back lighting
    • Front lighting is often applied by beginners because it is safe and will illuminate the scene evenly, but this can create flat, less interesting photographs
  • Direction of Light cont
    • Side lighting can emphasize texture and adds depth to your photographs
    • Back lighting can create dramatic silhouettes against a bright background
  • Direction of Light cont
    • This is not to say that front lighting should be avoided, or that side or back lighting will enhance every scene
    • Look at the scene you are photographing and look for a way to use the light in an interesting way
  • Direction of Light cont
    • Can you move the subject relative to the light, or move the light to another position?
    • Outdoors, you have little control in moving the light source except for waiting for another time of day
  • Degree of Diffusion
    • Next to direction, the most important characteristic of lighting is its degree of diffusion
    • When people refer to the quality of light, they usually mean its degree of diffusion
  • Degree of Diffusion Direct Light
    • Direct light creates hard edged, dark shadows, striking the subject all from one direction
    • The smaller the light (relative to the size of the subject) or the farther the light is from the subject, the sharper and darker the shadows will be
  • Degree of Diffusion Direct Light cont
    • A spotlight is a good example of direct lighting. Think of a performer on stage in a single spotlight. The highlight areas are very bright and the shadows are very hard edged and dark.
  • Degree of Diffusion Direct Light cont
    • The sun on a clear day is another source of direct light. Because of its distance to the earth, it is a small source in a large sky and causes hard, dark shadows as well.
  • Degree of Diffusion Direct Light cont
  • Degree of Diffusion Diffused Light
    • When the suns rays are scattered in many directions by clouds or an overcast day, then it is directional- diffused or even fully diffused
    • Diffused light scatters onto the subject in many directions and can show no direction of a source
  • Degree of Diffusion Diffused Light cont
    • Diffused light appears to surround the subject and come in from all directions causing shadows to be relatively light and their edges to be indistinct
  • Degree of Diffusion Diffused Light cont
    • Outdoors, an overcast day produces diffused light
    • To fully diffuse light indoors, the subject would have to be placed near a large light source (large window or doorway) and reflectors be used to bounce light into the shadows (tenting is another way)
  • Degree of Diffusion Directional-Diffused Light
    • Directional-diffused light is partially direct with some diffused or scattered rays.
    • It appears to to come from a direction and creates distinct shadows, but with softer edges that gradually go from light to dark and detail can still be seen in the darkest areas
  • Degree of Diffusion Directional-Diffused Light
  • Degree of Diffusion cont Source of directional-diffused light
    • Windows and doorways that have light bouncing in the room rather than shining directly in
    • Lights bounced off of a reflector before hitting the subject
    • Hazy days outdoors
    • Outdoor sunlight bounced onto a subject in a shaded area (under a tree)
  • Overcast Lighting
    • A bright overcast sky, usually bright clouds or open shade, can make beautiful light and softens colors while keeping detail in the shadows
    • Heavy clouds or rainy days can make moody photos
  • Overcast Lighting
    • Hazy sun and shade or reflected sunlight are great conditions for portraits
    • Indoors, portrait photographers imitate this type of lighting with their flash units to produce soft, smooth photographs without having to rely on weather conditions
  • Quality of Light
    • Sunlight varies dramatically in its qualities and paying attention to its tendencies can help improve your photographs
    • Weather conditions, time of day, and time of year all have an influence on the quality of light
  • Quality of Light The Golden Hours
    • Sunrise and sunset have been referred to as the golden hours for photography
    • These two times are wonderful for photographs because of the warm light and low angle of the light source.
  • Quality of Light The Golden Hours cont
    • Morning light is somewhat cooler than sunset, but both times produce warmer tones than at midday
    • The low angle of the sun produces long shadows and creates a feeling of depth and dimension in photographs, great for emphasizing texture and detail
  • Quality of Light The Golden Hours cont
    • These two times give better side lighting and backlighting opportunities, and often the light is soft enough so that the shadows arent overly dark and contrasty
  • Quality of Light Midday Sun
    • In the summer, midday sun is harsh and contrasty, and the shadows it casts fall almost straight down creating a flatter feeling image than one with long, fading shadows
  • Quality of Light Midday Sun
    • It can be hard in the summer, if not impossible, to get side lighting or back lighting with a midday sun as well
    • As the seasons change however, the sun is more angular even at noon and more interesting light can be found
  • Quality of Light cont
    • Autumn skies are often full of dramatic cloud formations that make for more interesting landscapes than a completely clear blue sky
  • The End