Lighting and Photography

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Lighting and Photography

There are many factors which affect the final quality of a photograph. The angle of the shot, the saturation of the colors, the contrast between different elements in the picture, and especially the type of camera being used to take the photograph all play a part in creating pictures. It could be that lighting is the most important factor of all, though. Modern digital cameras have somewhat managed to get around low or bad lighting conditions, but it used to be the norm that if you didn’t have proper lighting, your images were going to be of poor quality; that’s if you got any visible pictures at all!

You have a few options for getting adequate lighting to take your pictures. The first and easiest one is of course to work outdoors, during the day and under the cover of natural light. This is certainly the cheapest option available, but it isn’t always reliable. Some shoots take place during the evening, and the sun can quickly be blocked out by clouds during a storm or other inclement weather. Because of this, every decent photographer should have some secondary light source they can take with them to their jobs. A spotlight (or several, really) is a good example of a secondary light source.

Using lights like the ones you can find at can give you even lighting at a low cost; lighting which is also highly portable. You really can’t ask for much more than that when it comes to getting enough light in your photographs either. Whatever you decide to use as a secondary light source, be sure you carry some replacement bulbs in case the ones being used burn out or are otherwise broken or damaged. Lighting is such an important part of photography that no photographer should be without reliable lighting.

Just think about it for a moment, if you will. Without proper lighting, colors and contrast really don’t pop as much as they should in a picture. Without proper lighting, shadow effects become all but impossible and you lose a degree of depth you would normally be able to include in your pictures. Without proper lighting, reflective surfaces will look flat and dull, and many important details in an image could be blurred of blocked out entirely by darkness. If you underestimate the importance of lighting in your work, you really shouldn’t deign to call yourself a photographer.

Luckily, this issue is very easy to fix. I’ve already outlined a couple methods for making sure you get enough light when you’re taking pictures, so be sure to try them if you find yourself stuck working in the dark. Oh, and one last thing. Sometimes low lighting can do more good for a picture than intense, revealing light can. It’s really up to you how much light you saturate your image with, and if you’re not sure what would look best, you can usually try taking the same image several times under different conditions. Compare the captured images later to see which looks best.