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Step 2: Take a Test Photo

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  • Why Is Light So Important??

The funny thing is…we prefer this type of light ourselves. What constitutes good or bad light for you will vary depending on your photography style , and even what you are photographing. Natural light is simply the light from the sun. Now, we are going to break down some aspects of natural light you may face, and reveal how we handle different lighting scenarios ourselves:. Harsh light. When we think of natural light, our minds immediately drift to thinking about a bright and sunny day. For sure, days like these might seem great — but for photography it can prove to be a challenge at times.

The harsh light that comes out during the middle of our days can make the environment seem very bland, as everything around becomes bathed in white highlights. This does not mean it is impossible to work with, but it does take a little more thought than most other natural light scenarios to make it work how you want it to work.

The simplest tips we can give you in this condensed article on the topic is to look for shaded areas when possible, use a reflector if you want to keep your subject s face illuminated, and aim to not position anyone facing right into the strong sun rays. This is a topic that can be quite involved in more detail, and we will cover that more in a future article on our site.

Golden Hour light. Almost every photographer will agree that photography becomes easier and more interesting during the time when the sun is rising and setting.

Working with Backlight

This is light that is very soft and flattering, and taking photos even with your subject being directly lit by it is far easier to do as it is not as blinding. The shadows and light that come out at this time can be worked with to create stunning shots that are moody, romantic, dramatic, and so on. For portrait subjects, this is the best time to work — and even other types of photography benefit.

A landscape shot with an intense sunset is definitely more captivating than most. Cloudy light. When there are clouds in the sky, it is a great thing for photographers. Clouds serve as a natural softbox, diffusing the light from the sun and making for more beautiful and dramatic light, even in the middle of the day. In our experience, the richness of color is much easier to come by in this sort of situation — and we are secretly always praying for cloud cover most days.

By extension, cloud coverage takes many forms. We often would prefer even rainy days to shoot instead of a bright clear sky because of the available light — and add to this the rain saturates everything, making for more intense colors on virtually everything. Even uninspiring street pavement turns into a really rich black color from our experience, adding something significant to your shots. Back light.

Backlit Acrylic Glass Photo Prints

The way to do this is to position your subject so they are facing away from the sun, and line up your composition so the sun hits there backs. Sometimes you can let the sun creep through and create lens flairs for artistic effect. Not using a fill at all can result in stark contrasts due to shadows across the subject's surface, depending upon the key light's harshness. Sometimes, as in low-key lighting , this is a deliberate effect, but shots intended to look more natural and less stylistic require a fill.

What is backlight good for?

In some situations a photographer can use a reflector such as a piece of white cardstock mounted off-camera, or even a white-painted wall as a fill light instead of an actual lamp. Reflecting and redirecting the key light's rays back upon the subject from a different angle can cause a softer, subtler effect than using another lamp. The backlight a. It gives the subject a rim of light, serving to separate the subject from the background and highlighting contours.

Landscape Photography into Backlight

Back light or rim light is different from a kick in that a kick or kicker contributes to a portion of the shading on the visible surface of the subject, while a rim light only creates a thin outline around the subject without necessarily hitting the front visible surface of the subject at all.

A three-point system in theatre can be used in a variety of ways to help set a mood of the character. By having bright key light, but minimal fill and back light, this will give the effect of anger, whereas if the scene is very brightly lit with little shadow on the actor, this can make the scene look very happy.

The addition of a fourth light, the background light , makes for a four-point lighting setup. Controlling the intensity of the light or amount of haze is as easy as using something to filter the light, either natural or manmade, or simply repositioning yourself in relation to the sun. Lens hoods, a reflector or even a hand can help block some of the light streaming into your lens. You can also use a building, or a set of trees to help filter the light.


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This kind of light tends to be soft and can create streaks of light coming through the trees or anything else you filter it with and can be really beautiful. Filtering light through a set of dense trees will also help to create that golden glittery bokeh you might be dreaming of. Where you stand in relation to the sun and your subject can also dramatically change the appearance of the light.

Fixing Backlit Photos - Layers Magazine

Standing slightly above your main subject, moving left or right or even positioning your light source directly behind your subject will help to control the amount of light coming into your lens and create more natural contrast in your images. Many people associate natural backlit images with the sun being above the horizon, but one of my favorite ways to backlight a subject, is in those few moments just after the sun sets behind the horizon.

The light becomes incredibly soft and creates a dreamy, subtle rim light around the main subject. In some instances where your backlight is more intense, using a reflector or some form of off camera lighting will help to either bounce light back onto your subject naturally or create some fill light from a strobe or off camera flash. You can see in the following example by Michelle Turner how beneficial using a simple reflector was:.