Photography Tips – Understanding Light (Pt 1b) Appropriate Light


I can’t over emphasis how important light is if you want to get that wow factor into your pictures, it’s more important than expression, sometimes composition, location, it certainly more important than a whole
host of menu settings you may find in the back of your camera. If you start shooting pictures in light that’s inappropriate to the subject you’re shooting, the pictures going to be dull, mediocre at best. When you’re out there all around the world shooting in available light, you need to plan ahead you have to think
about what you’re going to do, you often have to think on your feet because when the light changes, what you were going to shoot you may not be able too, you’re gonna have to choose something else. You’ll also have to be very patient, this row of trees caught my eye on a dull cloudy day and as you can see the picture itself is pretty dull but I could see the brightness sweeping the hill side beyond so I settled down to wait to see if one would reach my trees, took about an hour and a half for the gap in the clouds to let the sun come through in just the right place but because I had the composition already set up on a tripod all I had to do was press the shutter as the sun reached the trees. Big colourful subjects like these balloons not only need big strong sunlight to saturate the colours it needs to be at a low angle to make the textures more interesting too. See how the sun’s lighting them from the side, the same shot from mid day wouldn’t be anything like as exciting because the light would be coming straight down. Most of our day to day lives are spent with the sun directly over head, so we’re going out and shooting a
picture when it isn’t, you can instantly make a shot like this stand out from the rest of the crowd. I found these cans in a recycling sack about six thirty a.m one summers morning and the same things going on here, the lights coming from the sun low in
the sky and hitting them from the side which brings out the color and texture. If you’re into nature photography look out for those morning pools of light coming through trees, and it puts highlights on the plants. These shots were taken at expery gardens at six a.m in June, so the sun was low and slarnty and spotlighty and in tiny areas like a stage light. You have to stay alert and move pretty quick when you spot one because they don’t stay still after a few moments that they have moved. As we walk around the world just looking at things about us, we don’t tend to notice what the light’s doing beyond whether it’s bright or whether it’s dark, but they’re qualities of different light and you can find all sorts of interesting light in all sorts of interesting and very various places. Behind me I’ve got the ancient city gate to Southampton and there’s all sorts of things happening on this wall, now look over here we’ve got a very angled sun and it’s coming across those stones and it’s putting these sorts of highlights across it and it’s making it very textured, so if you’ve got a texture to show that’s kind of great light. Back here a bit you’ve got this corner where my hand is and it’s in shade, that’s a very soft flat light, if you look at the stones there’s no real texture to them like there is there. That’ll be great for a very soft and
subtle subject like maybe flowers or maybe even a portrait, up this end here we’ve got the sun hitting it smack on the wall like that, face on, which on the stones is not brilliant because they’ve lost all of there shape and texture but it would be a great place to maybe put a a model leaning up against the wall with some sun glasses on. Just sort of looking up like that, and shoot it in from the side. And then all this very rough and rocky bit here it’s really bringing out the texture because it’s all these highlights glancing off these nobbles and it really makes for a very very very textured shot. By playing around and experimenting with all these different pieces of light you’ll get to learn what is appropriate light for the shot you want to take and an appropriate is the key word here.

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