The importance of understanding light

Light, as you will have understood from previous classes in this course, is one of the six essentials for photography, and understanding light and paying attention to it is one of the quickest ways to improve your photography.

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” George Eastman, founder of Kodak

One of the most important elements of creativity in photography, light is what allows us to convey information and, more importantly, emotion in an image. Once you understand light, you’ll have the knowledge to create a wide variety of creative images. Get the best deals at Pro Stock Master Website.

The best light for photography

All around us, light comes from a variety of sources, both natural and man-made, and we can use it in a number of different ways to create different moods and atmospheres in our images.

There are four main categories of light. These are:

1. Transmitted light — Transmitted light is light that you can see emitted from its source. This means that we can see the light source directly in the picture. Examples of this could be a candle or even the sun. It is also light that has passed through something before reaching the subject. This could be glass, water or even the atmosphere.

2. Reflected light — Reflected light occurs when light reflects off your subject. Almost all of the photographs we take make use of reflected light. Occassionally, transmitted light can also be visible in the same scene.

For example, a landscape image featuring the setting sun visible would include both transmitted and reflected light. However, if the sun was not visible in the frame, it would only be reflected light.

3. Hard light — Hard light is light that is from a small apparent light source, such as a light bulb or sun on a clear day. It often results in very dark, sharp shadows. Hard light can be a good choice for revealing textures in objects (when used correctly).

4. Soft light — Soft light, which comes from any apparently large light source (from your subject’s perspective), produces light that is low in contrast with minimal shadows. The sun on an overcast day provides soft light because the clouds serve to diffuse the light, spreading it over a much larger area and therefore making it a large apparent light source.

TIP: To better understand light and how it works, try look at it in different situations and try to figure out what type of light it is. This will allow you to see what effect different types of light have and how they work with different subjects. Be aware that you can also mix different types of light in the same image, which can produce very interesting results.

Types of light in photography

Many photographers will tell you that the best light for photography is ‘the magic hour’. This is the hour just before and just after sunset or sunrise. This is because there is a combination of both hard and soft light, which can produce much nicer results than just hard or just soft light.

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