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Things all beginner Photographers Should Know About Light

Beginners Photographers
  • Vatsal Modi
  • April 18, 2018

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

Lights have a very important role in photography. It generates effects, including dramatic shadows or outlines, or it may have a precisely negative influence by creating unwanted glare and reflections. It is very important to understand the nature and feel of a light. In very simple and easy words lights can be categorized into two, Hard Light and Soft Light. Hard light produces deep shadows and directs to arise from a single light source. Exactly opposite, soft light produces either very less shadow or no shadow at all. It can be generated from several light sources, by using many lights using some kind of blocker or by reflecting light off of different surfaces. In natural lighting situations, hard light is created on a shining day when the sky is clear, and it is very difficult to shoot in such conditions. Shooting in other weather conditions will produce soft light, as the sun’s rays are reflected or diffused by natural circumstances. Smaller the light sources harder the light whereas soft light can be created using reflectors and diffusers.

The reflectors act as a second light source. There are professional reflector sheets available but if you don't have that, you can use white papers. Diffusers are generally used in natural light conditions, clouds are an excellent example of diffusers. In artificial light conditions, any translucent material that softens the light can be used. Since you now have the zest of types now let us understand their sources as well.

Natural light indicates to sunlight, while artificial light indicates to all kinds of light sources such as fluorescent light, electric light, flash, etc.

Natural light is very difficult to control. You only have to use diffuser, reflector, to play with them. The choice between using natural or artificial light depends on the type of photographs you want to take, for example, portrait photograph or still photograph. And the most important attribute is at what time are you clicking pictures. Usually, you'll get softer light conditions early or late in the day which gives less contrast compared to when the sun is at his peak. The light conditions alter rapidly, both in intensity and colors. The shape and intensity of shadow also change as the sun sets or rise. In artificial lights are quite controllable. Artificial Lights can produce both soft and hard light. You have direct control over hardness, distance, intensity, and angle. Artificial light from different sources yields different color. When it comes to controlling light you have to understand how images are affected by different light conditions or positions. The foremost important element for any photography is the intensity of light and depth of the field. When photographing, a certain amount of light is required by the camera to create a picture on the digital sensor. The ISO, aperture, and the shutter speed determine the amount of light that your camera can grasp.

Shooting on landscapes on a sunny day in a high intensity of light often produces pictures with low detail and high contrast, which should be avoided. A cloudy day gives diffused light with a lower intensity, which either casts less or no shadow at all. While shooting in dark conditions where there is very little light, a high ISO or long shutter speed is required.

ISO is a standard which scales light sensitivity of a digital camera. It ranges from 100-12,800, with these numbers signifying the level of intensification that the sensor applies. Less ISO will give a picture with less “noise,” but it will also require more light, and a high exposure. Increasing the ISO will make the sensor augment the light, thereby allowing shots to be taken in darker conditions but it tends to produce a noisy image and grains in it.

The shutter in front of the sensor opens so that light can reach the camera sensor it. The longer this shutter is left open, the more light will enter. When shooting moving objects, high shutter speeds are required as to reduce the amount of change during the time. This will enable freezing the object. Long shutter speeds are useful at night. Shooting at night needs camera stabilization by using a tripod. Aperture is the opening in the lens through which light reaches. A smaller aperture allows less light in the lens and, visa-versa. Aperture settings are called f/stops. Small numbers such as f/1.0 to f/3.5 signify the largest aperture and allow the light to the sensor and Visa-Versa.