Lighting Masterclass Part 2: How to Use Lighting in Photography
Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.
How to Use Lighting in Photography
Learn the Aspects of Implementing Light to Take Amazing Photos
If you read Part 1 of this masterclass, you would now understand what light is in photography. But you now need to learn how to use lighting in photography.
It would not be a difficult argument to make that light is in fact the most important aspect of photography.
When you think about the basics of photography, it is quite literally the technical method of capturing light in order to capture what is in front of the lens.
No light = no photography!
As true as this is, it is more helpful to see light not as the fundamental basic necessity for photography, but rather as a tool for a photographer to wield. So how does one USE light to take amazing photos?
In this in-depth video tutorial, Teo Crawford takes you on the journey of understanding what light is, how it affects photography, and how you can use it to take better photos.
Using Lighting to take Better Photos
Seeing light as a tool allows you to see light differently and to be able to use it in ways that can have a deep impact on the viewer.
Two main ways to consider light as a tool in your photography is in composition and in emotion.
How to Use Lighting in Photography: Compositionally
When thinking of light as a tool and how to use it, one of the best places to start is using light to direct the eye of the viewer.
You can direct the eye to where you want their attention to be drawn in your photograph. In this way, it works similarly if not in tandem with composition.
In the video Teo uses his photo of the green bin caught under a street light to illustrate this point.
The whole thing that makes this photo possible is that it is taken at night with a single street light as a light source across the street from the subject – the green bin.
The darkness with the night makes the rest of the scenery fade away. The light from the street light serves to draw our focus towards the center of the photo.
From there, the texture from the fog creates a downward and angled line of light that aims our attention towards the green bin.
If this photo was taken during the day, there would have been much more light from the sun. This would have removed the focusing effect the darkness had on the photograph and would have revealed so much additional detail.
This additional detail would have distracted the focus from the bin so much it would be difficult to recognise it as the subject of the photo. It’s truely the use of light that makes this photograph work.
Using lighting for composition, like in the photo below, creates a dramatic effect:
How to Use Lighting in Photography: Emotionally
Light can add an emotional level to your photos. When weilding the aspecs of light discussed in Part 1, the photographer has the power to evoc feeling with photos, in ways that composition can’t quite manage.
To help better understand this point, Teo uses another one of his photos as an example. There is a hard light used in this photo that is sideways in direction and casts a warm glow onto the subject.
On top of this, the light is passing through window blinds and creates a texture on the wall of the blinds pattern:
Without being able to see it in the photo, you know immediately that the light source is the sun. The light is implying more than just the source. Between the direction, the colour and warmth of the light you can almost feel the sunset that is taking place off frame.
These elements all work together to make this photograph feel warm and sentimental. It’s peaceful and reflective, and Teo describes it as evoking in him a longing for past days where the pace of things felt slower and relaxed.
It is a remarkable thing when a simple picture is able to bring forth feelings and memories of the past, and cause the viewer to have a deep emotional response.
It is safe to say that lighting is indeed the driving force behind this photo and how something otherwise as simple as a picture of a kitchen can lead to so much more.
When used well and purposefully, light is impactful your photography significantly.
Light can be used to add dimension, focus and emotion in ways otherwise not possible. The more you master the use of light in your photography the more significant your photos can become.
Lighting is not something to be thought of as less important or an after thought in your photography.
Which of these use of lighting tips will you use in your photography NOW?
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