Three Types of Lighting Photographers Use
February 18, 2014
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Every photographic exposure depends on light. When illuminating subjects, photographers work with three basic types of lighting: natural light, flash photography and studio lighting. Each type of light has a specific purpose and gives images a different appearance.
When you want colors to look as accurate and natural as possible, use natural lighting. Go outside or stand near a window. What you see around you is ambient light. It's the naturally occurring light created by the sun. When photographing subjects or landscapes with natural light, colors in the images appear true-to-life, or as they looked when you saw them with your eyes.
When using natural lighting, you won't get red eye in pictures or have harsh shadows from a flash. Head outside during the daytime and take a few shots of the scenery or a friend to try using natural lighting. If it's a sunny day, go to a shaded area to reduce the amount of shadows on the person's face.
Use flash photography to illuminate nighttime scenes or dim indoor locations. Sometimes it's simply too dark to depend on natural light or the weather isn't conducive to it. Use a flash to take pictures of friends on an evening walk under the moonlight or of a birthday party in a room with sparse lighting fixtures and no natural light.
Unfortunately, artificial light from a built-in camera flash or an external flash unit mounted onto the camera comes with some downfalls. Flash photography can create shadows behind subjects and sometimes makes people appear too bright, which is known as overexposure, and leaves the background dark and underexposed. Using the manual fill flash function on an external flash to get a more balanced exposure lessens these negative effects. Fill flash only emits a fraction of a flash, rather than a full blast.
Use studio lighting for a completely controlled lighting situation independent of the weather or available light. A room devoid of any natural light illuminated with one or more studio strobes creates the exact type and style of lighting desired by the photographer.
This approach, often used by professional photographers creating images for magazines, leaves little to chance and ensures perfect exposures of people, food, objects or other items that can be moved into a studio. Studio lighting is not used for landscapes or outdoor photography.
What types of lighting do you use most often? Tell us why in the comments below.
Image source: Stock.xchng