The word “Photography” came from Greek roots that mean “writing with light.” Lighting plays a vital and complicated role in photography. To truly understand and control your photography, you have to learn how to use photography lights and how it works—in reality, learning photography lighting it a bit more complicated and complex than learning the controls in your cameras.
Most beginners in photography often get their camera and begin taking pictures without understanding the lighting. It can result in bad output, and it can either be too dark or too light. It can also create larger or small shadows in your photos, and it can also affect the colors of the photos. You can learn how to use photography lights by knowing the types of photography lighting, positions, and purpose.
Types of Photography Lighting
Learning the types of photography lighting is essential in learning how to use photography lights. Here are some types of photography lighting.
Soft Light VS Hard Light
In photography, different light sources have different qualities. You can easily recognize if the photos have good lighting when you see the images’ shadows. If the light is diffuse, you can see fewer shadows with a softer differentiation between the light and shadow, and that is what a soft light is.
Meanwhile, hard light usually comes from a directional light, such as a flash, the sun, or a spotlight. You can notice that shadows are very harsh in hard light, and you can also see a big difference in dark areas and lit areas. It is usually used to express or create a moody or dark feeling in your photos.
The Kelvin Scale (Color Temperature)
Kelvin scale is used to measure color temperature. Warm colors often have a lower temperature than cooler colors. One important thing in learning how to use photography lights is to understand the Kelvin scale. Your camera has a white balance that automatically corrects the image. Cameras nowadays have an automatic white balance mode and an option named after the various types of light sources, such as incandescent.
For example, a lightbulb may look white to your eyes, but light actually comes in multiple colors in photography. The sunset created an orange light, and the fluorescent light creates different shades of light compared to incandescent light.
Lighting Positions and Its Roles
Lighting position plays a vital role when it comes to learning how to use photography lights. When you are in a dark place and only have one light, you should think about where you will place the candle. In photography, you can move the light source, or you have to move your subject; it is all up to you. Check out these lighting positions and know their roles.
Front lighting means placing your subject or the light source in front so that the light hits directly in front of the object or the person. Front lighting is used if you want the shadows to fall behind your subject or object. Front lighting is the simplest and easiest lighting position; however, it sometimes looks flat or dull.
Side lighting means placing your subject or the light source on the side so that the light hits from the side of your subject. It is used to prevent the dull look of front lighting as it creates shadows and depth. When you will do the side lighting, you should be careful and watch how and where the shadow falls into your subject. You can do a slight adjustment and experiment in the subject’s position if you want to create more interesting or flattering shadows.
The backlighting is the trickiest among the three lighting positions. When you use backlighting, you should do it with caution. When you don’t properly execute the backlighting, you might end up with a silhouette. The backlighting position hits the subject from behind, which means all the light’s shadows are in the front of your subject, and it will turn your subject into a dark or silhouette. Find out more about photography lights.
You cannot deny that lighting plays a vital role in photography, that is why learning how to use photography lights should be learned, especially for beginners in photography. Lighting affects the mood of the images. It can result in a dark and silhouette or become flat and dull. If you want to learn basic photography lighting, you can check some photographers that offer free video tutorials or seminars.