09 November 2018

play with light in photography

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play with light in photography

As December approaches, the days are getting shorter and the number of studio shoots is increasing. Much to the chagrin of outdoor photography purists, this season represents a lean period for light in photography, especially natural light. Fatality? Certainly not! Discover with Lakeprod the best ways to optimize your rendering by playing with light and lighting.

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the main types of light in photos

natural light, artificial light

Light in photography is a relatively complex subject. The term “natural light” simply refers to daylight, the light from the sun, which is found outside and passes through windows. Please note: we understand “light” to mean any kind of brightness, not just flashes of light or bright sunlight on sunny days.

Artificial light, on the other hand, refers to light created and emitted by man through cameras: flashes from cameras, but also light bulbs, neon lights, lamps and all kinds of other media.

Natural light is generally thought to be softer, more diffuse and whiter than artificial light.

hard light, soft light

If the first distinction was self-evident, what about the crucial difference between the hard and soft aspects of light in photography?

Hard light is often associated with artificial light. It is characterized by the presence of strong, dark shadows with sharp contours. It gives a real impression of chiaroscuro, almost like a dog and wolf.

Soft light, on the other hand, is quite different. Most of the time, it goes hand in hand with daylight because of its more scattered, more muffled and warmer side. In the studio, the soft light source is located close to the subject and produces few shadows. This is the preferred brightness mode for portrait photography, for example.

As you can see, working with hard and soft light requires working at a distance between the subject and the light source. Generally speaking, the larger and closer the light source, the smoother the result will be. It is also necessary to work on the colour of the light: white or yellow, reddish or bluish, etc.

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the importance of the exhibition

As a reminder, exposure refers to the amount of light received by the sensitive surface of a camera during shooting. Exposure strongly affects the brightness of the photographic image. Fortunately, it is possible to set a camera (SLR or not) to an overexposure mode if the light is too weak, or to an underexposure mode if it is already too strong.

sensor opening

Le capteur désigne la partie sensible intérieure de l’appareil. De son degré d’ouverture dépend le niveau d’exposition d’une photo. Plus on laisse le capteur ouvert, plus la photo est saturée en lumière; au contraire, si on le ferme, elle s’assombrit.

diaphragm opening

The opening of the sensor is strongly dependent on the opening of the diaphragm. As above, the larger the aperture size of the diaphragm, the more light can enter the camera. Conversely, the smaller the aperture size, the less light can enter the camera.

harmonize light and shadow

Shadow contours that are too wise may appear at best refined, at worst boring. You must therefore be creative and not hesitate to compose with light and shadow, according to your own fantasies. For example, accentuate the shadows to add a dose of mystery to your shot, or darken and soften the whole thing to soften it. You can also play with the shadows of silhouettes on the floor or walls, or use contrasting colours and shadows… Feel free!

If you can’t capture the right image in your environment alone, use props. Here are a few of them:

  • The umbrella
  • The light box
  • The circular diffuser, which optimally diffuses sunlight…

With a bit of practice, you will soon be able to give your photographs that unique touch that mastery of light and shadow in photography ensures.

If however you prefer to use professional photographers / video professionals to carry out your shooting:

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