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Many people who are new to photography believe the most important factor in shooting a subject is the angle.
As any professional photographer will tell you, lighting is actually one of the most critical factors in producing a great photo. The right lightning can turn an average shot into a spectacular and captivating photo. There are hundreds of ways to illuminate your subject, see here are 5 tips for getting the best lightning in your photographs.
A cameras flash and natural light are the two most often used sources of light when photographing, but many other sources exist and can be better for your subject depending on the situation. Lamps, bulbs, ceiling lights, computer screens, just about anything that emits light can be used to highlight your subject. The best way to find a great source of light for your subject is to experiment. Take lots of photos utilizing different types of lights, and see what works best in highlighting your subject. When comparing different shots, remember to upload the photos to a computer in order to see them in large detail. Make sure you don’t stick to one source of light for all you photo shoots; adding variety will make you a well rounded photographer.
Depending on what type of lens your camera uses, your photographs will vary wildly in size and composition. Based on the size of the lens used, your subject will look bigger or smaller or light differently. The key factor to look out for when choosing a lens is aperture. The aperture of a lens determines how much light enters the camera when a photo is taken, and thus effects how your subject is lit in the photograph. If you will be shooting in low light, look for a lens with a lower f-number, as this will perform better in low light stations. Experiment with different lenses and see which works best for your give subject. Most photographers keep a few lenses on hand and switch them when a different one is necessary.
One often overlooked method of lightning is backlighting. Placing the source of light behind your target will cause the light to be highly diffused and make your subjects colours glow softly. When doing this, make sure you increase exposure on your camera so it can record all the light falling on your subject. If your aim is to make your subject into a silhouette, you will need to place all light behind them, with nothing in front of them that could reflect the light back on them.
If your subject and light source are movable, one important factor to keep in mind is that the farther a light source is, the more it falls off, or gets dimmer on your subject. You can use this to your advantage if your light source cannot be dimmed. Moving you subject closer to a light will result in brighter, high contrast shots, while moving you subject farther away will result in dimmer, more moody shots. Try out a few lengths to find the best distance for your target.
Shadows on a subject create volume, and can drastically alter the look of your photograph. Many of the best Hollywood photographers use shadows to their benefit when they take shots of celebrities. The right use of shadows will make your subject seem three dimensional, rather than a mere 2D image. Focus your lightning above or to the side of your target, and shadows will be created that add a visual depth. The causes your subject to really pop and will make your photographs look much more professional.
The above tips only serve as a starting point for finding creating the best lightning when doing photo shoots. By using the above methods, along with some of your own, you will be well on your way to becoming a great photographer.