Photography is all about light. It has the power to make or break your photo and in order to get the light to do what you want you first need to understand it. So here are 10 fun facts (ffs) about light to help you along your journey.
1. The broader the light source, the softer the light. The narrower the source, the harder the light.
2. The closer the light source, the softer the light. The farther the source, the harder the light.
3. Diffusion scatters light, essentially making the light source broader and therefore softer.
4. Bouncing light acts as diffusion. Aim a narrow light source at a broad, matte surface—such as a wall, ceiling, or matte reflector—and it not only reflects the light but also diffuses it by scattering it over a wider area.
5. The farther the light source, the more it falls off— gets dimmer on your subject.
6. Light falloff can be used to vary the relationship between the light on your subject and your background
7. Front lighting de-emphasizes texture; lighting from the side, above, or below emphasizes it.
8. Shadows create volume. That’s how photographers describe three dimensionality
9. Backlight can be used as highly diffused lighting. Very few subjects are totally backlit, that is, in pure silhouette, with no light at all falling from the front
10. Light has color, even when it looks “white.”This is called color temperature, and our eye/brain computer is very adept at adjusting our perception so that we hardly notice it. Digital sensors and film, though, may record color casts where our eyes didn’t see them.
© 2013, Tony. All rights reserved.