It seems that everyone’s a photographer these days. So many cameras around, whether it’s DSLRs or phones, there is one important thing you need to remember and at some point master, if you want your photos to come out even better than you’d imagined and that’s lighting.
Although it is quite obvious that you need light to shoot, it is the type of light, its source and its angel that will turn a plain portrait into a million dollar shot.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when considering lighting:
1. Broader light source means softer light
A narrow light source will create a harder more sharp lighting on the object, while a broad light source will make the object look softer, less textured and will create less shadows.. With a broader light source the light will hit your object from more than one direction and that will fill in the shadows and make sure that lighting is more even.
2. Diffusion makes the light source broader and softer
If you do not have a cloudy day in hand, seriously consider using a soft box.
The softbox diffuses the light source and scatters it and thus making it broader and softer. The rays of light don’t just harshly land on your object but they surround it gently.
3. Creating bouncing light will act as diffusion.
If you aim a narrow light source like your flash or a lighting stand at a surface that’s broad and not shiny such as a wall or a ceiling, it will not only reflect the light but also diffuses it by scattering it over a wider area; and then the light that falls or reaches your object is softer and more diffused.
A great accessory to use when trying to bounce light is a reflector.
By using a shiny reflector, the light will stay pretty narrow when it bounces back so it’ll be more focused on the object you aimed it at; however if you use a matte reflector, you will scatter the light and diffuse it a bit and when it reaches the object it’ll result in a more softer image.
4. Lighting from the front de-emphasizes texture while lighting from the top, bottom or side emphasizes texture.
If you are shooting a portrait, you might want to set your light source in front of your object, maybe not emphasize skin texture for example.
The greater the angle you position the lighting at, the more texture it will reveal.
5. Shadows will create volume
If you are looking to give an object some volume, give it some shadows.
Lighting coming from the top, bottom or side will create a shadow and the shadows will give it a 3D sensation.