The most important element in photography is the light!

After all light is what the film and digital sensors records. The two qualities of light is it’s direction and intensity. So you should learn how your subject should be lit. There are six aspects of using natural light, which can dramatically improve your photograph.

The six different types of natural lighting are:


Front Lighting
Light that falls from over your shoulder and on the front of your subject.
Front lighting is good when you want to show off strong colours, shapes, and details, but it tends to create flat looking scenes that lack mood or a sense of depth.

Side Lighting
Light that rakes in from the side of your subject, reveals both texture and form. Colours are often quite vibrant and lit from the side and shadows wrap themselves around objects. The play of light and shadow adds depth and dimension in pictures.

Back Lighting
Light coming from behind and slightly above a subject can create exciting visual effects. In landscape scenes, the long shadows cast toward the lens indicate distance. Strong backlighting can create a luminescent glow in transparent subject elements like leaves, hair and flowers.

Top Lighting
The light of mid-day shines directly down on subjects and is probably the least appealing of light. Shadows fill eye sockets on portraits and landscapes appear flat and lack depth.

Hard Lighting
The strong light of a bright sun accents textures and burnishes brilliant colours, but it also unleashes a merciless mix of black shadows and glaring highlights. The contrast range created by hard-lighting is often beyond the ability of the film to record, making exposure difficult.

Diffuse Lighting
Very early or late in the day, or when the sky is overcast, the sun offers a softer, more diffused light. You can also find it in the open shade of a sheltering tree or building. Diffused light lowers contrast and revives subtle colours. It’s also easier to determine your exposure in defuse-lighting. With no deep shadows to hide details, and no bright sun to make people squint. Diffuse light is kind to both landscapes and people.

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