5 Simple Tricks to Improve Lighting in Your Photographs

Before heading out for your next photo shoot, there are a few things every photographer must consider. There is composition, color, subject matter, and depth. All of these areas can be directly affected by the most simple and vital tool that is at their disposal: lighting. Here are some simple tricks to help improve the lighting in your shots and ensure a stunning capture

1) Front-Lighting

This is the least dramatic of the lighting sources, but it is the most useful. Having the subject of your photo pointed directly at the source to completely illuminate the area. If you are taking a portrait of a person, having the source directly in front of them can make them squint and ruin a lovely image. Instead, you can have it pointed at a slight angle from either the left or the right to get a better shot. 

2) Broad Light Source

Broad lighting is a technique used so that the brighter side of the subject you are capturing is closer to the camera. This will frame the subject very well, but it will cast a softer effect than if you used a more focused source. The broader range will also cast fewer shadows and may even fuzz the texture of your subject. If you only have access to narrow lighting, you can broaden it by using reflectors or diffusers like an umbrella to bounce the light from. 

3) Utilize Shadows

Shadows are another useful tool for photo savvy. They can help to define spaces, direct the eye towards what it should be focused on in the photo, and will even give a sense of depth. You can alter it in a photo editing program, but you can also do it by changing the light source’s direction and bringing it either closer or further away from the subject. Don’t be afraid to play with it to make your picture truly stand out. 

4) Color Temperature

Though, to the naked eye, a subject may appear as one color, when you take a photo of it the color may alter slightly. The best example of this is when you use the color white. When looking at it directly, the subject will appear to have no color at all. That is because our eyes cannot perceive it. However, when looking through a camera lens, the sensors within the camera will pick it up and record it as such. The best way to utilize lighting for this is to keep in mind what the color may come out looking like. Using early morning or late afternoons, the natural sunlight will add blush to colors and add a softening effect you cannot get artificially. 

5) Place Light Source Close to Subject

The further the light source is from the subject, the harder it is to define its features. Also, if it is too far away you will get more of a silhouette look than you will a portrait. By placing the lighting source closer, you will broaden it and make the subject of your photo so that it is illuminated evenly and naturally. It will also help to affect the flow of the image and direct where the eye is supposed to go as someone looks at it for the first time. Play with range to get the image you are looking for.

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