Importance of Lighting in Photography
In simple words photography can be defined as capturing of moment with a device called camera. And in technical terms it can be defined as drawing with light or capturing light with the help of a device called camera. So it is very clear that in absence of light photography is not possible. We need a sufficient amount of light to click a picture.
The word "Photography" is derived from the Greek words photos ("light") and graphy ("to draw"). This word was first used by the scientist Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. We can define photography as a method of recording images by the action of light, or related radiation, on a sensitive material.
Light is fundamental to photography. It is the most important element in photography. Even the term itself means "writing with light". Light determines how your photographs will look.
The light is more important than the subject, because we can’t see the subject itself. We can see only the light which subject reflects. Beginner photographers notice the subject, and the professional one follows the light.
It will define texture and structure of your subject. Creative use of light will allow us to add three-dimensional feeling to the flat, two-dimensional world of the photographic medium. Even light itself can be the subject of a photographic image. By understanding the impact of light, you will be able to have a more creative approach to your photography.
There are only two sources of light: natural and artificial. Natural light is also referred to as available or existing light. Sun and the moon are considered the best light sources. These lights often invade indoors and make natural shots come alive.
While artificial sources of light include the ordinary bulb, the tungsten halogen lamp or the bright photoflood.
Artificial light sources can be usefully classified into three types:
- Direct or point-like,
- Diffuse, and
Each type of light source gives picture specific characteristics. The fabled "good light" largely means a balanced mixture of the three.
Direct light is emitted by a small, bright, and point-like source, and shines directly onto the subject. Some important point-like sources are the sun, a flash gun, and some forms of interior lighting. Direct light causes sharply defined, deep shadows and flattens out three-dimensional detail. The line dividing light and dark is sharp, and there is little or no gradation from fully lit to fully shadowed. Multiple point-like sources cast multiple shadows and result in multiple zones of varying darkness.
Diffuse light emanates from a large light-emitting or light-reflecting surface.
It causes soft shadows and an even gradation from light to dark, emphasizing three-dimensionality and shape. A cylinder in diffuse light looks clearly cylindrical, with the fully shadowed areas completely black, the side directly facing the light source completely white, and the in-between areas shades of gray.
The size and softness of the shadows depend on the size and distance of the light source: a diffuse light source that is very far away turns into a point-like light source.
Ambient light is usually something of a theoretical concept: the sum of all the light that gets reflected around the scene. For example, there is always some light in the shadows even on the clearest day, due to reflection from surrounding objects. Ambient light casts no shadows; instead, it fills them in.
Dept. of Communication Studies