When and where to shoot...

Lighting: Lighting can be the most arduous but creative aspect of a photo shoot. There are two main sources of light to be acknowledged, natural and artificial. Natural light consists of the natural illumination in an environment, the sun is always the source of natural light but the way it reaches your subject may vary. For instance one may position their subject by an open and brightly lit window to get a natural soft light that exposes the subject evenly. Natural light also can cause shadows, which the photographer must be mindful of because shadows evoke certain moods that may contradict the overall mood of the image.

Shooting with natural light has many benefits, and this results in most photographers seizing the earlier parts of the day to do their shooting. The more light the photographer has available, the more options he or she has as far as settings go. One can utilize smaller apertures and faster shutter speeds to obtain desirable "special effects". Natural light also has benefits that cannot be replicated artificially such as artistic use of sunrays or pictures taken during "Magic Hour".


- "Magic Hour" is the first and last hour of sunlight; during magic hour the sun light is much softer and it's color is warmer in hue. Pictures taken during "magic hour" are highly regarded and praised.


Artificial light is generally used in photography studios and helps create light in controlled environments. Artificial light does not mimic sunlight but it simply gives an image the illusion of being naturally lit. There are three main lights used when artificially lighting an image back light, fill light, and direct light, all of which literally do what the are called. A combination of all three is needed for balanced lighting, direct light would be your most obvious source, fill light would decrease your shadows, and back light will add dimension to your subject.

- Shadows are sometimes purposely utilized to create certain moods such as darkness or mystery.

TIP: When switching between natural light and artificial light or from indoor to outdoor it is always wise to white balance the camera. White balancing allows the camera's iris to adjust to the lighting that is in the environment.

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Eric Edwards
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