The most important aspect of photography, lighting can make or break the effect of your image. After all, photography is a process of capturing light on camera sensors. Consequently, the importance of lighting cannot be over-estimated and if proper care for lighting conditions is not taken, you stand to lose everything.
Though it sounds easy, once you really get into it, you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of lighting options and will probably wish you could take happy snaps.
Lighting is divided into:
- Natural lighting
- Artificial lighting
Natural lighting is outdoor sunlight, while artificial lighting comes from a fabricated source and is categorized into several sections. Whether it’s fluorescent, incandescent or even street lighting, each effect needs special treatment.
While sunrise and sunset provide the most spectacular lighting aspects of outdoor photography and generally provide high-quality shots, there are many other ways in which outdoor lighting can be used effectively.
Get the creative juices flowing and transform mundane outdoor light into interesting patterns by subtly changing different aspects or creating a new focus.
Ways to make outdoor lighting interesting:
Side lighting: As the phrase suggests, this lighting comes from the side. It is a natural choice for photographers who specialize in portrait pictures. It is also an effective technique when you want to add shadows or depth to your photographs.
It brings contrast to your photographs with greater ease, and is therefore a good choice when clicking images of dramatic architectures.
Back lighting: If the light source is behind the subject, the lighting is referred as back lighting. Even though the lighting is behind the subject, it directs the lighting towards the camera.
This type of lighting is preferred when you are clicking silhouettes of a subject or person. When this type of lighting is combined with certain atmospheric conditions, it can create interesting effects of airborne dust and fog.
Rim lighting: The light highlights the subject at an acute angle. It creates a lighting effect only in a certain section of the picture and highlights the edges of the picture frame.
Stark contrast provided by rim lighting gives highlights and shows you the exact shape and form of the subject you are clicking. This lighting is used most frequently in wildlife, macro photography and nature photography.
Ambient lighting: This is unfocused, non-directed lighting. This lighting is focused on a certain object, but bounces back onto another subject. As you are capturing directed light, your image picks up the color and contrast of the surface from where the light is directed. This type of lighting works best with nature and environmental photography.
Spot lighting: This form of lighting can be used to highlight a specific section of an image. For example, when you are photographing a vast landscape, and only a particular section of the environment is caught in the sun’s rays, while other parts are covered with clouds, you can create the illusion of sun penetrating through the clouds. If you are clicking images in dense forest, leaves stop the light and create interesting lighting patterns which you can highlight and develop with this technique.