Lighting “maketh a photograph” – a very true and true to life statement, just as “clothes maketh a man”! Consequently if you are a photographer the importance of correct photography lighting techniques need not be overemphasized.
Light effects create prize winning photographs that the great connoisseurs of art crave for. The most relevant topic in photography is type of lighting and how to use it for the best possible result in your photographs. To make the subject easier we shall discuss four basic types of lighting and their conventional usage and constraints.
1. Back Lighting – One of the most popular forms of artistic photography is done through back lighting the objects. It can also be a constraint in case of normal photography when one wishes to capture lighting effects along with the subjects of the photographs like humans or other objects. Perfect photography lighting techniques are to be used in case you wish to capture the breathtaking effect of sunrise and sunset say on a beach with human subjects taking in that natural view! Of course, if one wants to take a silhouette and create a lasting effect it is necessary to compose the picture without any form of filters or flash photography. In contrast if one desires the entire composition to be evenly lit it is advisable to use fill flash equipment.
2. Side Lighting – One of the most common and popular artistic photography methods of illuminating the subject, object, and the background to give really stunning effects! Many systems are possible and these photography lighting techniques can offer a true art form when properly implemented. Half lit and half dark (kind of eclipse effect!) photographs give uncanny but thrilling effects to your hobby. Allowing light to fall from the side and casting a shadow on the opposite side can enhance features if a close up is contemplated. Special portraits are taken with side lighting to emphasize the right or left features of a human form and give depth to an object like flower vases, round objects etc. Photography lighting techniques using the side illumination effect are used for depicting texture and somehow also gives a three dimensional effect.
3. Artificial Lighting – Most indoor photography is carried out with artificial lighting and in this art form – the sky is the limit! Your passport or marriage proposal photograph is normally taken in artificial light. However, for artistic photography, artificial light needs to be well arranged to avoid undesirable effects such as red eye, yellow tinge, and a harsh environment.
4. Diffused Lights – Most important and most natural photography lighting techniques are with the use of diffused light systems. For many photo compositions it is necessary to avoid direct light from falling on the subjects or objects. In case of outdoor photography one must choose the right time of day to take a snap. Sunrise, sunset and mid day sunlight can be too harsh for a proper picture to be snapped. The use of suitable filters is advised to avoid hot spots and create a mush smoother lighting effect.
Though there are many other photography lighting techniques available in the market, the above four basic systems give a fair idea on the effect of illumination in the photographic profession.