Today we’re going to delve into one of the most important aspects of photography – lighting. We’ll begin with a background as to why lighting is so important, discuss the traditional three-light setup, and then move on to illustrate a number of different lighting techniques (and the associated results)!
In photography there are two types of light; hard or harsh light, and soft or diffused light. Hard light casts deep sharp shadows with well-defined edges, such as the case in high mid-day sun. Soft light casts softer shadows with edges less defined, such as the case on an overcast day. Thatâs because the light is bounced and diffused in different directions and is spilling into the shadows, so the size of the light becomes much larger.
The effective size of the light depends on two factors:
- The actual physical size of the light.
- The light’s position in relation to the subject.
The closer the light is to the subject, the larger the effective size and the softer it is. The further the light is from the subject, the smaller the effective size and the harder it is. So you can easily change the quality of light by changing the effective size.
This brings up another issue – contrast. Contrast is the difference between the light and shadow areas of your scene. The greater the difference, the more contrast the scene is said to have. The smaller the difference, the less contrast the scene is said to have.