I See The Light – How Lighting Affects Your Images

The major aspect which can affect your images is the lighting. Many people think that you need a sunny day to capture excellent images, but that is not true. My preferred lighting  is on a day when the lighting is subdued and not direct. Harsh bright sunlight can cause distinct shadows on the subject which can detract from the image.

Moonbeams at Surfers Paradise

A classic example is the above image of the moonbeam above shining on to the breaking surf. Without the lighting from the moon this image would be nothing. The above image has been captured with the aid of a stable tripod together with a  remote cable release.

It is true that photography is all about the lighting of the scene. With today’s cameras with high ISO capability, which was unheard of a few years ago, we can now capture images at ISO4,000 or even higher sometimes.

For some time I thought that the prime aspect with photography lighting was that there was adequate lighting of the scene to ensure a satisfactory level of light to give a high enough shutter speed and also to give a satisfactory level of lighting to use the aperture that you desire for adequate depth of field. There is much more to lighting than that.

  • We can  have front lighting, which generally gives a rather flat and bland images and the image will lack detail and be uninteresting with little impact on the viewer.
  • We can have side lighting which will often bring out the detail and texture on the surface of the subject and highlights the subjects features.
  • We can have back lighting which can highlight the outline of the subject but will leave the main part of the subject in shadow and the main subject will have a good outline with rim type lighting but the main subject may remain featureless.

From my observations, the main difference between a pleasing image and a spectacular image with large impact is essentially due in the main to the lighting.

Rainbow Lorikeet, Rosser Park Botanical Gardens

The above image of the Rainbow Lorikeet has been captured on a relatively overcast day with subdued lighting. In this case it was difficult to get a shutter speed high enough to achieve a fast enough shutter speed but I was able to get a sharp image by using a monopod to help stabilise the camera to get a sharp enough image.

It is also well worth mentioning that beautiful lighting also occurs for an hour or two around the time of sunrise and also around sunset. The reason being that at these times the lighting is quite subdued and indirect, these are my favourite times for photography.

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Thank you for sharing your experience! Lighting is a great tool that can spoil a perfet shot or on the other side, it can make the picture fantastic!

    As for me, I like shooting during a golden hour. This time of the day light turns my photos into shining amazing pictures.