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The Art of Digital Photography Lighting

Aug 17, 2007
Photography is the art of light and shade. A photo is basically a record of the light conditions at a certain period in time and space. That is why the lighting plays a very important role there. You could have a hi-end digital camera but still get worse shoots until you are not aware of the secrets of proper lighting. This articles teaches you about the basics of digital photography lighting.

The Light Sources

The good light sources are natural light sources. The sun and the moon are considered to be the best ones. The artificial light sources include the photoflash, the bulb, the halogen lamp as well as some other sources. Special photography studios contain more advanced lights, but they are not necessary unless you are a hi-level professional.

There are various types of digital photography lighting, but the most common are diffused lighting and directional lighting. Diffused light coming from the sides is produced by the sun in the early morning and the late afternoon. Alternatively, it can be simulated by using an umbrella reflector. Direct light can be produced by flash or tungsten.

Light can come from the top, front, back or side. Front lighting is commonly used by photographers, but it often results in unexciting and flat photos. Back and side lighting produce a better effect, especially being combined with each other. The strength of light is also an important thing.

Digital Photography Lighting Specificity

As a rule, digital cameras have a wide set of lighting presets, which can help the photographer to take quality shots in different lighting conditions. Most digital cameras also provide automatic settings for white balancing. There could be various options like daylight, cloudy, tungsten and more. These adjustments can be set to compensate for any given light source so that white objects appear true white in the photo.

Overall, the digital cameras provide us with powerful tool of lighting adjustment. However, making an excellent lighted shoot is always a challenge.

How to Manage Lighting

Photographer can employ and combine different kind of light sources and digital photography lighting presets. There're some common rules on how to manage lighting. For example, it is well known that portraits look best when taken in diffused lighting, whereas top lighting results in sharp contrast of light and shadows. Landscapes look good in soft light, whereas it is better to use bright light when captivating the wildlife.

One of the main advantages of digital photography is that you can experiment with the picture without any additional expenses on film and processing. Following the trial and error method, just try playing with your camera and make the best of it.
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