Every other month I present a Digital Composition Challenge to the Thousand Oaks Photo Group. This months challenge is Using Light with the objective to have the photographers think about light and how it is contributing to the image. The challenge is to make photographs where light and shadow are a major contributor to the image’s story, mood, emotion, and purpose.
First some basics. We know that all photography is about the capture of light, but some photographs rely on strong and angular lighting to tell the story and convey the mood. Some photographs are about the light itself.
When thinking about using light, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Where is the light falling?
Why have you chosen to position the light (or position yourself to the light) at that angle?
What elements are lit?
What elements are show by shadow?
Can you see the light? (not just the reflectance of the light)
Are there significant elements created by by shadow?
Would changing your position to the light change the story or impact?
Would increasing or decreasing the amount of light change the story or impact?
Tips for Using Light
- When outdoors – shoot during early morning or late afternoon when the low angle of the sun creates strong directional light
- Experiment with back light and side light
- Experiment with low-light situations with a small, yet, poignant use of light
- If using flash – move the flash off the camera
I always showcase images of my own and others. Here is an album of images of mine and some links to other photographers.
- Using Light in Portraiture: Yousuf Karsh
- Using Light in Photo Journalism: Jonas Bendiksen – The Places We Live, and Satellites
- Light in Still Life – Eben Ostby
- Manufactured Light – Ron Matson