Photography is the Capture of Light
Hello my name is Geo. I imagine your first thought is who am I in the world of photography. Well, I am nobody famous, just an average guy whose passion is photography. With my passion for photography I would like to embark on a journey of exploring the secrets of fantabulous photography with you, the reader.
I would like to share my thoughts on understanding a photographers perspective on lighting. Whether you are a noob or an experienced photographer, lighting or lack of can be a huge factor in how your final photo or print will look. Honestly, entire books have been written on the subject of photography and lighting so I will just be skimming the top of this deep subject today.
When I think of lighting, I think of two things. First of which is the existing light of where I am shooting. Examples are indoors, outside and possibly at night outside. Second would be the camera settings needed to maximize or minimize the available light for my shot to be exposed correctly. Photographers are people and as such we all have different personalities. Therefore as photographers we all have our own style of shooting. Whatever settings you are using to achieve a correctly exposed shot would be your style. I would totally encourage everyone to experiment with their camera to discover their style. That being said, let's talk about the two things I think about when taking a shot.
The first thing I factor in is the existing light source. If it is a sunny day I have to consider what time of day it is. Personally I find early morning the best for landscape and portrait photography. Early evening I would find the second best lighting situations. The middle of the day the bright sun can be very harsh. Many times I do not always have the luxury of choosing the time of day. I have done a couple of weddings right in the middle of the day out in the bright sun. There are filters that help with this. Usually cloudy days are not a problem with lighting. In fact sometimes the colors are better on a cloudy or dark and dreary day. Let us say you are out on the beach with your new Canon Rebel. That's right folks I shoot with Canon. Okay you are out there on a sunny day using your new camera whatever make it is. I would advise you to steer clear of glare and direct sunlight. About an hour before I started writing this I thought I may need an example so I shot an outside photo. It was dark and very foggy, well it was January. Actually it was January the 17th. Which is in the info on my two examples.
The second thing I think about are my camera settings. Above I mentioned I have two examples on the right. As I was out in the butt freezing cold I thought about my options. First option would be a low ISO with a long shutter speed. Which is my first example on the right. As you can see in the info under my photo I shot this at ISO 100, aperture f/32, and the shutter was open for 32 seconds. Considering how foggy it was I am surprised this turned out at all. My other option was a high ISO. The second example below was shot at an ISO of 800, f/5.6 at 1/6th of a second. These are just two examples. A higher ISO will let more light in the lens as also a lower number f/stop. You can see the example shot at ISO 800 is brighter than the first example. ISO and f/stop will be another article.
My examples are just that examples. There are numerous other settings that could have been used for this shot. It would have been possible to shoot this photo at ISO 3200. Although, a higher ISO means more digital noise, which lessens the quality of your photo. This is something to consider while selecting your camera settings. I am showing you two different perspectives on the lighting in this situation. Chances are if there were a dozen photographers out there taking the same shot there would be a dozen different settings.
I believe a photographer's perspective is how a photographer percieves a particular scene. As I mentioned above, a dozen different photographers may well have a dozen different camera settings for the same scene. Your photographer's perspective will determine the style of shooting that best suits you. My two examples are very close. Do you prefer one over the other? If so you may be on your way to developing your own photographer's perspective. I think every photographer should discover and embrace his or her own photographer's perspective or style. I also believe once established it would be good to have an open mind to explore other options once in awhile.
Thank you for listening, Geo Beck.