Improving the Lighting in Your Photographs

Another way to improve the quality of your photographs is to use supplemental lighting.

Most of the time this means using either your camera's built-in flash unit or an accessory flash unit, but sometimes it's as easy as repositioning a couple of lamps to throw more light on your subject. The idea is simple: Throw more light on a poorly lit subject to create a better photo.

Most of the time extra light is beneficial, but you do want to avoid lighting your subject from below, a style known as ghoul lighting. This casts strange shadows and produces an otherworldly appearance that can adversely affect your photographs. In fact, cinematographers have been using ghoul lighting for years; it's the lighting used in those old black and white horror movies your parents and grandparents might have watched.

Figure 7-7: Back lighting gives an ethereal presence to any subject.

© 2004 Dan Simon

Figure 7-7: Back lighting gives an ethereal presence to any subject.

© 2004 Dan Simon

When applied judiciously, supplemental lighting is one of those things that can make a huge difference in your photography.

A flash, for example, is just as useful under bright light as it is in low light. In fact, its careful use in high contrast conditions can go a long way toward solving some of the most common photographic problems.

Getting good results from flashes doesn't have to be difficult. You need to understand that the camera is competing with one of the finest optical instruments ever devised—the human eye.

Your eyes quickly compensate for fairly severe changes in illumination, so you tend to view a scene without realizing your film or digital sensor doesn't see it the same way.

Part of what makes using supplemental lighting challenging is recognizing when to use it in the first place.

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment