Lighting is one of the most important elements of any photo, and understanding the color, direction, quantity, and quality of the light you use is one of the best ways to improve your photos. This will show you how to use lighting to your advantage—and give you some helpful rules for when and when not to use your camera’s flash.
The Importance of Natural Light
Photos taken using natural light (as opposed to artificial lights or flash) are more realistic and pleasing to the eye:
• Subtle textures are preserved.
• You’ll get soft, diffused light and natural-looking shadows.
• Your photo subjects can open their eyes and will be “squint-free.”
• Pay attention to the direction of the light. Pose your subject to allow diffused daylight to fall on the front or side of their face and not behind (which can cause facial features to be in shadow).
The Best Time of Day to Take Photos
The “magic hours” for photographers are in the early evening or early morning.
• This is when natural light is soft and abundant.
• You escape both the harshness of the midday sunshine and the difficulties of shooting at night.
• Taking photos during these times can make a huge difference in the quality of your pictures, particularly when you are photographing people.