The Importance of Lighting in Photography

Photography is a skill that sums up the work of manipulating light. Light is very important in photography of all genres. When you are looking at taking a photo, you will have three main elements to consider which are as follows;

  1. Subject

  2. Composition

  3. Light

These are the three main elements of taking a photography and arguably all three elements have equal value. There are plenty more things to consider, however. Depending on the type of photography you are taking will depend on which element has more importance. For example, if you are doing some portrait photography in a studio setting, then Light and Subject is going to be more important than composition. The reason being is that the composition is generally going to be simple with a white background. With Landscape photography, Composition and Lighting will be more important than the subject. You can see that whatever genre of photography you are working in, Light is a very important element and should be considered carefully.

Natural Light

This type of light is the most flattering when it comes to portraits. Therefore you should first look towards using the natural light that is coming into the room or area you are working in. Natural Light can come from windows and doors so observe these areas and place your subject in the natural light. If the weather is overcast, you will get some really nice soft light coming through the window to work with. If it is very sunny and you are getting a lot of sun coming through the window, then you could see what it is like by closing the curtains. By closing the curtains you car creating a much softer light, as the curtains are now acting as a nice soft box. The light will then be evenly distributed over your subject.

Camera Flash or Speed Lights

If you can't get any good natural light to work with, then you will need to look at some Camera Flash or Speed Lights. With these, the idea is to block out all natural light and then you have full control over the lighting with your camera flash and speed lights. This could be just one single speed light or you could have multiple speed lights creating light from different angles onto your subject. With this set-up you have full control over what light your camera is capturing, the angle at which it is falling onto your subject and the amount of light. You will also have control over the hue of the light, which means you can get really creative with your photography.

Landscape Photography

When you are out on a hike up a fell in the Lake District to get an epic sunset photo, you are looking at the light too which plays a very important part of your landscape photos. Some of the best times to go out taking Landscape Photos is at Sunset or Sunrise as these times of the day create some nice Golden Light. The hour before sunset is called Golden Hour, as you get some nice golden light across the landscape and the hour after sunset is called Blue Hour. The reason it is called blue hour is because as the sun has gone below the horizon, the deep blue colours form in the sky and therefore cast a soft blue hue over the landscape. You are best using these lighting conditions to your advantage and take this into consideration when out taking Landscape Photos. Shooting when the lighting is good will dramatically improve your photography 10 fold.

Bouncing Light

Photographers are always looking at the light and how it is falling onto objects and the landscape. Like I have said previously in this photography blog, natural light is always the easiest and arguably the best light to use. When the natural light isn't falling onto your subject in the way you were hoping for, you can then us reflectors to bounce the light around your subject. Sometimes it is nice to just reflect the natural light back onto your subject to reduce any shadows being created with just one directional light source. Even if it is a nice large window or door where the natural light is coming from, you will still get some shadows appearing. These can be eliminated or lessened by reflecting the light back onto your subject to even the light our even more...

Thank you for taking the time to read this photography blog about the importance of lighting in photography. If you have any questions please comment below or send me an email to

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