Nowadays photographers devote so much time and discussion on the subject of light that it’s easy to misunderstand its importance & emphasis. New photographers often interpret the focus on light in photography as a need for even, direct light–and lots of it–in every scene they photograph. But, in reality it’s light and shadows together that make a great photograph.
As a photographer the quantity of light is an important factor in creating great images, but there is so much more to making an interesting image than shining even light at your subject. In most cases, even light falling across a subject eliminates all shadow and leaves the scene looking flat.
Using light & shadow
There is a lot more to using shadows in photography than just letting some parts of your photos be dark.
If you want pictures that stand out, you can use the light and shadows available in your setting to create high contrast photos. The eye will naturally distinguish these lighter and darker areas, perceiving an image to be much more dynamic and alive. Of course, this isn’t always simple to achieve.
The challenge comes with figuring out exactly how to combine the light and dark within the location of your scene. This can require some control over framing and lighting, but the end result is worth it. The extra work that you put in to find a complementing balance of contrast will create photos that seem to have a life of their own.
controlling shadows in photography
When it comes to photography, the shadows you cast are only as good as your light.
This doesn’t mean that you have to use intense lighting for your pictures, though it can be helpful if you want to cast hard shadows and interesting patterns. Instead, it means that you need to know exactly how to control your lighting to create the types of shadows that you want. With proper lighting and applying diffusing methods you can create both intense and subtle effects that will help you deliver just the look that you want to create.
how to achieve light & shadow play in your images :
- PRACTICE – Cannot stress enough on this. They do not have to full blown shoots. Where ever you find natural light try to study and photograph it.
- EXPERIMENT – try using all kinds of light intensity – harsh, subtle, diffused, direct, indirect and at different times in the day
- FIND THE LIGHT – Train your mind and eyesight to spot light patterns and interesting shadows. Very soon they become a way of life.
- INNOVATE – Add layers in front of light source to see how it falls. straight lines or design patterns.
Find more examples of use of natural light HERE and HERE.
Komal Gangaramani12 months ago
Hi Sharmila ,
I am always in awe of your photography . Your shots have a life of their own .. In this post , you have so easily demonstrated how one can achieve similar results .. You are best !
If you ever come up a photography course , I would be the first person to join