Lighting and Exposure
Lighting is a very important element when taking pictures. Exposure is the measuring and balancing of light. More light within the setting will cause a photograph to be too bright and look overexposed. The less light a setting has, the darker the photograph will appear causing it to look underexposed. To obtain good results, it’s important to understand proper lighting and how it affects photography.
Let’s take a look at natural light. Natural light is inconsistent and varies depending on the time of day. For instance, if you’re taking a picture midday, it takes on more of a blue hue vs. taking a picture in the morning or early evening. This would produce a photograph with more red hues and softer contrast. It’s important to keep this in mind.
Direct light can cause great contrast and many shadows or cause the photography to be too bright. When the sun is directly in front of a subject, this can also cause squinting. This is best used for scenery photographs when the setting features a strong colour. In most cases, side light is preferable and also works well for strongly detailed landscapes. Having light behind a subject is wonderful for emphasizing shapes and creating silhouettes.
When using artificial light such as incandescent light, this often causes a yellow tinge. Florescent light on the other hand produces greenish tinges in colour. White Balance is used to help adjust the colour in different lighting situations.
When taking photographs, you should also be aware of highly reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or glass, behind your subject as they can cause a reflection back into the camera’s lens causing a glare on your image. In this case, it’s best to angle the flash so that the glare reflects away from the camera or to have these objects at the side of the subject.
In digital cameras, you can adjust the white balance in order to control colour tints depending on the shooting situation. Adjusting the white balance varies depending on the camera. Many digital cameras have both automatic and semi-automatic modes to make adjustments. The “auto” is used when you want the camera to automatically adjust to the lighting. Sometimes the automatic feature can be fooled if the scene is dominated by one colour or if it’s absent of any natural white. When using the automatic feature, it is helpful to focus in on an area that is white before taking the actual shot.
The semi-automatic modes offer specialized light settings that can be used to improve the quality of your pictures. For example, use “daylight” for taking outdoor pictures on a bright and sunny day or use “cloudy” when taking outdoor pictures on a cloudy day. Using a flash outdoors can also help balance light on the subject and the background. There are many different settings, depending on your camera. It is important to review your camera’s manual.