Controllers in Lighting and Other Factors for Improving Photography
So you think you have a unique and fresh perspective on everyday visuals around you? Photography may seem like your natural beckoning. However, good photography isn’t just about ability to visualize well, a whole host of factors such as controllers in lighting govern how a captured image plays out on print. Overlooking these crucial aspects of photography leaves even the most promising photographers frustrated with the inability to capture the enormity or essence of real life scenes in images. Concentrating on the following fundamentals of photography can help beginners hone and improve their skills:
It’s All about Playing with the Lighting
A picture is as good as the lighting around it. The ability to control lighting and use it your advantage is the hallmark of a photographer par excellence. Here is a lowdown on some tips for improving your understanding and control in lighting for improved photography results:
- Sensitivity to Your Light Source: The process of taking a picture is fundamentally all about capturing light around you, and therefore, being sensitive to the source of lighting is of paramount importance for good results. As a photographer, you not only need to be attentive to the dynamics of lighting around you but also realize how a particular lighting source will interact with your camera. This understanding of lighting and its effect on the end result is not only essential for natural light setting but also for using artificial lighting to enhance the impressionability of the end product.
- The Sun is Your Best Friend, Biggest Enemy: There can’t be a better source of lighting than the sun itself. While the sun can be a photographer’s best friend, it can also prove to be your most bitter enemy. It all really depends on how well you position yourself vis-à-vis the sun while taking a shot. The sun is behind every good click, literally. Yes, that means having your back to the sun, so that sunlight falls on the subject and not your camera lens is the ideal position for extracting best results in natural light. Having sun rays fall on your camera lens can jeopardize the resulting images, as some of these rays are absorbed by the lens and transferred on to the image sensor leading to dark spots on the image or a total washed out effect that is hard to spot while shooting but is evident on the images.
- Sharp Subjects: The key subjects of your photography must be the focal point of the resulting images, and use of lighting plays an important role in achieving that effect. It is crucial to use the background lighting to your advantage for sharpening your main subjects. Familiarizing yourself with tricks such as using a tripod to shoot in low lighting conditions or avoiding outdoor shoots when the sky is overcast can contribute greatly to your ability to extract the desired results from a given setting.
- Playing with Artificial Lighting: Great shots can be found anywhere, anytime, and the sun may not always be around to aid your shoots. Therefore, it is important to master the knack of playing with artificial lighting for perking up image quality. For instance, you can create some terrific images with the inspiration to capture the essence of urban life at night or in the twilight hours if you know how to play with trial lights of moving traffic in order to induce a dramatized effect into your images. Similarly, controllers in lighting can be used to effectively manipulate artificial lights from lamps or other sources indoors to create silhouette images. The trick here is to place your subjects against uncluttered, clean and lit-up background. Once you have your subjects against the right background, it is all about playing with angles to get some awe-inspiring images.
The Exposure Triangle
Knowing how lighting works vis-à-vis your subjects in only one aspect of good photography. Understanding how lighting works with respect to the mechanics of your camera is also equally essential. The exposure triangle deals with three most important aspects of lighting and camera operations:
- ISO Setting: The ISO setting on your camera determines its sensitivity to light at a given time. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive your camera will be to light. In terms of performance and quality, it means higher ISO allows you to use smaller apertures and greater shutter speed but may also add a grainy effect to the resulting images.
- Aperture: The aperture setting in your camera determines how much light is allowed in. It can be compared to the iris of the human eye. The aperture can be opened up to increase the amount of light flowing in or narrowed down to limit it. The aperture setting, and consequent amount of light inflow, determines the depth of field in images. A wider aperture corresponds to shallow depth in images and vice-versa.
- Shutter Speed: If aperture is the camera equivalent of iris in the human eye, shutter speed corresponds to eye blinks. The shutter speed setting determines the time for which the camera shutter will remain open while capturing an image. Slower shutter speed allows more light to flow in, but is also linked to creating a blurring effect if the subjects are in motion. A faster shutter speed, on the other hand, can offer tremendously still images of even subject in motion; however, it considerably limits the amount of light.
The understanding of these three crucial factors, and the ability to use them in tandem with one another, as per the requirement of the setting you are shooting in, is a pre-requisite to creating stellar images from even the most ordinary subjects. Being quick, decisive and ready to shoot at a short notice are some other key traits of a competent photographer.
Once you have mastered the basic nuances of controllers in lighting and their effects on resultant images, it is all about picking up that camera and clicking your way to perfection. Like in any other art form, in photography too, knowledge alone cannot translate into awe-inspiring results. You need to supplement your know-how with experience drawn from practicing tirelessly until you muster the confidence of knowing your equipment and subjects like the back of your hand.