The Light Factor in Photography


In my last post I mentioned Light as one of the five secrets in mobile photography. We elaborate… Thirty Three years ago I bought my first fancy camera with some lenses and  stuff and it was at that time I also received my first piece of “professional” advice regarding photography. It went something like this… “God’s light is best” I had no clue what that meant or what all those knobs and dials on that fancy camera did.

Over the years I did note that there were indeed different qualities of natural light but didn’t really understand how that could impact my pictures. It wasn’t until I started doing the so called “mobile photography” long before the smartphone era. I began to notice that outdoor photos were ten times better than those taken indoors. Surprise! it was the light. I am sure there is some scientific backstory about photons or something that explains what natural light contributes to an image. Not being a scientist I will stick with the results.

With this revelation I began to put together my own view of why God’s light was best. It goes something like this: Because of the position of the sun in the sky relative to the horizon we get different qualities of light. These also vary with seasons because of earth’s relation to the sun. For instance there are some awesome light situations that only happen in winter.

If you want to use natural light indoors it’s a little trickier but catch your subjects in the light that streams in from the window and with a little experience you can get some fantastic results. I discovered this accidently shooting a family reunion with the “hipstamatic” app for the iphone. If you shoot mobile photos you will find that natural light is your friend and learning how to use that will add drama and an edge beyond the look of a casual snapshot. The key is learning to see the light as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your capture device.


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