The technical quality and artistic value of the image directly depend on well-organized lighting. Knowledge of the laws of setting the light allows you to create unique inimitable images, various effects and amazing shadows on the photo. Lighting can be natural (daylight) and artificial (flash plus background lighting, or for example, a combination of backlight and background lighting).
Many photographers prefer to work with natural light and it is not surprising, because this is absolutely free tool, given by nature. It is very important to understand the principles of light work and to use its features and advantages in its work. Natural light is different, and it is uncontrolled by man. The one who makes the shooting should use the current situation «here and now», because there are different techniques for taking photographs under certain conditions.
Consider the main types of natural light. Natural lighting is divided into diffused, hard sunlight, light at dawn or sunset, backlight
Diffused light can be seen in twilight, in cloudy weather, and also from windows of the non-sunny side. It allows you to evenly illuminate the face and silhouette of the model, emphasize the details and create soft shadows, but the contrast will be low. This light is more suitable for creating gentle romantic photographs.
Hard sunlight happens when the sun is at its zenith. Usually, beginning photographers are not recommended to take pictures at this time, since the pictures often turn out to be overexposed (the best time is considered within 4-5 hours after dawn and a few hours before sunset). But with experienced photographers at noon, the photo is bright and contrasting. Such light is ideal for creating juicy rainbow images, glamorous fashion frames, facial expressions seem more bold, because the protruding parts of the face (cheekbones, nose, chin, eyebrows) are highlighted.
Sunlight at dawn or sunset is the most beloved of most photographers, often referred to as the «golden hour». This light is observed for an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. The photos taken during this period turn out to be warm and saturated, and the shadows on them are soft.
Back lighting occurs when a strong light source (in our case, the sun) is located opposite the camera or behind the subject of the picture, so that the object has a clear outline. Backlight is indispensable if you want to highlight the silhouette of the model in the photo. Especially the outlines of the figure in translucent developing outfits or underwater photography look tempting. By the way, another source of backlight can be headlights at night.
Artificial lighting is indispensable when taking pictures in a room or at a studio. But since professional equipment is quite expensive, we will only consider the main options and principles of studio lighting. Professional photographers have enough experience and theoretical knowledge in this field, but it is very useful for girls when doing a home photo session using conventional lighting devices.
Lighting can be directed (the object in the photo has sharply expressed light, shadows and in some cases glare), diffused (uniformly and equally illuminated all the surfaces of the object, due to which there are no shadows and glare, the details are clearly visible) and combined (it is a combination of directional and diffused light). Increasing the total illumination leads to an increase in contrast and vice versa.
When shooting indoors, a studio flash is usually used, which gives direct and hard light, so with it additional equipment is used to disperse, soften or reflect light (softbox, photo zone, soffit, etc.). With the color of the flash, you can experiment using special color films and eventually get different effects on the photo.
The closer the light source is to the object, the sharper the shadows will be outlined. If you send two light sources to the object, crossed the rays, we’ll get a shadow and a partial shadow and at the same time we’ll soften the contrast.
The main source of lighting in studio photography is the so-called drawing light, which is usually one and a half times brighter than the rest. It is placed in front at a distance of one and a half to two meters. Fill light is used to soften shadows from drawing light and thus improve image quality. Usually it is placed behind the camera. Background light gives depth and volume, often reflective objects such as umbrellas and flat reflectors made of white cloth are used to which the light source is directed (due to this, a softer reflected light is falls into the subject). The backlight is used to highlight a shape (for example, a silhouette) or any part of an object (for example, clothes, hair), it is placed behind the model at close distance.
Above there is a traditional lighting scheme in a photo studio. But the most interesting pictures are obtained as a result of experiments with various types of lighting devices, their arrangement and power. Below there are examples of photographs taken by professional photographers in the studio and in nature.
Among the footage you need to select the best. Usually, not more than ten of the hundreds of footage are taken.
In addition to the shooting itself, in order to obtain high-quality photos, it is equally important to post-process the captured photos. All professional photos that you see on the Internet, are necessarily passed through processing in graphic editors — otherwise they would not have turned out so saturated, pronounced and impressive. Post-processing is bringing the photo to the desired state by adjusting the brightness, contrast, shadows and other image parameters. But this is a broader topic, which can not be told in one paragraph, the basic principles of post-processing can be read in this article.