We all have that one time of the day that we just love to photograph. For most, it’s probably the golden hour. For others, it’s probably mid-day inside. Lighting is really important in photography. It helps define your style. It also helps bring your photographs to life. Flat lighting is still fine, not every image has to be award winning. Life happens around all types of lighting, and as a photographer, you just have to learn how to use that light. There’s some hard lighting, soft lighting, tricky lighting, artificial lighting, natural lighting, the list goes on. Learning how to use each type of lighting will definitely benefit you as a photographer. Keep reading to see why.
need some ideas to shoot the same subject? check out my 5 Ways to Shoot the Same Subject post.
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it helps you learn how to use each light
Taking images through-out all different types of light helps you learn how to use that light. When I first started photography, I got stuck ONLY photographing at the golden hour for a few reasons. One being that I just loved the images I got. The light was so pretty! Another reason being that it was easy. I knew how to work the golden hour. Around this time last year I bought a breakout from Clickin Moms (Discover the Magic in Everyday Light by Gina Yeo) that forever changed the way I looked at light. It challenged me to get out there and photograph different types of light, not just back-light. I hope this post does the same for you.
you’ll get more variety in your images
Just like I mentioned above, you won’t just be photographing the type of light you know and love. You won’t just have back-lighting, you’ll also have side light, butterfly light, harsh light, full sun, directional light, overcast light, and so forth. You’ll have to much more to add to your portfolio. It’s important to practice and learn about all types of light.
Here’s a good exercise to try. Take a picture of the same subject at different times of the day. I often go on walks around my neighborhood around the same time everyday. That time is around the golden hour time. I would always take my camera, but I wouldn’t always come home with images. I was just fresh out of ideas. I finally went on a walk earlier in the day, when the sun was higher. I was inspired again and got different images than usual.
All of the following images were taking at the same location, different times. (I even checked the times in Lightroom to confirm!)
This first image was taken at around 11 am.
This next image was taken at 7:30 pm (my normal time to walk around the neighborhood!)
And these last two were taken at 4:30 pm. For me, these last two have the most ideal lighting (it looks closer to golden hour than the 7:30 pm one!).
you’ll be able to take great images anywhere, anytime
You won’t be limited to just that golden hour light. You can take an amazing picture anywhere, anytime! You can make any light work for you.
Here’s another fun exercise you can try. Get a subject (a person, an animal, even a stuffed animal will do, just get a subject and stick with it). Next, pick different times and locations. Now, try and photograph this subject with different light. The reason to have the same subject is to see how the image changes.
I picked my sister as my subject.
Mixed lighting – artificial and natural
Open shade/dappled lighting
It’s so fun to see the different images you can get with the lighting. Go out and practice!
Light is the heart of a photograph, it brings it to life. Learning to use it is essential. Another exercise (similar to the one above) is to pick one location and photograph the same subject during different times of the day. You’ll get all different types of light. Pick one outdoor location and one indoor location, and one subject. You’ll see how the different light effects the subject in different ways. For the indoor location, be sure to pick one with a window to work with natural light. Have fun experimenting, and be sure to share them!