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In this section we are looking at the position of the light in relation to your subject and the effect it has to the image quality, depth & mood


The examples below are shot in the garden with a smart phone on a sunny day and certainly won’t win any prizes, but do illustrate three different lighting styles anyone can achieve using the daylight, smart phone even in a small space.

In each top example, it’s just the sunlight and if you look at the brightest part on the old circular flash, you can see where the light is coming from…clever hey!

In the second example, of each lighting style, I’ve filled in the shadows with a homemade reflector [made from tin foil…how to make it video in the next section]

This in effect creates a second light you can direct and change the strength of by moving it from side to side. In the second of each example look at the old flash and you will see where the light from the reflector is coming from.

Anyway, they fit in your pocket, cost next to nothing and make a real difference…see what you think:



Front lighting
The traditional advice of keeping the sun behind the photographer creates front lighting. This produces flat images with no impression of depth and is best to be avoided.

To create an impression of form, depth and texture to the subject, you need the light to come from the side or at least at an angle.


Side Lighting
By changing the angle of the light falling on your subject by either turning your subject, changing the camera viewpoint, or waiting for the sun to move, the light falls more on one side, and more shadows are cast on the opposite side of the subject.

This light gives dimension and form to your pictures and see how the reflector gently fills the shadows in the black body of the right hand camera:



Back lighting
When the sun is behind your subject it is back lit.

This can make for very cool pictures, but there are a few rules you’ll need to know:

Unless you want silhouettes or generally weak pictures like the first example above, you need to balance the strong light from behind the subject by either:

1) Exposure compensation – A setting on your camera or app which tells the camera to brighten or darken the image…[more on that in the next section]

2) Reflecting light back at the subject – like example two above.

3) Using additional lighting to fill in the shadows – Turn on your flash or even better, in the next lesson we learn about additional lighting

Above you will see Lens flare [the bright line caused by the sun failing directly onto your lens] it’s a cool effect and well worth playing with. Try shading the lens with your hand or better still, place the light source behind your subject by moving your position.

Here’s another example of flare:




[(o)]   For the next lesson…Step this way: