Light is a photographer’s best friend: Discover how to take a picture with the right lighting

Light in photography

Knowing the importance of lighting in photography is essential to creating a good shot and being a conscious photographer.
To make sure you take good pictures, and not just leave the final product to chance, it’s important to learn how to recognize the right photographic light and how to use it.
In fact, light allows you to outline shapes and volumes and it is the true expressive tool available to any photographer, regardless of the quality of the equipment used.

It’s not just a matter of having enough light to be able to take a picture without problems. Instead, you need to know how to make use of light and its characteristics so as to not only enhance the subject you wish to capture but also strengthen its communicative power.

Light in photography: intensity and contrast

Light in photography is responsible for the two essential features of our photos: intensity and contrast.

Intensity is the amount of light that illuminates the subject we want to capture and inevitably varies depending on the power of the light source illuminating the subject and the distance that separates them.

Contrast is closely connected to the intensity of light and is determined by the difference in illumination between light and dark areas. More or less contrast is given by the amount of light present when taking the photo.

Light in photography: frontal light and grazing light

Another fundamental factor for understanding how to make better use of light in photography is understanding that it changes depending on the angle at which it hits the subject we are shooting.

If the ray of light is in line with the camera and illuminates the subject directly, we are using frontal light. This type of lighting, which requires that the light source be behind the photographer, tends to flatten the volume of the image but also highlights its details, providing strong contrast.

When instead the light skims the surface of the subject in an almost parallel manner, this is called grazing light. Grazing light is no doubt the best compromise for taking pictures: it provides three-dimensionality to the subject, without affecting its sharpness.

What are you waiting for? Follow our advice and look for the right lighting: on Gallerist there may be buyers just waiting for your original shots!


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