Lesson 1: Find the Light

Understanding light is the key to a good photo.  After all, photography is the act of capturing and recording light.

Let’s talk about the four types of light that you most likely will be taking photos in:

  1. Hard Light
  2. Soft Light
  3. Natural Light
  4. Artificial light

Hard Light is usually direct and comes from single slight source. Think shooting midday at the beach.

The light on your subject will be really bright and if you try to photograph a face, you may end up with lots of shadows and squinted eyes.  In this type of light, I usually focus on the back of someone or even photograph them from far away.

Soft light can be created when you light is diffused or not direct. Think photos in what they call the golden hour.  This type of light is usually very warm, but colors and shadows are usually pretty even.

When taking photos, whether it’s with your phone or your DSLR, try to always use natural light when possible. If I am taking photos, I always try to get near a window.  Like the photo below. Natural light doesn’t give you that yellow cast you always see on photos and using natural light will give you clear vivid photos that Instagram users love to see in feeds.

Think light bulbs, the light in target, flashes, lamps. Artificial light can be hard to shoot in, but it can be done if you practice. The key with artificial light is not only knowing what direction your light source is, but having the correct white balance in your photo. This can be achieved before you take the photo or fixed afterward in post-processing.