Shedding Some Light on the Situation

How a photographer takes advantage of the light available to them in any situation will have an important effect on how powerful the photographs and still images they take are. Think about some of the most impressive photos you’ve ever seen and there’s a good chance light had a lot to do with them. There’s nothing more spectacular than a photo taken as a new day rises with the sun edging over the horizon and the day’s early light starting to take control of the night. We may not be able to control the nature of the light outside, but we can definitely take advantage of what nature offers us.

Finding the Right Exposure

I’m sure we’ve all heard the term overexposure in reference to photography, but that doesn’t mean we know exactly what it’s about. There are a lot of complicated definitions of exposure out there and you may even find a formula or two, but it really comes down to a couple of simple facts. If you’ve ever seen an old color photo that seems to be washed out because of too much color in the image that photo is what you would call overexposed – it’s too bright. If on the other hand you have a photo that’s murky and dark and you can’t really make out what’s going on in the image that photos underexposed. Finding the right balance of light to achieve the effect you’re looking for is what exposure is all about.

Putting a Little Perspective on the Situation

You can take a picture of the exact same thing and make it look very different every single time. The way to do this is by using different perspectives. For example, if I take a picture of you while standing right in front of you about 10 feet away the picture will look very different than if I climb a tree and take the same photo of you because my perspective will have changed. How a photographer uses perspective to their advantage can say a lot about their professionalism.

Changing the Depth Can Reinvent a Photo

One of the most dramatic effects in any photographer’s arsenal is how they take advantage of depth of field. Some of the best photos I’ve ever seen were those taken of very small objects close up that made them appear much larger than they really were. Think about a photo of a flower with a bee crawling around inside taken at an extremely close up vantage point – the effect can be quite stunning. You could simply take a photo of the same scene at a regular distance, but you’d leave out a lot of detail and the photo wouldn’t be half as impressive.

The Importance of What Goes into the Photo

The last essential tool in our photography toolkit is the composition of the photo itself. Composition refers to the placement of items within your photo and what exactly is in them. A photograph of that favorite tree in your yard taken as winter approaches and all the leaves have fallen to the ground will look very different from the same photo used as a backdrop for your family portrait in the middle of a beautiful summer day. A photo captures a moment in time and it’s up to the photographer to decide what should be included in that photo so that it creates the most powerful lasting image possible.