Light – Part 1 of 6

People argue over what is the best camera, the best lens, Canon, Nikon SLR’ no it has to be mirrorless. Fuji gives the best colour, no one can beat Sony etc, etc ad nauseam.

The one thing that is actually the most important is actually hardly ever discussed, and that is light.

All the above shots were taken in available light, some indoor some high contrast summer sun.

Flower in midday sun shot with flash to over power the light.

Most photographers like to work with available light, its easy but your somewhat stuck with what you have. Maybe a reflector for fill can help but if you want to raise your game then flash is the answer.

Whether its overpowering the sun with flash to take a photo of a flower in the garden or studio light on a fashion shoot, this with modern cameras, a histogram or some knowledge with a light meter gives controllable light; light that you can sculpt and shape the scene and your subject.

Flash seems to scare many photographers but to be honest there is no reason to be afraid. The easiest and worst is on camera flash. All photographers at some point have tried it. Flash on camera, harsh direct light and often red-eye on the subject. Not pretty. The flash goes away never to be used again.

But move the flash off camera, start to understand the relationship between size of the light source and its affect on hard and soft light; and a understanding of defused and specular light sources and you can take control of the light around you.

So how do you learn this, well there are a lot of good educators on YouTube

I particularly like ‘Daniel Norton Photographer‘. If you want some out of the box thinking on flash, especially small flash the Strobist website is a good place to start.

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