Light and photography: How to find it and improve it

Light and photography: How to find it and improve it

Ángulo contrapicado de un árbol en blanco y negro, donde inciden los rayos amarillos del sol

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Most of the times, light makes the difference between a professional photography and a conventional one. Light and photography go hand by hand, consequently a good photographer must know it, search it and learn how to play with it. There is a minimum need of illumination for an image to have light however, nowadays, thanks to the improvement of the photographic techniques and the arrival of the digital era, the human eye can appreciate things that were impossible to notice before.

Botton up angle of a black and white image of a tree, under the reflection of sun light.

Regardless of what your eyes tell you, the shine and brightness of colors do not change, no matter the source of lighting. Today, the photographic possibilities exceed the shortcomings of the human eye. For example, years ago the lack of light produced an increase of image noise (film grain). This has improved, due to the use of a wider range of glare not only in the equipment but also in the touching-up phase.  In addition, image stabilization technologies allow working hand-held camera even in long exposures. Hence, dependence of electronic flashes to produce high quality pictures in a scarce-lighting environment has become less and less common.

Currently, a digital camera can help you obtain good quality photos even under high levels of shine and contrast. It is advisable to make excessive use of underexposure techniques to guarantee that lighted areas do not result in pure whites, should this occur it would be more difficult to recover real colors in the postproduction phase. Digital functionalities (such as Curves adjustment, Shadows/Lighting, RAW files manipulation…) also help emphasize or diminish certain details in an image.

Do not overlook light in photography. Take care of its direction, color, source or strength and try to capture it in the precise moment. Sunrise and sunset provide some of the best lighting opportunities and countryside landscapes are the ideal scenario to play with the lighting. For instance, just by going around the same spot one can obtain at least four or five illumination effects. The combination of dark shadows and well sun-lighted areas lead to a High Dynamic Range, i.e. the greater possible luminosity difference between reflections and shadows. To avoid sparkles, use a polarizing filter, which eliminates shine and provides saturated colors.


Trucofoto whises… May the light be with you

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