Photography is an art that thrives on light. The way you manipulate and use light can transform a good photo into an exceptional one. Not understanding light and how it works is the difference between an amateur photographer and a professional. When it comes to mastering the nuances of lighting, there’s one rule that stands out as an absolute game-changer. It is what allows us to create stunning images over and over no matter where we are or when we are shooting.
What’s the rule?
Even light head to toe on the subject. This is our #1 rule and it can *never* be broken.
How to recognize it? Look at your subject, and make sure no where on their body is there sun, or sun spots, and no harsh light of any kind coming through trees and hitting your client. You can see on the family below that the sun is hitting some of them in the face and the others are in shade. Their chest and shoulders are blotchy. The couple on the right, Dana and Matt, the light is completely even on them all over. The light on both of them is exactly the same, which makes the photo look much more aesthetically pleasing.
Here is an example below
The Significance of Even Light
Light is the essence of photography. It shapes your subject, adds depth, and conveys emotion. But what makes even light so crucial? Simply put, it ensures that your subject looks its best, highlighting every detail while minimizing unflattering shadows and harsh highlights.
1. Flattering Portraits: Even light enhances the subject’s features and evens out skin tones. It minimizes the appearance of imperfections, resulting in portraits that are not only beautiful but also genuine.
2. Consistency: When you maintain even lighting, you create a consistent visual style throughout your body of work. This consistency helps build a coherent narrative and allows viewers to connect with your photographs on a deeper level.
3. Versatility: Whether you’re shooting portraits, landscapes, or events, the principle of even light remains applicable. It’s a fundamental rule that adapts to various genres and lighting conditions.
How to Apply Rule #1 to Your Photography
Now that you understand why even light is essential, let’s explore practical ways to apply this rule and transform your photography.
1. Master Natural Light: is a photographer’s best friend. Learn to harness it effectively. When shooting portraits outdoors, schedule your sessions during the golden hours – the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. This changes everyday so check what time these events are on the days of the shoot when scheduling with your client – to benefit from soft, even lighting.
2. Position your subject strategically: Ensure that your subject is facing away from the sun when outside, because the shadow will create even light. When inside have them face the window, positioning your subject correctly is vital for eliminating harsh shadows.
3. Reflectors and Diffusers: Reflectors bounce light back onto your subject, filling in shadows and creating an even illumination. Diffusers soften and distribute light, offering a more flattering look. Carry these tools with you, as they can be incredibly handy in various shooting scenarios.
4. Experiment and Practice: Photography is a art, and arts only improves with practice. Experiment with different lighting setups and techniques to discover what works best for your style and subject matter.
Our number 1 lighting rule, “Even light on the subject from head to toe,” is a guiding principle that can revolutionize your photography. It holds the power to transform your images from ordinary to extraordinary, making your work stand out in a crowded field.
Remember, mastering this rule takes time and practice. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right immediately. Photography is a journey of continuous learning and evolution. Embrace the process, and get comfortable being uncomfortable then watch your business take off.