Chapter 6: Working with Light
The word photography is derived from two Greek words: photos (light) and graphos (writing or painting). Without a doubt, light is the most essential ingredient that goes into making a photograph. Light is also the most variable part of the photographic equation because it can change instantly, either by the hand of the photographer or the force of nature. Ultimately, the way that light interacts with a subject is the defining factor of the tone and mood of an image.
Working with light, and learning to control and manipulate it, is one of the fundamental keys to becoming a successful photographer. If you allow light to control your photography, you will forever be at its mercy and never truly grasp the art of photography.
Controlling light is the key to setting the tone of your images.
The way light interacts with a subject has an enormous effect on the way the camera records the image. The angle and direction from which the light is coming, as well as the color of the light source and the quality of the light, all play a part in the way the image appears. All of these things combined affect the mood, tone, and feeling of an image, so it’s important to grasp the basic tenets behind using light for photography. This section covers the two main types of lighting used by photographers and filmmakers today: Soft and hard light.