Chapter 6: Working with Light

Light is the essence of photography. The word photography means light writing (it's derived from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (writing)). You need light to create an image. The quality and quantity of light dictate many aspects of your images and has an impact on the tone of the image and even the image quality in some cases.

Light is the most variable equation in the art of photography 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.

Lighting Essentials

As mentioned previously, the way light interacts with your subjects has a tremendous effect on the way the camera records the image. The angle and direction from which the light comes, as well as the color of the light source and the quality of the light, all work together to play a part in the way the image materializes on the sensor. 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.

The quality of light

Photographers ...

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