Digital Photography Blog


5 Tips to Get the Best Lighting

Posted by Fujifilm Australia

nature-photographer-best-lighting.jpgPhotography is the science and art of harnessing light. So it’s no surprise that when a picture turns out poorly, deficient lighting is often to blame. The image might be overexposed or underexposed, or light might not meet the subject and fill the frame in storytelling ways.

For your work, find the right situations, or the right tools for non-ideal situations, to control light and convey your vision. There are tips to remember as you create the best lighting.

1. Harness your time, even if it’s not the “golden hour”

When using natural light, factor in the time of day because it affects not only light’s angle but also its hue. Many photographers work during “golden hour,” the time right after sunrise or before sunset. It’s when direct light is less intense and indirect light illuminates your frame. Blue light scatters, and the reddish sky sets a golden tint on your subjects.

But don’t just assume “golden hour” is always the time to shoot. Pictures, even portraits, taken in midday light can communicate stories with the contrast and shadows provided by overhead sun. Midday light can be great for action shots, as the brightness of the sky necessitates a fast shutter speed.

2. Diffuse harsh light with tools, conventional or not

If the picture doesn’t call for it, strong and direct light can ruin an image through excessive contrast, unflattering shadows and washed frames. Control the moment by manipulating your light source with diffusion panels and reflectors.

Place diffusion panels between your subject and your light source to soften any harshness. Set a reflector roughly opposite of your source so that light bounces back to your subject and fills the shot. (White reflectors are popular. But if you want a warmer fill, use a gold reflector. If you want a strobe-like fill, then try a silver reflector.)

3. Tinker with light falloff—move your subject or your source

The closer your light source is to your subject, the more that light diminishes in your background. This variance, falloff, can be adjusted as you move your subject and source to and from each other. Be proactive and experiment with these distances.

4. Appreciate your flash, but don’t over-rely on it

Flashes have great capabilities. Many Fujifilm cameras use standard hotshoes that work with a wide variety of triggers and speedlights, and Fujifilm’s own external flashes offer a number of features. The EF-X20, for instance, uses i Flash technology, which optimises the amount of light suitable in every shooting condition. Its built-in wide-angle panel works as a wireless slave unit. Whatever flash you use, avoid the default mentality that it alone has to light your scene. Think of your flash as a tool to complement other available light, to fill the frame and lessen shadows.

5. Think of new ways to optimise lighting

Be creative with your source of light and tools you use to nuance it. Take portraits from your garage, where you can modify daylight. See what you can do with your car’s headlights and a few reflectors or diffusion panels. It’s easy to wait complacently for the right time to shoot. But it’s a better adventure to chase great shots in unconventional conditions.

By being mindful of what’s available and what you’re able to construct, you’re able to find the best lighting possible in any moment.