Lighting for Photography
Coping with light, sunlight, overcast days, flash, fill in flash, studio lights, the Inverse Square Law.
Although I have divided the subject up into different categories, the lighting you 'find' and the lighting you create for yourself, it is really the same thing.
You need to manipulate the scene to create the effect you want, this might mean moving a light on a stand or moving your subject relative to the sun, or waiting for a better time of day to get the effect you want.
I suppose the term available light covers any source that we didn't actually bring with us. However, in photography we usually mean sunlight. We can't do much about the sunlight we find but there are plenty of choices we can make to get the best out of it. We can choose the time of day we take pictures, the direction of the light (by moving ourselves or our subject) and the color of the light. All these choices will effect the quality and general feel of the photograph. This page on available light will give you some ideas.
In the studio we can have full control of the lights we can move them where we want, make the light soft or harsh, change the color (as in my dramatic protrait above), the possibilities are literally endless. My studio lighting tutorial will give you some tips and guidelines to get you started.
Once you realise that the flash gun built into your camera is of very limited use and you splash out for a good separate flashgun (see choosing a flashgun), you can use lots of tricks to make your indoor or night shots more interesting. See my flash tutorial to learn about bouncing the light and other useful tricks.
Here's a full list of tutorials in this section:-
Getting the best out of the sun.
Filling in the shadows.
Break away from the in-camera flash.
Soften those shadows.
A quick remedy in Photoshop.
An introduction to indoor lighting.
A bit of Physics for those who feel the need.
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Learn Photography with Geoff Lawrence