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How did you learn light?

Addisonjones
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Good lighting can make or break a photo.

I was interested how the professional photographers learned their lighting and what they would suggest to others?

I broke everything down to make myself learn with consistency before adding in variables. Personally, I learned by shooting products. Having something consistent to shoot made me explore and learn how lighting worked and how it formed shapes without adding in movement/emotions yet. 

Once I understood that- then I went in and added how that worked with people.

IMG_8222.jpg

My newest painting and lighting technique 😉

People learning lighting- what are your set backs? What is making you feel stuck?

Professionals: What did you do to learn it? How did you break it down?

10 REPLIES 10

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

Practice, practice, practice.

Three main aspects for me that I wanted to master:

  1. Inverse Square Law
  2. The larger the light source in relation to your subject, the softer the shadows (harder the shadows for the opposite)
  3. Angle of incidence is the angle of reflection

In a nutshell, physics.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

Did you have those 3 aspects in your mind at all time? or did you master them separately?

Did you do it in studio or out on the streets?

Actually, prob in the order I had them listed.  Inverse square law though along with the relative size was pretty much mentioned in any book or presentation I had watched early on.  I was reminded of the third when capturing portraits of my nieces; one of them wore glasses.

The vast majority of experiments were done in my small home studio over the years.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

When I first started on the road, I could not afford camera equipment - in NZ in 1980 it was heavily dutied and taxed and I was saving up for a trip round the world.  So, for a year, I studied books on photography: my 'bible' being The 35mm Photographer's Handbook' by John Hedgecoe.  Like all such books it discussed the principles and applications of light, controls and application at length.
When I got my gear (duty and tax free) as I left NZ, I began practising - initially with Kodachrome, but once I had got a bit better I moved to Ektachrome transparency film.
Among the many, many advantages the modern digital photographer has is the ability to see the result of their settings and composition in real time, so one can shoot, assess and re-shoot - and a no cost.  That's huge.

These days, I teach a four-hour course on this subject alone and I break it down into two areas:
* Understanding the nature of reflectance, the principles of exposure values (stops) and how that range differs between what we see and what a camera sensor is capable of measuring.  How camera sensors sense exposure and the challenges of metering: either where there is a great DR, or where they will be fooled by very dark or very bright subjects.
* How the the 'holy trinity' of controls allow us to control the light recorded but how each impacts the resultant image in a very different way - which is the main body of the class.
Then, as Ricky says, the rest is to practise, practise, practise...


cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

You are so well spoken and break things down incredibly. I am sure your course is incredible! Is there a link anywhere? 

We are so lucky to have the digital world to be able to see exactly what we are doing, immediately.

Ha, I am such a painter and very broad brush and you are analytical. I love seeing how both brains work in photography.

Thank you for your kind words Addison and I appreciate your insight.  Nope, I don't publish my professional work as a photographer on the web, including courseware, just my personal stuff to support something I might be saying or to share for fun.


cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

Besides the best advice, practice, practice, practice is don’t over think it. Simple is king!

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Addisonjones
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I love under your name it says Legend! hahaha I need that 😉

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

😀 the big problem I have seen as I also taught DSLR 101 classes is new folks tend to over think the situation. When they are bombarded with lots of new often confusing material that’s why I always tried to keep it simple.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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