Do Artificial Lights Give Photographers More Flexibility?

Hey, this is Mehmood again from Camlense. Today I will be talking about light, not that light, artificial lights for photography. Most of the people are asking about the important of artificial lighting in studio. Therefore, I decided to compile a complete review about lighting for studio.

Do Artificial Lights Give Photographers More Flexibility?

In short, yes artificial lights give more flexibility to photographers as they can adjust shadows, contrast, and brightness to fit their preference. Photographers can use backlighting as a continuous lighting source to eliminate shadows.

Artificial Lights Create Soft Light

Hard Light vs Soft Light

Hard light is the harshest light. With the hard light you see very harsh transition from highlights to shadows. The shadows are much deeper, and highlights are super bright that gleam. It’s those specular highlights that will make the face look kind of oily and gross and everybody gets them, especially when you use hard light.

Soft light has smooth transition from highlights to shadows and the deepness of shadows isn’t that deep. They are almost as bright as the highlights. Soft light has very smooth gradual transition and nice mid tones and the difference between shadows and highlights isn’t usually as much.

Artificial Lighting for Portraits

For portraits, it is obvious that soft light is best which is created by artificial setup. It looks great but if you’re trying to show the texture or something, the hard is often better. In fact, for things like birds and wildlife, I really like hard light.

Understanding the difference between soft light and hard light, shadows and highlights, you can master artificial lighting and make the best photos of your career.

Artificial Lighting Setup

Following are few devices used to create artificial setup.

Light Diffuser

In the picture above, you can understand the work of diffuser. The left picture is without a diffuser and the right one is with a diffuser. You can see how the shadows on the nose changes and that’s the difference between hard light and soft light.

Light Reflector

As the name describes, the reflector reflects light. You can place the reflector on the opposite side of the light source. The reflector will reflect the light back eliminating shadows. In the picture you can see with the reflector having equal highlights on both sides. The same lighting setup is use above creating shadows on the other side.

The reflector bounces all the light back and fills the shadows. It’s like a hard light and you can see the line of shadows which is hard but there is more light in the shadows. Simply, it’s a hard light source with a fill

Using Diffuser and Reflector Together

You can see the picture below where diffuser and reflector are used at the same time. You can see the very even when using the diffuser. With the diffuser light gets softer and with the reflector, the light balances the shadows on the other side of the light source.

How to Master Artificial Lighting

To master lighting, you need to practice all the time. Whether you are out on indoor, I want you to be studying the light. If you’re outdoor on a complete sunny day, you will have one main light, the Sun but the shadows on the face will not be pitched black. It is because the things around us work like natural reflectors.

In simple words, there is no way I can make you a master of light. You have to be aware of it and then start absorbing it as you go from place to place. When you are indoor, I want you to look at the lighting in the room and see how many different light sources are there. Also, how they are affecting the shadows on people’s faces or objects around you. Notice those shadows and which lighting source are filling those shadows.

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