Photography is all about light, or its absence, depending on how you are creating your image. The camera captures a narrow band of light, truncated at either ends by saturation (too bright for the camera to register more detail) and shadow (not enough light for the camera to register detail). The job of the photographer is to work within these bounds to create a visual effect. In this page we will explore some basic concepts and how the photographer can use them to their advantage.
The Basics of Light
The idea of light appears simple, but for the photographer light has different qualities: temperature, texture, and colour. In this section we briefly touch on these concepts so that you can better choose, and modify, the light you are using in your photoshoot.
As mentioned in the introduction, your camera is limited in how much light it can capture. Photographers talk about light range in "stops" with the average camera able to perceive no more than 5 stops of optical range, compared with the human eye can can handle a 12-stop range.
Each source of light can be consider to come from one of three broad directions: front, side, and back.
Front Lighting: Front lighting, by itself, will produce the most flat effects. In order to see textures, we need shadows to show us surface contours. Flat light, from the perspective of the camera, produces no shadows so all textures are masked. All that we see are variations in the way the surface reflects light.
Side lighting: Side lighting is the most common approach to producing images with texture.
Back Lighting: Back lighting is most often used for silhouette images, either by rendering the front entirely in shadow or producing a "halo" of light on the edge of the subject.
The following are some online resources used in the creation of this guide.
Studio lighting: 4 seriously simple lighting techniques to try at home - http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2012/08/29/studio-lighting-4-seriously-simple-lighting-techniques-to-try-at-home/
Digital Photo Pro Lighting Tips - http://www.digitalphotopro.com/gear/lighting.html
Photo Composition - http://photoinf.com/
6 Portrait Lighting Patterns Every Photographer should Know - http://digital-photography-school.com/6-portrait-lighting-patterns-every-photographer-should-know
6 Simple Lighting Setups - http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2013/04/03/6-simple-lighting-setups-for-shooting-portraits-at-home-free-photography-cheat-sheet/
Studio Lighting Setups Made Easy - http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2013/02/19/studio-lighting-setups-made-easy-a-simple-arrangement-for-maximum-results/