Photographer Lindsay Adler recently took to creativeLive to explain some of the most basic principles of light. She covers intensity, direction and quality–which are the three biggest factors that photographers use when describing light. She covers ratios, flat lighting, directional quality, and soft vs hard light. She also explains why one is not the other.
So how do you apply this knowledge, by internalizing what she says, you can then figure out what type of look you want for a photo. To help you out even more, we’ve provided examples after the jump along with explanations and Adler’s video.
Sufficient and bright light. When using a manual flash, your aperture controls how much of the flash output effects the scene. If we shot at a lower ISO or stopped the lens down a bit more, then this image would be much darker.
Flat light, lower and less shadows. Main light was in front and to the side a bit but there was bounce and fill from the other side. Model: Erica Lourde
Directional light. Notice the harder shadows. To create this light, we shot with the light source camera left and a bit in front.
Hard Light, notice th deeper shadows.. Hard light comes from a light source that is generally smaller in relation to the subject
Soft light. Notice the shadows and how light they are. Soft light comes from a light source that is generally larger in relation to the subject.