Lighting and Its Effects

Even if you are shooting the same subject, the lighting of your photographs greatly changes the impression they create. This is because the angle and intensity of light affect the exposure and how shadows are created. Let’s see how the combination of the angle of light and the position of the subject makes a difference.

The angle of light is broadly classified into the following three types.

  • 1. Front light
  • 2. Side light
  • 3. Back light

1. Front light

Front light illuminates the subject from the front (camera side).
Because the subject is directly exposed to the light, its colors and shapes are rendered clearly and precisely. This lighting is suitable for shooting landscapes, rendering a blue sky and trees vividly.

Shot with front light

2. Side light

Side light illuminates the subject from the side.
This lighting tends to cast clear shadows on the subject, creating strong contrast between light and dark. It is the most suitable for creating depth by adding shadows to the subject.

Shot with side light

3. Back light

Back light illuminates the subject from behind.
By shooting with back light, you can make a food photograph look delicious, or give a soft atmosphere to a portrait. On the other hand, because strong light enters the lens, the subject tends to be dark. If this happens, use exposure compensation to adjust the brightness of the subject the way that you want.

Shot with back light

By understanding the effects of lighting on how a subject is rendered, you will be able to shoot a photograph that looks the way you intend.
For example, when you shoot indoors on a sunny day, using the light coming in through the windows is effective. If you stand with your back against the window, you can shoot with front light. If you face the camera toward the window, you can shoot with back light. To shoot foods or flowers indoors, using back light is recommended.