Working with light

I know it is probably a banal cliché, but light is the main tool of the photographer. Not the camera, light.

This is the reason why photos taken a hundred years ago with what can only be seen as primitive technology today are much better and much more effective than photos taken with the latest and most expensive camera models.

A photographer who can tell the difference between the various light conditions, to see a scene the way a camera would, assess whether the light is suitable for a certain scene or not, will achieve better results, regardless of the technology they use.

Types of light

Light beams can be directed and concentrated or dispersed and diffused. This determines three main types of light depending on the level of light diffusion – contrasting/hard, semi-soft and soft light. The way our photos will look largely depends also on the position of the light source. Depending on its position we differentiate between top, bottom, side, front and back (or contre-jour) lighting. Of course, this is only a tentative distinction, because these categories merge one into the other and there are a lot of mixed and intermediate types of lighting in addition to the main ones.

You can find more information about the different types of lighting in the following chapters:

When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.
Annie Leibovitz