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3 Types of Light for Great Photos and How to Shoot in Them

What are some types of light for great photos?!

 

When I first started my business, I used to be stuck in the mindset that in order to take good pictures, I had to have an epic background. Now, almost 10 years in, I know that when it comes to taking great pictures, lighting is EVERYTHING! No camera or lens will ever be able to improve your pictures if your lighting is not good!

 

So, if you’re feeling frustrated that your images don’t look the way you’d like them to, it’s probably because you haven’t been taking full advantage of the light around you.  Understanding how light affects your pictures is really important! Let’s talk about 3 different types of light: front light vs side light vs back light.

 

1. Backlight

 

Shooting backlit means that you’re positioning your clients with their backs towards the sun, while you are shooting into the light. This is how I prefer to shoot 99% of the time! I love shooting backlit because the sun creates a pretty glowy light around my clients’ hairline which is very flattering.

 

types of light for great photos

Settings: 85 mm, 1/200 sec at f/2, ISO 160
(Left photo unedited, right photo edited with the Bright & Clean Presets)

 

how to shoot in different types of light

 Settings: 50 mm, 1/400 sec at f/2, ISO 200

(Left photo unedited, right photo edited with the Bright & Clean Presets)

 

2. Side Light

 

Side light is light that hits the subject from one side. When using side light, one side of your subject will be lit, while the other side will be a lot darker. Side light helps convey emotion in pictures by giving them more depth and dimension.

 

Settings: 85 mm, 1/320 sec at f/2, ISO 100

(Left photo unedited, right photo edited with the Bright & Clean Presets)

 

 

side light in photography

Settings: 85 mm 1/400 sec at f/2, ISO 100

(Left photo unedited, right photo edited with the Bright & Clean Presets)

 

3. Front Light

 

Front light means that the sun is hitting your subject from the front. I only ever use front light in two situations: on overcast days, and when the sun has set below the horizon.

 

Overcast Days: If the sun is behind clouds and the light is diffused, you’ll want your clients to face and look into the direction of the sun in order to avoid dark circles under their eyes. This is completely the opposite of what you want to do on sunny days. 

 

types of light in photography

Settings: 85 mm, 1/800 sec at f/2, ISO 100

(Left photo unedited, right photo edited with the Bright & Clean Presets)

 

 

Sunset Light: After the sun sets, you have roughly 10 minutes to shoot in this type of light before it gets too dark.

 

types of light for great photos

Settings: 85 mm, 1/200 sec at f/2.8, ISO 250

(Left photo unedited, right photo edited with the Bright & Clean Presets)

 

 

And there you have it:  the 3 types of light for great photos and how to shoot in them! Which type of light do you like shooting in the most?

 

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