The Importance of Light to a Perfect Photograph

November 22, 2013

Illumination and light are the single most important factors to consider in photography. Photography is all about capturing and recording the light. When taking photos, it is important to be at the right place at the right time, especially when dealing with sunrises and sunsets. Here, light changes in a matter of minutes and so setting up for a shot should be done prior to the perfect time for taking the shot. The photographer has the power to control the amount of light for the picture using the camera, but the scene has to be perfect in order to produce the perfect picture. They say that the camera never lies. Well, this is not one hundred percent true; it may tell a truth, but not the entire truth. Sometimes, the scene looks a lot brighter than what the camera captures. For example, in a partially lit room, the camera might capture a darker image than was initially there. Light is therefore the most important element in photography because without it, there is only darkness and no beauty. In order to come up with a good picture, the lighting must be right. This is the only way that the story of the photo will be told. The intensity, softness, hardness and temperature of light come into pay when telling the story of the photo. Light brings out the intended emotion of the photo whether romantic or horrifying just to mention two. For example, soft and warm light depict romance while dimmer light brings out the dark side of a horrifying shot. Morning light is softer than midday sunlight and the pictures captured in these different times at the same scene have vast differences mainly because of the contrast, shadows and light intensity. Light in a photograph is not about exposure of the image or object being captured. It is primarily about the mood and feeling brought out as a result of its capture. Once the photographer understands light, then he or she can create any mood he or she pleases. Same object under different lighting brings different moods and feelings. Therefore, the reason light has to be controlled is to control the emotion of the photo and so emotions can be manipulated by regulating the light to the amount related to a certain feeling. Shadows in pictures obscure as well as mute colors and so minding the position of the source of light enables the photographer in a variety of ways. Without light, all these objects and images are pitch black. Light is important in a photo, but the intensity is the most important of the elements of light in a perfect photograph. For instance, when the sun or source of light is directly behind the photographer, then the picture looks more like a 2D image, like a cut out. However, if the sun is just behind the photographer but just above the shoulder, then the light illuminated is well saturated for a perfect picture. The resulting light is well saturated depending on the landscape or image to be captured. Conclusively, light is the most important element of photography. Without it, the world has no beauty, no emotion, no feeling.