How To Use Pen Lights In Photography

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Exercise y’all desire to take photos like a pro? You tin can — and you won’t need an expensive photographic camera to do it. The secret is in the lite. Larn how to utilize dissimilar kinds of low-cal — back lighting, side lighting, diffused lighting and artificial lighting — and no one volition exist able to tell if you are using an expensive Nikon or your everyday jail cell phone.

  1. 1

    Detect the light source.
    Look around y’all and find where the light is coming from. Light can come up from nigh anywhere — above you, backside you, around you. Where the lite is coming from will brand a divergence in how your field of study looks. For case, light coming from above your subject might cause sharp shadows, while lite coming from in front of your subject can flatten the image.[1]

    • Motility around your subject and note how irresolute the direction of the low-cal changes the epitome. Move your subject to an area where the direction of the lite creates the look you lot want. Certain lights volition flatter your subjects, while others can create drama.
  2. two

    Annotation the colour of the low-cal.
    Light tin can be vivid, soft, harsh or depression. Information technology can take on a variety of colors depending on its source. Some lights are cool while others are warm. The quality of the low-cal volition touch how your subject looks, and can cause pictures to be too harsh, too soft, too dark, or just correct.[2]


  3. 3

    Look for details.
    Your eyes meet more details than a camera can pick up. This is why your photos often don’t friction match what y’all meet. But being enlightened of the exposure, which is the overall brightness or darkness of a scene, will help you capture the details you want to include.[3]

    • If you are using a camera that has an exposure setting, a neutral or normal exposure will create the most natural-looking image.[4]
  4. 4

    Look for contrasts.
    The direction of the light creates highlights and shadows. Highlights are the brightest part of an paradigm. Conversely, a shadow is the darkest function of an image. The contrast between shadows and highlights is what makes an image interesting. Knowing how changing your light will change the contrast is the difference between taking a sub-par photo and taking one that your friends will rave about.[5]

    • Side-lit photos will take a lot of dissimilarity. Forepart-lit photos volition typically take very little contrast. Images shot on a cloudy day usually are also low in contrast, while images shot in the bright sun are mostly loftier in dissimilarity.[6]


  1. i

    Use forepart lighting for the near certain results.
    Positioning your subjects and then the light shines them straight on is the most common style to work with calorie-free. Changing the brightness of the light, nevertheless, can turn this common ready-up into uncommon photos. Soft front lighting, for example, can exist very flattering. Vivid front end lighting, such equally a flash, can exist too harsh.[7]

    • Flash is the near mutual form of front lighting. Most built-in flashes are set up to flash automatically in low calorie-free. For more command, you can disable this characteristic and use the wink simply when yous want to. Sometimes, you’ll desire to use it to fill in shadows when the light is bright. Other times, you might want the image to remain in shadows for a special effect, so y’all would not desire your camera to use a flash at all.
    • Camera flashes sometimes cause “red eye.” The best manner to prevent this is to have your subject looking abroad from the photographic camera. You tin often remove red eye from existing photos with free photo-editing software available online.
  2. ii

    Use back lighting to create dramatic photos.
    Dorsum-lit photos are so interesting because they are the opposite of a standard photo. In a back-lit photo, the groundwork is illuminated while the foreground is in the dark. A solar eclipse is a good example of a back-lit photo. These tin exist tricky, but experimenting with unlike lights and different camera settings will help you lot learn to achieve the outcome y’all want.[8]

    • Silhouettes are the prime number example of back-lit photos. You can create a simple one by putting the calorie-free directly backside your subject. When you shoot from the front, the discipline will remain dark.[9]
  3. 3

    Utilize side lighting for stand up-out portraits.
    To produce an eye-catching effect on your photos, employ lighting from the side, which will put role of your field of study in light and part in shadow. It is great for showing depth in landscape photography, besides as portraits.[10]

    • Side lighting will create depth, but you lot need to exist conscientious not to get overboard. Too much contrast tin be unflattering. Many professional photographers use a reflector or a flash to make full in the shadows and reduce the sharp edges.[eleven]
    • I of the virtually popular poses for portraits is to position your bailiwick in front of a window, with ane shoulder facing the camera. Unlike effects tin exist achieved by having your subjects modify the direction of their heads. For one photograph, ask them to look out the window. For another, accept them look at you.
  4. 4

    Use diffused lighting for natural pictures.
    Diffused lighting is a soft light that can be produced by the sun shining through clouds, by the shade of trees or by light bouncing off a wall or ceiling. This soft calorie-free produces a pleasing prototype that captures the natural colors and details of the bailiwick.[12]


  1. one

    Have photos during the Gilded 60 minutes.
    The Golden Hour is the hour around sunrise and sunset, where the lord’s day is nearly the horizon, and the light is softer. This soft light is perfect for nearly whatever type of photo.[13]

  2. 2

    Have photos on clouded or cloudy days.
    The weather and fourth dimension of day have a major effect on the type of light you will be shooting in. It might seem counterintuitive, but overcast is skillful. Clouds will diffuse the light, making shadows lighter or not-real. The shadows cast by large buildings and trees tin also create the same type of diffused light found on clouded days.[fourteen]

    • Many photographers think that overhead lord’s day is the best light because everything is so brilliant. Unfortunately, this is often the worst fourth dimension to accept pictures. Colors will exist washed out. If you are taking photos of people, shadows will be too dark under facial features. In addition, y’all are likely to run across squinting eyes looking back at y’all through your viewfinder.[xv]
  3. 3

    Be aware of light colour.
    During the Aureate Hour, the sunlight casts off ruby-red and yellow rays. This is a great light for warm and appealing photos. If yous are taking pictures of people, they will particularly like this light because warm colors flatter the peel. These colors will besides make scenes appear more cheerful.[16]

    • Blue hours consist of the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset, when the lord’s day is only below the horizon. This early and belatedly indirect light results in a light with a cool blue bandage. Information technology can create photos with a more somber mood.[17]


Add together New Question

  • Question

    How do you accept pictures in brilliant sunlight?

    Adam Kealing

    Adam Kealing is a Professional Lensman based in Austin, Texas. He specializes in full general wedding, destination wedding, and engagement photoshoots. Adam has over 11 years of photography experience. His work has been featured in Light-green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty, One time Midweek, and Snippet Ink. His work has won numerous awards with Fearless Photographers and Masters of Wedding Photography.

    Adam Kealing

    Professional Photographer

    Expert Answer

    If you lot’re taking photos exterior when information technology’due south very bright out, have your field of study stand in the shade, like nether a tree or next to a edifice. Shaded light will turn out much better than direct sunlight.

  • Question

    What is the colour performance for the movie nether sunlight, flashlight, element of group vii lamp and fluorescent lamp?

    Cesar Grossmann

    Cesar Grossmann

    Customs Reply

    Sunlight and flashlight reproduce all colors. Fluorescent lamps depend on the lamp. If you apply a lamp for photography, it has a higher CRI (Colour Rendering Index) and all colors are reproduced.

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  • Make a habit of noticing the low-cal around you and the conditions that are causing information technology. Shortly assessing low-cal volition become 2d nature.

  • Sometimes, the all-time thing to know virtually lighting is when to non have a picture show. Sometimes, the available light is just non going to work for y’all.

  • Nothing beats practise and experimenting. Employ your camera or phone in a diversity of situations and lights to learn what works all-time for y’all.


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Article Summary

To apply lite in photography, start by figuring out where the low-cal should come from to give you lot your best shot. For example, lighting from the forepart will give you a reliably brilliant shot, only lighting from the side tin create flattering depth in a portrait. And then, decide what blazon of light volition heighten your picture. You can make almost any photo look good past shooting during the Gold Hour, around sunrise or dusk. Alternatively, try shooting on cloudy or overcast days when the light is more than diffused to eliminate unwanted shadows in your pictures.
For tips on how to use light to create dramatic contrasts in your photos, go along reading!

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