If you want to improve your shooting skills, you must pay attention to the expression of the photo, let the photo tell stories, increase visibility and artistic style. I will introduce one of the very important topics of “Eye of Photography”: how to use light to enhance the artistic atmosphere of photos!


Choice of Light

When you take a photo, you shoot the light and shadow. If the lighting is beautiful has a great impact on the look and feel of the photo. Beginners who want to improve their photography skills must be more sensitive to these elements. The article will provide tips on how to find light, and you may discover more of these scenes in daily life!

(1) Smooth Lights, Make Scenery Clearer

When taking landscape photos, if you want to record the environment or building clearly and brightly, it is best to take it in light. The forward light is if the sun shines at 45 degrees in the front so that the subject is fully exposed to light. At this time, the shadow is not obvious, and the details are clear. It is suitable for recording photos. The disadvantage is the lack of shadow contrast, which weakens the impact of the photo.

Shunguang makes the details of the subject appear.

Shunguang makes the details of the subject appear.
Nikon D810 ・ f/8 ・ 1/60s ・ ISO64

(2) Backlighting, Shooting “Feeling”

Backlighting is a very useful light that allows you to take photos of silhouettes and subject matter. When shooting silhouettes, remember to use background metering and focus on the subject to make the outlines clear. To learn silhouette shooting techniques, please refer to this article.


The backlight can shoot beautiful silhouette effect.
Nikon D810 ・ f / 4 ・ 1 / 60s ・ ISO1600


In addition to taking underexposed silhouette photos of the subject, we can also make the subject normally exposed and the background is overexposed in the backlight. At this time, it is very suitable for shooting portraits or warm tones.

Backlighting for warm colors.  Nikon D700 ・ f / 5.6 ・ 1 / 100s ・ ISO200

Backlighting for warm colors.
Nikon D700 ・ f/5.6 ・ 1/100s ・ ISO200

(3) Side-light Shadow Contrast

If you want to increase the impact of your photos, take advantage of the side-light. The shadow of the object will be prominent, making the photo three-dimensional. If you increase the contrast of the photo, you can bring a stronger effect.

Sidelights accentuate shadows, making photos more contrasty and more impactful.  Nikon D700 ・ f / 5.6 ・ 1 / 60s ・ ISO400

Sidelights accentuate shadows, making photos have more contrast and more impactful.
Nikon D700 ・ f/5.6 ・ 1/60s ・ ISO400

(4) Shadow is a Good Subject

Where there is light, there is shadow. Shadow can not only set off the subject, but it can also be the subject. You may want to pay more attention to the shadows on the ground, the ceiling, or inconspicuous locations, and take pictures of its beautiful silhouettes with light and dark contrast!


Author: Alex Tam