Understanding How To Read Light

Learn Photography Lighting, learning photography lighting, photography lighting basics, digital photography lighting tips, photography lighting tipsIn order to understand how to get the best results in your photography it is imperative that you understand the basics of how to read light and interpret exposure. Learning how to read light is one of the most primary aspects of digital photography, creatively and technically. Once you start to understand light you will then be able to create ideal exposure. This process of creative development is about really grasping how the camera’s ISO, exposure and shutter speed work more in depth, which we will talk about later on.

Understanding more technical aspects to enhance the creative process involves becoming familiar with professional terms and meanings, and being comfortable with them. It’s impossible to help you understand more advanced levels of digital photography without teaching you the equipment. The first place to begin when understanding how to read light is learning about Dynamic Range and Light Range.

Light Range

A light range is an easy thing to remember. It’s as simple as it sounds; it is a range of light. In that range are ‘values’. Values are segments or ‘parts’ of light within a range. And digital cameras record a certain range of light values.

Think of a 1 meter ruler. That ruler (your range) has lots of bits of smaller measurements called centimetres (values). The range you are working with has a lot of values that make up that range. In other words, the ruler which is 1 meter is made up of 100 centimetres. Your ruler is the range of light and the centimetres are the values of light.

On your traditional (film) camera, you can take a photo at a few f stops, for example f2.8 to f 22. That’s a light range. Usually modern digital cameras can get around 5 f stops that make up their light range. Your digital camera is only able to record a limited range of light values (lets say 70 centimetres instead of 100 centimetres to use the visual example of the ruler).

The downside to this is that the subjects we shoot with lots of light and with high contrasting subjects require more of a light range (more f stops) than what is on the digital camera’s ability. More f stops mean more flexibility in your shooting and exposure.

If you want to take stunning photos with bold colour, super sharp focus and detail, clarity and depth then You’ll need to master your lighting. Take a look at Digital Photography Success. This e-book package includes excellent step-by-step instructions on how to master the lighting for beautiful landscapes, portraits, macro, flowers, weddings, fireworks, night scenes, etc. It explains, in simple English, how to master the shutter speed, aperture and how to easily over-come common exposure problems such as capturing fast action shots indoors without blur. Learn how to shoot professional photos – just like those you see in glossy magazine covers.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (6)

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  1. The popularity of digital cameras may have enjoyed amazing increase but film has still an important part to play in photography and will continue to be important for some time, a few years at the least. Film has many advantages that photographers continue to recognize. Major players in the production of film like Kodak is still putting into it millions though experts all agree that digital film will reign supreme in the near future.
    These are the reasons though why some photographers prefer film over digital:

    1) Facilities and Investment

    Ordinary people, not only photographers, have invested considerably in photographic equipments that use film. Cameras and lenses still have capabilities that digital photography cannot match. Compared with a high-end professional 35mm camera, a digital camera still lacks facilities that only the traditional camera can provide. A photographer who decides to switch to digital may find himself spending big especially if his lenses, flashes and other accessories are not compatible with a new digital system.

    2) Wide Angle

    The absence of extreme wide-angle lenses and a slow start-up time are two of the most disadvantages of even the best digital cameras. 35mm cameras modifies to digital bodies usually employ a CCD image sensor that is smaller, usually around 245mm x 16mm) as opposed to the 36mm x 24mm x 35mm film that results to a narrow angle. Photographers who are fans of wide angles may find the traditional 35mm more of their liking.

    3) Action

    Film cameras also offer an advantage during fast-changing and unpredictable photography scenarios. Unlike digital camera that uses batteries than can ran out in the most unexpected time, a 35mm camera can be easily switched on and ready for use whenever you need take a shot. Moreover, digital cameras usually take several seconds before you can use it which obviously is a disadvantage for photographers who wants to capture actions which cant be repeated anymore.

    4) Tough Conditions

    Film cameras are also sturdier equipments than their digital counterparts and can withstand harsh conditions that photography may demand in the line of work. Count on film to be more reliable than digital especially when your are working in a not-so-good weather conditions.

    5) Comparing Costs

    When it comes to cost, film and digital advantages and disadvantages vary considerably depending on the usage. A photographer with a film budget amounting to thousands of dollars in one year may find digital camera more practical. But if you are not a busy photographer, your income may not defray the cost of going digital.

  2. Bob Johnson says:

    A great piece – thank you so much for posting it. I would definitely recommend thet every one else should have a look at it.

  3. Blake Johnson says:

    This is cool, I will never look at a photo the same way. I love learning how light works.

  4. lecile2011 says:

    The tips here can change my photography career making it better.
    Keep adding pages, i enjoy reading your articles.

  5. Jake says:

    Amy thanks for some great tips. I absolutely love your ezine and find it’s making me a better photographer.

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