Let’s start off this week breaking down the word,
photography. ‘Photo-’ traces back to the Greek origin but more importantly for
our use, it translates to ‘light.’ ‘-Graphy’ loosely translates to a form or a process.
Putting them together you get, the process of recording images on sensitized surfaces
by the chemical action of light (so says dictionary.com). For our purposes, you
use light to capture images, whether it is natural or artificial light.
If you take a picture in a dark room, you’re not going to
get anything back no matter how good your camera and lenses are. Besides your
subject, lighting is the most important thing. It can depict the overall feel
of the image and set the mood. There is a plethora of different equipment that
can be used for this. Using the sun is definitely the most inexpensive and
gives a fantastic, natural quality but it also can be very unreliable. It moves
15 degrees an hour, clouds come in, and it even hangs out on the other side of
the world for a good part of the day as well. At sunrise and sunset you will
find the best time to take photographs with great shadows since the light is
coming at you at an angle. At noon,
the sun is highest in the sky producing almost no shadows. There are so many
avenues you can take using natural light because it’s constantly changing. Rain
isn’t always a bad thing, and a clear, bright and sunny day could be your worst
When it comes to using artificial light, the basic tool is
your built-in flash. It can flash as slow as 1/60 of a second, so if shooting in
the manual setting, you should try to keep your aperture setting at f/60 or
higher. (On a similar note, if you need to shoot below f/60, you should use a
tripod since as a human you can’t quite stay steady for that long. Your photo
would turn out blurry). The range your flash will reach is dependant on your
ISO. The more you increase your ISO, the further the light will reach. If you
take a glance through the manual the camera/lens came with, it should be able
to give you a graph on how far the flash will reach based on your ISO and lens.
If you have light coming in from behind, we call that ‘backlight.’
It can provide for some great silhouettes, but if you want to have full detail
of the subject, the flash works wonderfully to fill in those shadows. This is
called ‘Full Flash.’
For more advance projects, you can use a flash that mounts
onto the camera. These flashes can allow you more freedom to play with the
light as you can adjust the settings to match those of the camera, or experiment
on other settings. You can intensify the flash, weaken the flash, use a sync
cord (a cord that connects your flash to the camera) and have the flash coming
from the angle of your choice.
Even more advance project, there are strobes, which is
another outside light source. You can be as simple as using a standard lamp or
go as high tech 1600w light unit which can sync to you camera, have the white umbrellas attached to reflect and control where the light is going and so forth.