Pro Tip: Light In Photography As "The Subject"

in blog •  2 months ago  (edited)

Light as a subject in photography is not an obvious concept for some people when first diving into photography from an artistic perspective.

I have stated in previous post that a photographer must commit to a particular style of photography thus sacrificing other aspects or elements of capturing an image in order to best tell the story of a moment at hand.

Photography is a dynamic and perspective based art form with respect to what an artist is trying to capture and what an artist would like to show in a final composition of an image that's being presented.

For example, if I am going to be trying to execute an image of a silhouette of a tree, i'm not going to be able to capture elements of HDR. If I am trying to shoot a panoramic image I won't necessarily be able to take a macro photo at the same time. This is a simple concept to understand, however there are limitations to different styles of photography and those limitations overlap and crossover so to speak when it comes down to concept art pushing the limitations of expectations.


Capturing proper lighting at the right moment can either be done creatively speaking in a closed photo shoot or getting a dynamic grab can technically be done through being in the right place at the right time.

Note: Being in the right place at the right time is one way of capturing dynamic light in an image in my experience, however it becomes difficult to capture high-quality images if you're not in the right place at the right time as they say. That's when knowing how to manage creative lighting really pays off.

In some instances being in the right place at the right time is not an option and having to orchestrate and balance a vibrant lighting concept can be overwhelming and a lot to think about during a photo shoot.



For some photographers and lighting technicians creating dynamic light concepts for a specific reason to capture an image is second nature especially for shooting things like stock photography as well as capturing a quick snap of something basic like a plate of food at a restaurant or shadows cast by a sunset during the golden hour. Using ambient light as it applies to all aspects of street photography also plays a major role in better understanding light as a subject in photography that over all help to improve and faster recognizing special moments with dynamic lighting and how that given moment applies to capturing a stunning image.


When setting out to capture dynamic lighting, having a good solid tripod is kind of fundamental and if you can get your hands on some kind of a remote or a wireless trigger that would be ideal. In the interest of minimizing vibrations on the camera as well as tripod during shooting long exposure photography, having a wireless trigger is pretty snazzy.

The interesting thing about "lighting as the subject" in photography is that the photography itself is not always something that has to be over-the-top and can sometimes be simple objects or the side of a building during a certain time of day. The point is how lighting plays a part of an image to create the final product, is the key in understanding that the subject itself is not just the building or the person or the car or whatever object may be captured in a given image is only as interesting as the light concept accompanying the subject in a photo.





If you cannot get or borrow a tripod or a fancy wireless trigger from a friend or rent one at a store you can always use the timer on your camera to capture dynamic light and if that's too complicated to figure out, no worries! I sometimes lean against the wall when shooting long exposures stuff or set the camera on a table in the interest of trying to get a stable shot when a photo shoot allows that kind of situation, otherwise it can get pretty tricky to capture creative lighting unless there is a strong source of light for capturing a given image.


My pro tip of the day as an award-winning photographer, is simply to understand what technique you are trying to capture and to exercise that technique to the maximum ability of the equipment you're using if you're lucky enough to have decent gear.

Various photographic techniques can include styles such as

Panoramic images
Black and white
Portrait photography
Sports photography
Nightlife photography
Event photography
Street photography
Capturing silhouettes
HDR imaging
Architectural photography
Landscape photography


Understanding a camera's maximum ISO setting without getting static on your image or how to drag a camera shutter if you use a flash, practicing different versions of HDR blends to test out different filters and most importantly constantly working on shooting without a flash as often as possible to try to maximize the camera's ability to capture dynamic light in low light settings is ultimately the Holy Grail of concepts when it comes too being able to capture amazing images every single time and portray light as the subject. Capturing dynamic light using a flash is not impossible it is just much more difficult to do and very distracting to a live performer or during intimate events as well as frowned upon. That's when the big dollar high ISO image sensor's on the pro body cameras really shine and bring a true value to a photographer.


That being said there's no excuse not to get out there and experiment a little bit to come up with some creative shots of your own.

By all means if you have any creative photography with light as the subject please share your image below I would love to see the photos or if you know of another photographer who has really creative stuff I would love to check it out.

Thank you for taking a second to read this post and for leaving a comment below.

Written by Jazmin Million


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