Light plays a huge part in photography. We’ve all heard of the ‘golden time’ to shoot outdoors, and used light diffusers and flash indoors. But what if there is more you can do with light? Here are four unusual ways of using light in your photography:
Stark – We will start out with the simplest idea first. Taking photos at noon. Yes, that’s right, not during the golden time at all, but during the brightest, hottest part of the day. The thing that is really cool about that is the shadows and starkness. Shadows give depth to your photography, and the harsh light can reveal details that would otherwise be lost.
Rays – Capturing rays of light can be pretty spectacular. Sometimes this happens naturally during the day, like when the sun breaks through the clouds. But most of the coolest light ray photos are taken at night. Forget the flash, and let the light be your focus. Light in the darkness; is there a better metaphor than that? Usually the only way to obtain something like this is a narrow aperture (high f/stop) and a very slow shutter speed.
Silhouettes–Light can also be used to highlight darkness. Having a bright light behind a figure you are taking a photo of is a great way to get a silhouette. It is important to take your camera light reading off of the background light instead of the subject of the photo in order for the camera to adjust for an exposure based on the backlight. If you do this the subject of your photo will be successfully underexposed, creating the silhouette you desire.
Painting – Painting with light is the coolest trick ever! I have seen the best pictures come out of this. You can use a flashlight, a laser pointer, a glow stick or really anything that gives off light. You will need four things: A camera capable of long exposures. A digital camera is best so that you can see your work in real time. A nice tripod. This will take a while and you don’t want your camera moving. A light source. You need something to paint with, right? A dark location. You don’t want any other light sources around except the ones you create yourself. This is really hard outside, so make sure a car won’t go by and mess up your shot. Once you get your scene set up, start painting! You need to keep the light moving to avoid burning and the slower you move it, the more light you will throw onto the subject. Experiment and see what works for you. You can even write words in the air, known as light graffiti.