Topic: Lighting

Ambient Light

What Is Ambient Light and How Can It Be Used When Taking Photographs? Depending on the scene you are shooting ‘ambient light’ can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. The term ambient light refers to any natural sources of light illumination a scene i.e. any light that is not artificially created. The most obvious source of ambient light is the Sun, at sunrise and sunset it will bring a scene alive with warm tones punctuated by subtle shadows and soft detail, at high noon it will wash out your photographs with overwhelming highlights and deep impenetrable shadows. the correct timing and reading of available ambient light is key to capturing compelling lifelike photographs. Overcoming the problems that can be caused by ambient light requires extreme skill in exposure techniques, supplemental lighting and often post-processing. Also known as ‘Natural...

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Bounce Flash

What Is Bounce Flash? Bounce flash is light from a flash that has been bounced off another surface before it gets to the subject.  Most commonly, this refers to light that is bounced off a wall or ceiling from a hotshoe mounted flash, but it could be light from any kind of flash or strobe, bounced from any surface. On-camera flash, whether is is from a built-in flash or a hotshoe flash, is not great for photography.  It fills in the shadows on the same axis as the camera lens and this creates a flat looking image that can...

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Fill Flash

What Does Fill Flash Mean When Talking About Photography? In photography fill flash is light, produced by a flash unit which fills in a darker area of an image. Fill flash is not intended to overpower the main light, but bring out the detail lost in shadows. Fill flash is particularly useful in situations where the image subject is backlit by bright light, for example shooting a subject with the sun behind them. Without fill flash the dynamic range of such a scene would be to high to be captured in a single image, causing the subject detail to...

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Fill Light

What Is the Definition of Fill Light in Photography? Fill light is form of supplementary light mainly used to lighten shadows in an image. Fill light is often used in portrait photography to create a contrast between the image subject and image background giving the scene a sense of depth despite the final product being 2 dimensional. In this situation the use of fill light also reduces the overall dynamic range of the scene allowing for easier selection of the exposure settings required to capture an image. When fill light is correctly applied it does not significantly impact the main...

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Flash Exposure Compensation

What Is Flash Exposure Compensation When Talking About Photography? In photography flash exposure compensation is a feature that allows the photographer to add exposure compensation to output power of their flash units. Flash Exposure Compensation can be + (plus) or – (minus) in increments of 1/3 EV (exposure value). It is important to note that flash exposure compensation effects the flash output only, the cameras exposure settings remain unaffected. This allows a photographer to reduce dynamic range by brightening dark areas of an image without effecting the exposure or brighter areas. Flash exposure compensation can only be used in...

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Flash Output Compensation

What Is Flash Output Compensation When Talking About Photography? In photography some cameras offer flash output compensation. Like flash exposure compensation the setting allows you to manually override a flash’s output in situations where automatic or TTL flash metering is not providing the desired results. Flash output compensation is particularly useful in situations where more than one flash unit is being used because it allows the compensation value of each flash to be controlled independently. This allows an experienced photographer to control the lighting level of a scene in multiple directions simultaneously, removing, or moving areas of shadow as...

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Hair Light

What Is A Hair Light In Photography? A hair light is a lighting term that means the same thing as “rim light”.  Please see the rim light glossary terms for more details on why you might want to use a rim light/hair light and exactly what it does.   Additional Reading What Is A Rim Light? Your browser does not support iFrame. ...

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Hot Shoe Flash

What Is A Hot Shoe Flash? A hot shoe flash is a flash that can be triggered to fire with the camera’s shutter when it is inserted into a standard hotshoe on top of a camera.  The hotshoe from most camera manufacturers allows two-way communication between camera and flash for adjusting the power and the other settings on the flash.  A hot shoe flash does not have to be in a hot shoe for it to operate though, they can also be triggered by using radio slaves such as PocketWizards, which can be connected to external hot shoe cables.  These...

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Infra-Red

What Is Infra-Red and How Is It Used When Taking Photographs? The term ‘infra-red’ refers to a frequency of light invisible to the human eye. Infra-red gets it’s name from its position in the light spectrum, between the red edge of the visible spectrum at 700 nanometers and 1mm. Infra-red light can be used to control photographic equipment, a beam of infra-red light can for example be used to trigger an off camera flash unit. Infra-red light is also used in AF assist illuminates found on flash units; a grid of infra-red light is projected over a subject which helps...

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Kelvin

What Does the Term Kelvin Mean When Talking About Photography? When talking about photography the term ‘kelvin’ refers to the unit of measurement of color temperature. Every source of light emits light at a specific color temperature which can be measured in degrees kelvin or ‘K’. The color temperature of a light source varies from red to blue: Red or ‘warm’ colours are created at low color temperature values, for example a candle which is roughly 1500K. Blue or ‘cold’ colours are created at high color temperature values, for example a camera flash unit is roughly 5000K. Adjusting the...

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