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"THE IMPORTANCE OF LIGHT IN PHOTOGRAPHY - HOW LIGHTING AFFECTS OUR SHOTS": DE MODE GLOBAL

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DE MODE

Article Published on: 15 MAY 2023 | www.demodemagazine.com


Light is one of the most crucial elements in photography. It can make or break a photograph. The right lighting can highlight the subject, add depth and dimension, and set the mood. In contrast, poor lighting can result in a flat, dull, and uninteresting image. In this article, we will explore the importance of light in photography and how it affects our shots.

Quality of Light:

The quality of light refers to how hard or soft the light is. Hard light comes from a single source, such as the sun, and creates harsh shadows and highlights. Soft light comes from a larger source, such as a cloudy sky or diffused artificial light, and creates gentle shadows and highlights.


The quality of light can dramatically affect the mood and feel of the photograph. Hard light is perfect for creating drama and a sense of intensity. It's great for capturing action shots or portraits with a high contrast. On the other hand, soft light is ideal for creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere. It's perfect for landscape photography or portraits with a softer look.

Photo by Nicola Levine Photography

Direction of Light:

The direction of light refers to where the light is coming from. The direction of light can create shadows and highlights that add depth and dimension to the photograph. The most common direction of light in photography is front lighting, where the light is coming from behind the photographer.


Front lighting is easy to work with, but it can create a flat and uninteresting photograph. Side lighting is more dramatic and creates deep shadows and highlights that add depth to the photograph. Backlighting creates a halo effect around the subject and is perfect for creating silhouettes or highlighting the texture of the subject.

Photo by Behance

Color of Light:

The color of light refers to the temperature of the light, measured in Kelvin. Different light sources have different temperatures. Natural daylight has a temperature of around 5500K, while tungsten light has a temperature of around 3200K.


The color of light can dramatically affect the mood and feel of the photograph. Warm light, such as the golden light of the sunset, creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Cool light, such as the blue light of the early morning, creates a calm and serene atmosphere.

Photo by Digital Photography School

Intensity of Light:

The intensity of light refers to the brightness of the light source. The intensity of light can affect the exposure of the photograph and how much detail is visible in the shadows and highlights.


A high-intensity light source can create a bright and vivid photograph, but it can also result in overexposure and blown-out highlights. A low-intensity light source can create a moody and dark photograph, but it can also result in underexposure and lost details in the shadows.

Photo by Learn Photography by Zoner Photo Studio

Time of Day:

The time of day affects the quality, direction, color, and intensity of light. The golden hour, which occurs during the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, is the perfect time for capturing warm and soft light. The blue hour, which occurs during the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset, is the perfect time for capturing cool and soft light.


The middle of the day, when the sun is directly overhead, is the worst time for photography. The light is hard and creates unflattering shadows and highlights. However, this type of light can be used creatively to create a dramatic and intense photograph.

Photo by Shutterstock

In conclusion, light is a critical element in photography. The quality, direction, color, intensity, and time of day can dramatically affect the mood and feel of the photograph. Understanding how light affects your shots and how to use it creatively can take your photography to the next level. With practice and experimentation, you can learn how to create stunning photographs that capture the beauty of light.

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