When using a digital camera, lighting is especially important. Traditional film cameras can be very forgiving with light, and film can be pushed to bring out more light or detail. Generally with film, the detail may be there on the film, even if the light is too dark.
With a digital camera, however, light is everything. Too little light, and the camera may even refuse to take the photo.
Have you ever noticed how outdoor photos tend to look so much better than indoor photos when you are using a digital camera? It all has to do with lighting.
When you take photos with your digital camera, there are two basic types of lighting to be concerned about. The first is hard light, and the second is soft light.
Hard light comes directly from a source, such as the sun, a bright overhead light or the camera’s flash. Hard light makes taking digital photos easier, because it generally provides enough light to illuminate your subject and take photos. Most indoor photos are taken using hard light only.
Soft light is light that it filtered. You’ll have soft light when the sun’s light streams down through the clouds, when the sunlight is filtered through the trees or a sheer curtain is placed in front of a bright indoor light (beware of fire hazards). Soft light is highly desired light because digital photos taken in soft light show vivid color and detail. Soft light can make skin glow and is especially wonderful when photographing a child. It can turn a child into a little angel.
Soft light is usually available on overcast days, in the early morning and early evening. My digital camera seems to like overcast days for landscapes full of flowers, while the early evening works well for human subjects.
And whether you are dealing with hard light, soft light or a combination, a good rule of thumb is to always keep the light behind you, the photographer. This way you get the full benefit of the light without any harsh shadows.
Mary Ann Romans also writes for the Frugal Living Blog here at Families.com, where she shares money saving tips for today’s families.