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Knowing Light - Introduction by photo-class Knowing Light - Introduction by photo-class
The first of a series of articles trying to get the notion of light on photography layered down.


Light is one of the most important elements on a photograph, but it is often neglected, or ignored because of its apparent complexities.
In fact, light in photography is just a question of knowing what you want, and how to use what is available to achieve that very outcome.

Enjoy, and please leave us a comment if you found this helpful or if you have advices for us.

Originally submitted: Jan 12, 2004
Resubmitted: 22 May, 2007

Article by ^superkev
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JQ444 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for a great share

dopamiine Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much, this is really helpful
SpiritFem Featured By Owner May 10, 2013
Thank you so much! I never would have thought of using white bristol board as a reflector, but it makes sense.
eemotional Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
'Photographers, do you know what your medium is? For the other forms of art, the answer to this question is easy: painters use paint, sketchers use pencils, and musicians use sound. But as a photographer, your medium is light.' I like it :p
HajimeKou Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2010  Student General Artist
thankyou alot! this helped me very much!
DreamingOfAutumn Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2009   Photographer
dude, this helped me a TON!!! i knew like, almost nothing about lighting. thanks man.
TROXDFOX Featured By Owner May 28, 2009
thanks Bro i do have the same bible that you preach i do agree that knowledge should be share ...... thank a lot for the info.... i would pass this to others whose willing to learn...... more power..

jamesilluminare Featured By Owner May 23, 2007  Professional General Artist
Very helpful, this is what I needed. :)
silentsawer Featured By Owner May 23, 2007
nice one :D but i knew that light it is actually a wave (but nobody knows even today what it really is, if it is a wave or made from particles :D)
bodom-angel Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2006   Photographer
i cant download it?:(((( what happened?
The-Panic Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2006
me too
swallowedinthesea Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2006
I had trouble downloading this, too :o
silivrenwolf Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2006  Professional Photographer
Is it just me or is this not working? I tried downloading it but said nothing was there and no image is showing up.
Nikolaj Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
thanx alot!
stupidgirl Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2005   Photographer
Thanks, this was great. Very useful information and explained everything pretty well. :)
a-strange-loop Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
hi kevin... had a question.

i cant afford these high speed flashes... then wht is the next best option for me? i use a fm10 and have a simple electronic flash. i try working with torchlights, but wht i want to know is... which lights wuld suit best for replacing the flash?

i know its astupid question.. but id reall like to know

cryptix Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2004
:camera: very interesting once agin but i didn't get it just quite yet. sheesh.. a beginner like me would take months and probably years to master these... argh! gotta keep in mind that lighting is important!!! :camera:
Doubtful-Della Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2004  Professional Photographer
I think it is wonderful that you guys got together to make these tutorials. They are easy to read and comprehend, and I am grateful.
Rachabelle Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2004  Hobbyist Photographer
Just read your tutorial on light. A very easy to understand tutorial that offered a few useful tips for me. The diagrams were also a useful accompaniment. I am yet to read the tutorial on softness, but I believe the refector that should be used should be based on how clear, soft or whatever you want the image to come out looking like?? So do you always put the reflector opposite to the source of the light and should you choose a stronger reflector (aluminium foil) for a darker subject?
photo-class Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2004
You can experiment with various reflectors and if it's too strong or too soft you can move it closer or further away from your subect to accentuate or diminish the effect.

Golden or silver sunshields that are sold to be placed under the windshield of cars to keep them cool in the summer make excellent affordable reflectors.

JQ444 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Make your own with wrapping paper with metalic finish, cover board and off you go. Another trick is to use small vanity mirrors to reflect light, especially when you work with food photography.
elic Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2004   Digital Artist
great share
GeNiUs82 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2004  Hobbyist Photographer
Very useful text. I like the way u compared aparature and shuter speed with doors of a buildig and people coming in. I already understud some of the stuff but it is more clear to me now. I prefere natural light, but now maybe I will try something else inside.
Aaricia Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2004
Very interesting :)
everydayrenee Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2004
Thank you for the tutorial! While I understood the concepts, your explanation made them easier to process! Thanks again!
willb Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2004   General Artist
Very nice tute. Well explained and delivered.
b00red Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2004
Good reading for me as a beginner at photography. :thumbsup: Will keep this for reminding myself that light is important, luck with it is less. ;)
renaisancexx Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2004
very helpful and useful article...thanx for submitting this...:nod:
katwoman Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2004
amazing tutorial!! thank you so much :clap:
blueseas Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2004
infinitely helpful :)
degauss Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2004
Great article. I learn so much from the articles here. Thanks a ton!
marcuslovesus Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2004
This is great... who needs to pay $250 aus. for a photography class, when we've got it all right here!
zephyria Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004
wonderful tutorial!! Very very helpful!
justbob Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004
Nicely laid out, thanks for your efforts!
b0x0rz Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004
thnak you thank you thank you for another great tutorial. keep them coming ;)
thoran666 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004   Photographer
very cool, i definately needed that.

maus Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for your help. It's exactly what i need at the moment, 'cause i'm trying to improve the lighting in my photos. :clap: :+favlove:
grindL Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004
thank you :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
tasteslikebrning Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004   Photographer
Very cool, it has quite a lot of pointers. It'll help me quite a bit. Thank you so much!

pixelprophet Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004
excellent read, very well written

wwwchrisde Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004   Photographer
Thanks for that tutorial - helped me a lot!!
viewfinder Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004   Photographer
excellent explanations here for the beginner photographers. nice images to accompany too. thanks for the hard work.
superkev Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004  Professional Photographer
great work, *In-Apt! you've taken my fragments and made them beautiful! :P
xEXILEDx Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2005
Your the perfet person to do this tutorial.
graemo Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2004
i have a question though, concerning flash synch speed...
you shot the flask at 1/500 which would be pretty fast for flash synch...
and 1/1000 on the rivulets? since you don't use high speed flash synch (your comment about the flash duration) and i don't know a camera with more than 1/500 of synch speed, so why isn't just a small stripe exposed?
superkev Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2004  Professional Photographer
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. But, on my old camera, I could sync flash at any speed. Like most simple digital cameras, it used the aperture blades as a shutter. I guess this allowed it to operate the shutter faster than a normal SLR focal-plane shutter. It could get a more even exposure, even at very high sync speeds. I hope this helps.
graemo Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2004
ah, ok, that explains it...
and now that i think of it, that must be the reason why i never found out the flash synch speed for my sony 707... because it doesn't have one, argh...
an interesting aspect of cheap beats expensive =)

although i think simple digicams use the chip itself as "shutter", by just turning it on and off electronically...
using the aperture blades as shutter is something i only know from large (and maybe medium) format lenses...
blackzer0 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2004
Thanks to all writers at ~photo-class . You are helping a lot! :)
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Submitted on
January 12, 2004
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