Welcome to this next tutorial. I'm Fraidy Shimon from Peppermint Photography and The Editing Bootcamp. Today's tutorial is all about light. This is part one of the mini-series on light, and it's part of the greater series Shoot to Edit. To make sure that you complete the entire series, hop onto my email list, you can go to peppermint.photography/tutorials, to sign up.
So what do we want to know about light? Light is the most important thing to master when it comes to photography because the word photography means writing with light. There are two important aspects of light, the quality of light and the direction of light. So in this tutorial, we're going to jump into the quality of light, and then over the next few weeks, we'll talk about direction. So we can master one aspect at a time.
So, what is considered quality? What's light quality? The basic quality of light you can have is hard light versus soft light. What does hard light look like? Hard light is harsh, usually direct, usually unfiltered light, and it looks like this. Do you see how in between the highlights and the shadows, there are hard lines? That's how you know that this is hard light. This is another example of hard light. The light is hitting them right on their faces, and you can even see on the wall anytime there is a transition between highlights and shadows, it's a very harsh line. You can actually see the lines of the light hard light could be used sometimes in an artsy way, something like this, where it's strong you might see artists using it. You might have a portrait with a shadow in the shape of a leaf or a cool shadow in the shape of a window on their face. So that's where the photographer is using hard light to add to the composition and tell the story.
Now soft light is usually ambient, meaning it's not direct. It's coming from somewhere else. And the light is filtering in, or it's filtered, meaning it's coming through something or is diffused bounced or diffused. This would be an example of soft light. You can still see the shadows, which make the actual composition. You can see that anytime there is a transition on their face between highlights and shadows, that transition is very soft. If you see here, I don't know if you can see my little mouse, but on the baby's face, you can see the shadow over here and the highlight over here. And the transition is very gradual between the highlights and the shadows. Actually, this image is interesting because you can see very soft light on their faces, but you can still see hard light on dad's shirt, like on his arm, over here, where the light is a little bit more direct and it's hitting and shirt through the bushes and he has all these shapes on his shirts. So that's a really good example for this lesson. Now look at this image right over here. That's another example of soft light. You can see that they're standing in the archway underneath the roof, and because they're standing underneath the roof, the light isn't hitting them directly. It's just part of the light that is coming in. And part of the light is coming in this little play area where they're standing, this kind of lighting situation is called open shade. They're standing in shade where there is a lot of light coming in around it, and that gives them beautiful, soft light or all over their skin. Harsh shadows from harsh light is usually something you want to avoid in images, especially on the skin, for a portrait. So unless you're using the lines of light very intentionally to tell the story, for example, using the shadows of a leaf or of a window to kind of add to the moodiness and the edginess of an image, you probably want soft light.
So how do you manipulate light to soften it? You take light and you filter it or you diffuse it through something, it could be light shining through clouds that makes the light a little bit less hard, or you can use sheer curtains, over a window. The light that comes through the window goes through the shower curtains first, and then it hits your subject. So that takes some of the edge off the light, or you can use a scrim. That looks like a see-through ish, white shower curtain. So you can hold it up if you're shooting outside and have the sun shine through that and then onto your subject. That really softens the light. So anytime you use something like that, you soften the light. Also a great example is a softbox or an umbrella that goes over your strobe. Hard light, right? So it's not necessarily bad in this case. I think it's actually cool that it's showing, um, you know, the edges of the leaves and different patterns on the table. But just for the example, this was taken using window light. Now, when we put a sheer curtain over the window, bang, we have soft light!
Now we go a lot more into depth with, light in our in-person teen camp. It's called Beyond the Basics. We have a teen camp and a mom camp, usually in the summer. If you want to know more about light reach out to us!
Now, if you can try to find areas of open shade, or try to use diffusers and scrims and sheer curtains to diffuse your light, you can find much softer light. I really hope you enjoyed this video, next week is all about direction. We're going to cut direction into a couple of pieces and I'll teach you some little tricks, one direction at a time.
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