In this episode, we look at 5 ways to evaluate light. Getting correct exposure is only part of the scenario when mastering light. You want to determine the best combination of shutter speed and aperture to capture the correct exposure value and create your desired effect.
You will also need to properly evaluate the quantity and quality of light. Here are 5 questions you can ask:
1) Whats the source of light?
Natural light comes from nature. Artificial light comes from a man made power source. Natural light can be pleasing if you capture it during the right time of day or can redirect it.
2) How big is the light source?
The bigger your light source in relationship to your subject, the better effect you can create. Small light sources cast harsher light.
3) How close is your light source?
You can sometimes improve your lighting by moving your artificial light source closer to your subject.
4) What is the intensity of the light?
Hard light casts shadows with harsh edges. Soft light casts even softer tone.You can create soft light by: diffusingbouncingredirectingshooting in late day or early morning
5) What temperature is the light?
Color temperature is measured in Kelvin scale. Different source gives different temperature and color. Match your light source to your presets or take a custom white balance reading.
How do you use this info?
1) Natural light is best in the golden hour, harshest at mid day. Check the edges on your own shadow.
2) Pop up flash is a small source, far away from your subject. Diffuse if you must use it.
3) Use external flash to get the light off the camera. Bounce and diffuse. Bounce it into an umbrella for soft, diffused light.
4) Use a white card for custom white balance. Expodisc for more accurate reading.
5) in studio, strobes and soft boxes provide large light source, close to the subject, diffused thru translucent surface. Golden.
Learn more about using all these principles during my natural light workshop - Mastering Natural Light in Alexandria. Read more and register here.
In the last segment, I answer the question "Should I buy a compact camera or DSLR?" It's part of my ongoing Completely Biased Camera Buying Guide.
If you are interested in learning more about evaluating light, you can join me for my workshop in the Washington, DC area, Mastering Natural Light in Alexandria Old Town and Waterfront. You can work on the techniques we discussed and get feedback as you shoot. Register here.