Friday, March 10, 2017

Picture Practice - Front Lighting

Day 10 - Front Light

My "word" for 2017 is Light and one of the ways I want to incorporate that is in my photography. For the next couple of days we will focus on directional light and today, in particular, I'll discuss front lighting. Most of the photos in my folders incorporate other types of lighting, I discovered, but there are a few examples below.
Front lighting is probably the most common directions lighting used in photography. With front lighting, the light is coming from behind you-the photographer-and illuminating the subject in the front. Generally, front lighting provides even lighting and eliminates most shadows.
Front lighting is sometimes criticized for producing images that are too flat and without depth, but in landscapes and portraits, it is often desirable.  After all, not many people want to emphasize their wrinkles by more shadows!  :-)

Front lighting when photographing a person can best be achieved in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun is less intense and often produces a nice, golden hue that is quite flattering for people. When using front light with people, however, you must be aware that your subject might tend to squint with the sun in their eyes.

One way to avoid the squinting is to make use of diffused lighting. You can use your own body or the overhand of a building, etc. to diffuse some of the lighting glare if the light is coming from a higher angle. Below, we are both squinting, even though the front lighting was somewhat diffused by an overhang!
Noticing how few "Front Lighting" examples I could find from my iPhone makes me more aware of my need to practice! While I have quite a few photos in my DSLR files, very few are taken with my iPhone.  I did take one this weekend of the azaleas that were glistening in the sun.
One way to avoid the squinting of a subject while using front lighting is to have them face away from the light. While it does not feature the face of the person, it can still be effective if the setting enhances the photo.  Below, my grandson was fascinated by the flowers in front of our church and wanted to see them up close. Capturing him from behind (with front lighting), was candid, yet told a story since the setting is visible.

Have fun practicing with this light source today. 

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