Everything You Need to Know About Photography Lighting

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by Waseem Abbas

Knowing how to use your camera is not enough if you don’t understand the photography lighting tips. Light is the life of your portrait.

If your photos look dull, then most likely the issue is your lighting. Understanding how to use light to your advantage is crucial especially if you are interested in starting a photography business.

In this article, we will share the best tips for photography lighting.

How to take good photos in low light

The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with the features of your camera. Most DSLRs have many options to help you in low light situations if you are familiar with it.

However, you cannot leave everything on the camera. If you want to take great photos, you need to make sure you have great lighting because it can make a huge difference.

Camera Tips for Lighting


In low light, your camera shutter speed plays an important role. You need to adjust it according to the light availability. Your camera shutter should be slow to make your portrait similar to a sketch by a painter.

You should use a tripod to avoid shaky pictures. When the shutter speed is slow, you have to be careful that the subject doesn’t move from its position. When your subject and camera are steady, results will be miraculous.

What is the Best Location for Shoot

You must check the location of the shoot before initiating the session with your customer. Is your model comfortable to shoot in the busy roads of the city, or do you plan to shoot a wedding indoors?

You have to check the weather situations in outdoor shoots. In cloudy weather or in the afternoons, when the light is dim or the conditions are harsh, you must be smart about lighting.

You can leverage hard light using light tents or fabric papers.

Let the natural light help you in your photography. For indoor shoots, smaller rooms have dim lighting. These rooms are perfect to add shadow to the photos. You should use the windows as softbox to capture the best portraits. If your selected room is large, then you will need more light.

You should also use the patterns of indoor structures for taking portraits in natural light.

Where is the Light Path

You should check the location of your light before the shoot. It is essential for good photos. Find out the path of light.

Light travels in a straight line, so you have to make it available over your subject and targeted body. If the shoot is outdoors, then you should choose the time of shoot when the light is maximum, and you can adjust it according to your requirement.

In case of an outdoor shoot, the best timings for your shoot are the start or midday.

For indoor shoots, you need to find windows on the east side if the shoot is in early morning and west side if the shoot is at mid-afternoon. When you know the correct light path, you can easily adjust accordingly.

Why you should use sunlight


Sunlight is a natural lighting resource for photography. It can be utilized for photography lighting. However, the light changes its formations during the day from morning to evening.

In the same portrait taken at different times, you can see major difference. As a photographer, you can take advantage of sunlight and choose the best time of day for your portraits.

Sometimes the clouds stops the direct connection of sun to your model, and the shadow developed for the scene is perfect for the shoot.

You should observe the reflection of light on different natural things in your vicinity. How sunlight brightens the rocks, water, smoke, etc. Everything has a different outcome and can be used in your portraits as backdrops.

How to use Artificial Light

Now when you are using artificial lighting for photography, you must be shooting at night or in a closed dark room. You should know these indoor photography lighting tips.

First always make sure to use light stands and flashguns to balance the lighting on the subject. Read our guide on how much does it cost to start a photography business to learn the pricing of light stands and flashguns.

With artificial light, you do not have to worry about dim lighting. It doesn’t change with time. You can add more lights to get the results of natural lighting.

Why you should use shadow

Shadow plays an important role in creating drama in your portraits. Whether you shoot in sunlight or artificial light, you can use shadows to maximize the volume in results of your photography.

Silhouettes are known to be the supreme art of photography. If you create a silhouette of your model from the camera by using proper lighting, it is real art.

Post photography lighting is a smart trick for giving the splendid results to your model. You should turn the dim pictures into a black and white formation.

Your sharp pictures can be checked for white balance. It is the portrait in the end that presents your work.

We hope this article helped you with the best tips for photography lighting, and you can improve your skills to handle all situations. You may also want to check out our blog post on 117 free lightroom presets that you will fall in love with.

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