If you have camera flashes, Speedlight flashes, studio lighting, reflectors and diffusers, this is the time to bring them out to play. If you don't, I am going to give you some ideas of things around the house you can use instead.
Lighting can help create really beautiful photos and it can also really mess up a photo!
Sometimes the lighting is just perfect as it is and you don't have to do anything to it.
Sometimes you have to change the lighting that is there to get the photo you need.
Sometimes you have a photo in mind and you create the lighting you want.
Natural light gives a more natural picture, more like how we see it.
There will be a light source side and a shadow side.
Most cameras will have a setting where you can turn off your camera flash on auto modes. It will usually be a flash symbol with a cross / slash through it.
If you do this and the subject is in low light you may need a tripod to prevent movement blur. (Blurring happens in low light because your camera may be using a slow shutter speed. More on that in later lesson).
If you don’t have a tripod, balance your camera on books or a bench. Make sure the camera won’t fall off and will keep still.
There is lots of lighting equipment to shape the light to create a photo we want.
Camera flashes, external flashes (speedlights or flashes you can take off the camera and use).
Studio lights, (bigger lights than camera flashes that are either provide a flash of light or a constant source of light). There is also studio lighting you can take outdoors.
Diffusers that you can put onto your camera lighting to diffuse or soften and spread your light.
Reflectors are usually white, silver or gold and bounce light back onto a subject.
Light sources: Sun / moon, water, outside lights, fire, white backgrounds like white walls or snow.
Scenarios you come across with natural lighting.
I take mostly portraits, and the worst lighting conditions for me is a bright sunny day. Why? The sun is such a strong light source that I have to work around it to get a nice light on the subjects faces.
Have your subject facing the sun and they will be well lit up, but they will be squinting against the sunlight. Have your subject side on to the sun and they will get weird shadows across their face cast by their nose and hair, one side of their face will be bright and one side in shadow. Have your subject with the sun at their back they will be silhouetted and the sun can shine directly into your lens and create lens flare.
What I do taking portraits in natural outside light:
For an evenly lit portrait, I prefer a cloudy day. The clouds diffuse or soften and spread the sunlight so there is no harsh shadows.
If it isn't cloudy, I will try and put my subject in the shade, under a tree or a wall shadow so again the light is diffused.
If I can't find shade then I will be using camera flashes with or without diffusers to fill in the shadow spots, and/or reflectors to try and bounce light back onto their faces on the shady side.
If you don't have camera flashes, diffusers and reflectors? Try torches or anything that lights up. For diffusing your light you can use thin cloth, tissues anything you can put over your light that doesn't block it out completely. Reflector can be a sheet of tin foil or whiteboard, mirrors, even water like a lake that the sun is bouncing off. Anything white or shiny should work.
If your subject is in front of water it can create a silhouette of the subject, or it make the water too light so you lose the scenery. This is because water is a reflective light source. To combat this, I will use a flash to light up the subject, but still have the scenery in its natural lighting.
Landscapes, buildings, scene photography
There are some scenarios I wouldn't want to change the lighting for. Sunsets and Sunrise, street photography, scenes where I want the scene to be captured exactly how it was, ( e.g. events, street scenes).
Buildings and landscapes are hard to change the lighting with, as you can't move them! But you can move yourself to get a look you like, be aware of where the shadows fall. If you want to show off the blue sky in your scene, you are going to have the sun behind or at least to the side of you.
Shadows, Silhouettes, Lens Flare don't have to be a bad thing.
Sometimes I like and want shadows, silhouettes and lens flare in my photos. Don't think they are bad. You are the artist and light and shadow are things you can decide what to do with.
I used 2 off camera flashes here because there is water involved and it is a reflective light source. If I used no lighting, only the water would have been well lit up. So I used one flash to light up the subject, and one flash directed on the back rock wall so we can see the scenery behind the water.
You can really play with light inside.
I love using natural light inside in my portraits. Windows and doorways provide a small focused area of light that I think creates beautiful moody photos. You can also create silhouettes by using them behind a subject.
Studio lights and camera flashes can be used to create light from specific directions, (or lamps, torches if you don't have those).
Here is some examples and how the lighting was created.
Two photos, indoors, with 2 different light sources.
Outdoor photos showing one of each of these:
ANSWER: You could put a light behind the subject facing upwards lighting up the wall, or a light to the side lighting up the dark side, or a reflector on the dark side to try and soften the shadow.
Michael aged 15 years playing with torchlight and a boat.