#2 Brightness of light – photography

Part Two – Think about the brightness of light

It’s important to understand how different brightnesses of light affect your photos. This video introduces you to the idea of thinking in terms of light and how to deal with different light brightness.

Transcript of Video

“I sometimes get asked by people coming to my tutorials about exposure and what is the right exposure in any given situation. And that’s a difficult question to answer because it’s different for every situation.

For instance this is one of the most difficult lighting circumstances you will encounter as a photographer.

You’ve got a very bright area in the background. Directly lit by the sun. and you’ve got you’re subject in a shaded area. A darker area with less light illuminating her.

Now you’re exposure can’t capture both those situations. If you exposure for Hazel (the subject) in the foreground, you’re going to overexpose the background. Simply because it’s in a much brighter light.

And if you expose for the background, you’re going to underexpose Hazel (the subject).

There are a number of things you can do in this situation. The first would be to crop in closer to Hazel so that she fills more of the frame and there’s less of the background and that would reduce the contrast.

You could move Hazel back into the sunshine so that she’s being lit by the same light as the background and that would reduce the contrast.

You could move to a different location and photograph Hazel (the subject) in a shaded area with the background also in shade and again that’s reducing the contrast.

So there are a number of things you can do to reduce contrast in a photograph.

But it’s important to understand that you’re not going to be able to get the right exposure in this circumstance for the foreground and background because they are in different brightness’s of light.

Having said that there is not necessarily a problem with photographing this situation and exposing for Hazel (the subject) and having the background overexposed.

That doesn’t make a bad photograph actually because it’s nice and bright, it lightens the mood of the photograph. It’s not a case of you should never do that, you’ve just got to understand that the background is going to be very bright but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This particular scene isn’t spoiled by having a bright background.

But if for example you were photographing 2 people and you had one stood in a shaded area and the other in direct sunshine, you would have either one of them too bright or one of them too dark. So make sure that they are both being lit by the same brightness of light, either both in the shade or both in direct sunshine”.