Proper lighting has always been vital in taking great pictures and a lot of photographers invest thousands of dollars on loads of equipment such as light strobes and speed flashes. But what about the rest of us who cannot afford to buy lighting kits or set up a light studio? That should not be a problem because here are several tips on using inexpensive light sources to show off your subject:
Sunlight – What could be cheaper than sunlight? It's free, it's natural, it's available everyday, and it can light your subject in different ways depending on the hour. Popular belief maintains that the best time to take pictures with sunlight is when the sun is low in the sky. This would be early morning or late afternoon when the light rays still emit a soft and muted light and there are no harsh shadows. Sunlight can give off dramatic effects such as bathing a flower field in golden hues or driving home the heat with an image of a street vendor at high noon. It can be used for several kinds of shots that you can take in a studio, from macro to portraiture. With sunlight, you don't even have to go out of the house. As long as you have a window that lets in adequate sunshine, then you're ready to shoot.
Candles – Who says candle lighting has to be cliché? It can provide great ambience, from romantic to creepy to strange. It costs a few cents and you can play around with just one candle or think out of the box and see what you can do with a thousand (have a fire extinguisher nearby, though!)
In this shot, I stuck a birthday candle in a candy sprinkled doughnut and used a flashlight to also light up the doughnut hole. This brings me to my next light source, the flashlight.
Flashlight/Torch – one of the most creative and fun ways to light up your subject is with light painting. Regular flashlights are usually enough to turn even the most mundane object into almost a work of art.
Overhead/Ceiling Light – Now these lights are just all over the house. Why not make use of them, as well, by incorporating them into your shots. It can be a light source, and if it looks interesting enough such as an elaborate chandelier or a dirty light bulb, may even be the subject itself.
Lamps – your bedroom lamp or reading lamp can be a great light source. It's effective for macro and still life shots and if used creatively, will really make your pictures stand out. Backlighting and side lighting can show off your subject in various interesting ways and even a tattered dishrag can appear out of this world.
You don't have to go out and buy expensive lighting equipment just to take fantastic shots. Use what you have, be creative and you will be amazed with what you can capture.
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