Photography Means Writing With Light

Did you know that Photography literally means “Writing with light?” That is correct. The word “Photo” means “light” and its suffix “graphy” means “writing.” Hence a graphologist is a handwriting analyst. Bet you did not know that. So, effective use of light is at the heart of good photography. With the fancy gadgetry that is overtaking the world of photography, it is time to go back to the basics. Learn that photography is all about using light effectively.

Where am I going with this? Well, I think that with the increased emphasis on the number of MegaPixels and the intellect-snaring delusion that nirvana in photography is achieved by photoshop-ing, we are forgetting the basics. First things first, get the light, right. Should be obvious, right? When you are writing with light, you should be concerned with the quantity, location, nature, and quality of light.

Here are some basics:

1) If shooting a human subject take special care of how light causes shadows on different parts of the subjects face.

2) Be sensitive to “hot spots” being created in different parts of your photograph. Surely you do not want a shiny distractive element in your photo.

3) Look at your complete frame and see how light plays with; either by attenuating or amplifying; different elements. If a background element is being overplayed or under-emphasized, you are doing something wrong.

4) Not all your photography mistakes can be done away with on Photoshop. For instance, an image processing algorithm can never undo the crime of shooting when the color temperature is not appropriate.

5) Use a flash, but only if you have to. And then use a professional flash. The real cheap ones or the inbuilt fluorescent ones will make your pictures look unreal and also make them unappealing.

6) Make use of the best light source — the Sun. Used effectively, it generates the best pictures.

Here is to your great handwriting — using light.

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