Commercial Photographer: Quality of Light

Commercial Photographer: Quality of Light

Commercial photographer – quality of light

In photography, the term quality of light is on everyone’s lips. In most cases, the “quality of light” is what makes the difference between a good picture and a great photograph. Every photographer seeks the good light, but it is ever elusive. I usually joke with my clients that if an expensive camera is what makes a good image, then every photographer would be a pro, but as most of us have come to realize, it is not the camera but the photographic lighting that makes the actual difference.

The concept of light quality

If we were talking about “quantity “, that’s easier to understand as the amount present in a given scene. But quality? Well, as it applies to most things, we can say it is a measure of how good the light is.

I took  a client on a tour of my studio and we discussed lighting for product photography and for general photography, so much that he was forced to asked, ” is it that important?” he’s not a photographer, and so has a limited knowledge of photography, so he/she can be forgiven for asking that question.

Understanding the dynamic of lighting and how it affects the final image really matters for me. To produce gorgeous photos “the ratio” of the light source to the size of the object I’m shooting has to be perfect, for every case.

Soft lighting and hard lighting

The characteristics of the lighting have a lot to play in product photography. Small light sources tend to produce hard lighting. Conversely, a large light source will produce soft lighting. However, this characteristic is dependent on the distance between the source and the subject. Furthermore, there are other little details that many photographers overlook while fine tuning their lighting characteristics. One of such is the placement of the subject on the table or whatever as the case maybe. It may look simple but can take time to position correctly. The way you’d place a translucent Object on the table is different to the way you place an opaque object. Sometimes, these little positioning makes all the difference. Photography is all about perspectives.

The correct light

Depending on the scenario and the objective of the shoot, all types of light can be wrong and right. I make my choices depending on what I’m looking to create. Moving lights closer to, or further away, from an object will affect the softness or hardness of the light. I employ hard lighting to emphasize texture and character of the product. Incorporating diffuse lighting gives me a more professional look and avoids harsh shadows and specular highlights.

Ultimately, where one decides to put the lights and diffusion aids has everything to do with the camera and products. Whoever master this part correctly is sure to have the client coming for more.

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