by Simon Capstick-Dale


How to take good holiday snaps

Photographers ‘paint’ with light to produce photographs. The colour, direction, quantity, and quality of this light determines how subjects appear in their photographs. In the studio, artificial light sources allow you to precisely control everything, however, when you’re outdoors, sunlight is not a constant source and constantly changes with the weather, season, location, and latitude. This change in light alters the apparent shapes, colours, tones, and forms of a scene. The colour of sunlight changes most significantly during early morning and early evening (or late afternoon) which are generally considered the best times for outdoor photography, as they makes for the most dramatic effects.

Here are three things to consider when thinking about how to light your photograph when outdoors:

Angle of light
This should be taken into careful consideration whenever you want to create a specific effect. Shadows can be very powerful when cast over half of someone’s face and can add more depth to a photograph. It also adds more colouring because if they subject were lit from the front it would likely be overexposed, and if back-lighting were used his face would just be underexposed. Think carefully about where the shadows are in your viewfinder and try to use them to your advantage.

Rays of light
The key some great photographs is the ability to see actual rays of light in the scene. Whether it be in the setting of a brilliant sunset  or light pouring through a window, it can look very impressive if used correctly. Usually the way to obtain something like this is a narrow aperture (high f/stop) combined with a very slow shutter speed.

The way to create a silhouette is to have significantly bright light coming from behind the subject. When doing this it is important to take your camera light reading to meter from the background instead of the subject in order for the camera to adjust for an exposure based on the backlight. The subject will be successfully underexposed – making a silhouette – and the background will be exposed correctly.
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