- Characteristics of Light:
- Quantity: the amount of light you are recording reflected off your subject. Your camera Through the Lens (TTL) metering reads light bouncing off the subject for the value of midtones. Incident light meters read light falling of your subject and tells you the exposure for the midtones – BEST.
- Quality of Light: Hard or Soft. Hard light has a sharp transition from the highlights, to neutrals, to shadows which are deep and dark – best to delineate contours and shapes. LIGHT ILLUMINATES WHILE SHADOWS DEFINE.
Soft light has a slow and gradual shift from highlights, to neutrals, to shadows – creates diffuse light with soft shadows.
- Quality is determined by 2 factors: Size and Distance. Large light source that is close to the subject is softer and can wrap around the subject and add light to the shadow side. Small light source creates a small spot of light with highly focused specular highlights – hard, harsh light. See below:
Above: Soft diffuse light from a strobe in a softbox close to the still life.
- Direction: Light travels in a straight line. When it strikes a surface, its angle of incidence is equal to its angle of reflectance. White surfaces give a diffuse reflection, Silver or gold a focused refection either cool or warm while black absorbs for blocks reflection.
- Color Temperature: A measurement in degrees Kelvin that indicates the hue of a specific type of light. Lower numbers are warmer and higher K are cooler and bluer. Such as: 2000-3000 Sun at sunrise or sunset; 5500 – 6500 Daylight (sun plus sky); 6000-7500 Overcast, 8000-1000 Partly Cloudy.
More to follow.