How to Best Control Light in Photography
Controlling light is crucial in photography. It can either make or break your image. Learning to control light helps you gain a better understanding on how to composite your image. Good lighting=good image. Bad lighting=bad image. Below are some example on how controlling light helped me create a great photo. Don’t worry, many of these images you can do in your own backyard. Controlling light is a learning process, but it isn’t as difficult as rocket science! Also, if you have time, check out Donald Giannatti’s research on “Controlling the Presentation of Light”. It’s amazing!
As I was learning to control light, I had the chance to play with water balloons. I had a team of friends help me get this image. One person was standing on my left-hand side with a single YONGNUO IV speedlight with the light pointed at my subject. My subject was in front of me preparing to smash a water balloon with his fist. My camera settings were as follows,
Shutter Speed: 5 seconds
Once I hit the shutter, we had to time it just right so that the flash went off the same time when my friend smashed the balloon. It took a couple of tries, but we were able to get a pretty good looking image. Like I said, controlling light helps you get a great image.
We took this shot at the same time we were smashing the other water balloon. Same camera settings. Just another spectacular image of controlling light (and water).
Funny story with this shot, we were suppose to sprinkle sugar on the strawberry. Since we were running low though, I volunteered to sprinkle water to save sugar for the rest of my team. Again, this photo was shot was a single speedlight. My settings were as followed,
Shutter speed: 1/2 second.
I placed the spoon between a stack of large books so it didn’t move. Then I asked a team friend to sprinkle water on the strawberry. Controlling the light, I was able to get a shot that looks impressive. Controlling light=good photos!
This one was the most complicated to do. As for controlling light, I had to use FIVE speedlights to get this shot. One speedlight behind the bottle, two on the back left and right corners, two on the sides, and a team friend spraying the bottle with a spray bottle. Each light was set to a trigger, so they all went off at the same time. Controlling the light, I was able to get one of the best shots I’ve ever taken in product photography. It turned out great!