Professional Lighting Tips for your Photos

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Lighting is one of the most fundamental skills that every good photographer needs to master. From studio photography to outdoor weddings, understanding how to light your subject can really make a difference to the look and feel of your photographs.

The right lighting helps to create the mood of the photo and it can also help direct the viewer's eye to the parts of the image you want to call attention to. Lean how to present your subject in the "best light" in almost any situation with these important concepts:

Use the environment - unless you're shooting in a studio, you will usually have to work with the existing lighting conditions of your location. If you're taking photographs in the bright outdoors, try and face your subject towards the sun. Otherwise, on a cloudy or overcast day you can take advantage of the shadow free lighting conditions which means you can shoot your subject from any direction.

Three point lighting - this is critical for setting up a professional studio and great to keep in mind for all of your on location shoots. When lighting up your subject, you should consider three sources of light:

- Key light - this is the primary light source and will be recognised as the visible light source in your image.

- Fill light - this is softer background light that will help lessen the appearance of dark shadows and give your image more variation. Fill lights are usually no more than half as bright as the key light. You should make use of reflectors to direct light and control shadows.

- Rim light - the rim light is also called the backlight as it is positioned behind the subject. The backlight creates a "highlighting" effect around your subject to make it really stand out from the background.

Rethink your flash - the built-in flash of your DSLR camera can be a very useful tool. Instead of thinking of it as source of light for low light situations (this can often lead to washed out skin tones, use your flash as a highlighter to make your subject stand out. Meanwhile, if you're thinking about good camera accessories, you might want to consider an external flash unit that will give you more control over your lighting.

This article is brought to you by Canon Australia - Your first digital SLR - what you should know. For more ideas on capturing that perfect moment with digital cameras, visit the Canon website.

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