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Video Four


Today we are going to talk about lighting. At a basic level, lighting and shadows provides shape to a subject transforming a flat two dimensional photos into a three dimensional object. At a more advanced level- lighting can communicate mood and emotion in the visual story.

As you can imagine, lighting is a massive subject. We will briefly cover some basics here about natural lighting, shadows and highlights.

Photographers see the world in a whole new different way. They see beauty in even the most ordinary subject. They are constantly searching the light source, direction, intensity, colour and how it reflects off different textured subjects. Even the best subject matter and composition can be lost without great lighting. It adds dimension to your two-dimensional creation and communicates the mood intended.

Natural lighting is always the best lighting. Introduced lighting from various globes often produce a colour cast over the photo that requires counter-balancing to make colours look normal again. An example is candle light – it produces a yellow/orange light.

Shadows and Highlights

We all know what shadows are, however the term highlights may be new to you. It refers to the bright parts of a scene. The highlights of a landscape are generally the sky. When we talk about the lighting of a photo, we are really talking about shadows – either the exclusion of too much light from the sun that produces those harsh shadows or the inclusion of subtle light to produce those nice shadows that provide that three-dimension look. Harsh shadows in a photo compared to a cloudy, overcast day really can make a huge difference to your photo.

Landscape photographers love the golden hours around sunrise and sunset when the sun is low and producing a nice soft light. If they find themselves shooting during the middle of the day, they will look at the clouds and wait for the sun to pop behind the clouds – diffusing the light to produce a more even light on the scene.

Flash vs Torch

We have flash on our phones – don’t use them!

A flash produces an intense burst of light that drops off in intensity very quickly. Instead, where practical I would recommend using another phone torch to apply lighting to fill in the shadows. You can move it closer or further away to intensify or soften the light. This way you can see the effect of the light and control it.

Challenge time!

Turn on the torch and shine it around a plate of food. Move closer and further away and try different angles. Take note of how the light penetrates, reflects and the shadows created and the different positions. 

Brilliant – those are some great tips you can implement straight away. 

How easy – just to recap…

  • Lighting and shadows creates depth to an image
  • Lighting intensity and direction can create mood and emotion
  • Shadows can create mystery and suspense in a story
  • Have the sun behind you when photographing people
  • Black and white photography can really help you start to see the light and shadows

Great – thanks for joining me. One more video to go, discussing video - quick techniques and the importance of video.

Until then…..Be passionate, Be creative and Keep learning


Join our Facebook community to find like-minded learner photographers of all levels, who love to support each other. We run weekly photography challenges in the community and on Instagram, providing a great way to practice what you learn and share practical, jargon-free techniques and tips.


Phone camera techniques & tips

Suitable for Android & iOS phones

Duration 6 minutes 

Replay previous video in Smartphone Photography COurse


How to create a WOW photograph

How do I become more creative?

Duration 7 minutes 

Replay previous video in Smartphone Photography COurse


How do I structure & set up a photo?

What are those gridlines used for?

Duration 6 minutes 

Replay previous video in Smartphone Photography COurse


Lighting - what to look for & avoid

Benefits of shooting in black & white

Duration 7 minutes 


The importance of capturing video

Quick video techniques & tips

Duration 6 minutes 

Replay previous video in Smartphone Photography COurse