Nothing makes or breaks a photo more than lighting. Dramatic photography lighting can turn a mundane snapshot into something quite breathtaking. To be able to fully use lighting, though, we need to learn about photography lighting effects.
- Ambient lighting. This light is the soft, non-directional light that we often see when photographing outside. The brightness of your subject may well be reduced, but this type of lighting works well for landscape shots, as it provides even lighting across the frame.
- Artificial household and business lighting. These types of lighting throw a very particular cast over images. Tungsten lighting (commonly used in household bulbs) casts an orange glow over photos. Fluorescent or strip lighting casts a green glow. Fortunately, modern DSLR cameras have white balance settings which can correct for these casts.
- Studio Lighting. Professional photographers use a variety of different lighting in studios. The most common type of lights are flash lights, which work like a much larger version of a flashgun. Other types of studio lighting include tungsten lights and daylight balanced lights.
- Hard Light. This kind of light occurs in the middle of the day and is very intense, creating strong shadows and contrast. It isn't the most popular of lighting because of this, but can be used to good effect in sunny scenes with a minimum of areas in which to catch shadows.
- Back Lighting. This is when the light is focused directly at your camera, and it is commonly used to create silhouettes.
- Side Lighting. As you might expect, light comes from one side of the image with side lighting. This kind of light can be used creatively in genres such as portraiture and architecture to add long shadows and depth to images.
- The Golden Hour. The hour around sunrise and sunset produces a particular kind of lighting with red, pink, and golden tones. This type of lighting produces beautifully lit images, and it is the most popular for landscape photography.
On some occasions, you could also come across a combination of several of these lighting effects -- such as when some ambient light filters in to an indoor scenario. The trick is to learn to use all the available types of lighting to their best advantage.