Now more than ever, it is easier to take photos and film video. The power is literally in everyone’s pockets; I mean, there are film competitions where you can only use your smartphone! Even with the growing technology, not many people know what goes into making a great picture. I’ll highlight some simple lighting concepts to help squeeze out those last Instagram and Facebook likes for you or your business!
When taking pictures with your smartphone, nobody is going to be setting up studio lights to get the right look. Instead, let’s take a look at the biggest light that’s available to all of us, the sun! The trick to a good picture outdoors is harnessing the sun in a way to make it work for you. You have two options, direct and diffused light. Direct light is when the sun is out and bright on a clear day, but it will cast strong shadows in your photo. The other type of light is diffused light, which is the blurry shadows you find on a cloudy or overcast day. Diffused light makes it much easier to get a good picture because you don’t have to worry about a shadow crossing a face or object in an unappealing way.
The most important thing to keep in mind is how you frame your shot in relation to the sun. When taking a picture of a person, you want them to face the sun, or if you want a dramatic look, you could place them in a shadow or backlight them, which is focusing on the light in the background so it looks like the object/person is filled in black.
One thing to notice is how the shutter speed affects your image. While you won’t see a number or icon on your phone, here’s the breakdown. The brighter your image, the higher the shutter speed; the darker your image, the lower the shutter speed. A high shutter speed will make things in motion look crystal clear and frozen in the air, while a low shutter speed will give you streaks and motion blur in the image, so you’ll have to hold the camera steady!
There are many more concepts in cinematography, but these lighting basics will get you up and running regardless of what camera you have or where you are. Next time you take a picture with your phone, these quick adjustments can make a whole world of difference.
Now go out there and get creative!