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Photography 101: Warmth

Today, capture an image of warmth, ideally using the sun as your source.

Image by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

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Photography means “drawing with light,” and when you snap a picture with your camera, you use and record light to create an image.

We can also use alternate and artificial sources, like candles and lamps, to create certain effects and manipulate an image’s overall mood (which we’ll talk more about tomorrow).

When we’re out and about, we use the sun — our most abundant light source — to capture our scenes.

The Hagia Sophia is an impressive mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. If you ever find yourself wandering inside, here’s what you’ll see, when you look up:

The numerous spotlights on the chandeliers — combined with lots of ambient and natural light filtering in from outside — creates a warm, rich, and even scene of yellows and golds.

Today, capture an image of warmth, using the sun as your source. And if the sun is nowhere to be found, don’t worry! You can interpret warmth in a different way.

Tip: If you’d like to experiment more, consider the direction and quality of light. First, let’s talk about front light and side light.

Front light is great for outdoor landscapes and group portraits, and can certainly capture warmth.

A front-lit subject faces the light source and is even-lit and flat, primarily without shadows. Front light is the most straightforward to work with, but isn’t as dramatic.

Side light is fun to experiment with, especially for portraiture, fine art, and architecture.

When you light a subject from the side, the mix of light and shadow shows more depth and reveals textures, patterns, and complexities (even flaws) in the shot. It can create unexpected results, and be more dramatic.

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