Photography Lighting Tips: Complete Basic Guide for Beginners
Photography Lighting Tips: Complete Basic Guide for Beginners
Every new photographer looks for new ways to make their photos look new and vibrant and hence one of the most searched topics by the budding new photographers is "Photography Lighting Tips".

When we talk about photography we talk about cameras, background poses, and composition, but we very actively forget the real meaning of photography, the word "Photography" has its origin from the Greek meaning the "Drawing with the Light".

The modern photographers are more concentrated on having a bigger and costlier camera, great background, gorgeous looking model and sometimes even some of the fancy cars and backdrops but in truth, if we ask any of the professional photographers the only main thing in a photograph that may make or break the situation is the lighting in the photograph.

If we try to learn the Photography Lighting Tips before stepping into photography and clicking any random clicks with your high-end expensive camera we may get far better results than we may generally expect from our photographs.

Learning about lighting is not a very difficult task as many have told you before, many start giving photography lighting tips saying that you need this and that, naming different types of equipment that you may not even pronounce well.

To start you need to understand the natural lighting of your area, then move on the spots, and then gradually start moving forward rather than trying to know everything all at once, take the stairs not the lift.

Photography Lighting Tips

Position of the Lighting in the Photograph

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When asking for photography lighting tips many professional photographers tend to say that, it's important to bring out the feel, depth, and emotion of the photograph.

This means that the photograph must not be plain or as many may refer to as a flat image, to avoid having a flat image you may have to keep the source of light not directly in front of the source rather you may opt of having the light coming from a side of the image, it can be any side.

Having the light source on the side makes the photo pop up and brings up the depth and texture of the photo like having a great prop makes the photo pop up.

Having the light coming from the side makes the perfect recipe for having those great moody tone images for your Tinder profile or an Instagram post.

The next position that is used to bring the mystery or the factor of suspense in the photograph is having the light source behind the source, this is used to gain more interest of the audience to the subject or the environment in the photograph.

Having the light behind the subject helps in making the object shows its silhouette and not other parts thus making the photograph much more engaging in general. This is used in product photography where only the outline of the product is launched teasing the consumers to think about how it may look and what it may have.

Different types of Lighting in Photography

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When talking about the types of lighting there are majorly two types of lighting conditions in a photographic situation, are "Hard Light" and "Soft Light".

Talking about the hard light, its the situation where the light is direct and hits the subject without any diffusion and makes a very sharp shadow in the photograph making the image not so suitable for every situation, there may be some of the photos like that of having black and white portraits that may have the best use of this method.

Now we talk about the soft light where the light source is one but the light reaching the subject is spread out or diffused naturally or by using some of the modern diffusers that are available in the market.

Having Softer light helps in making the photograph more viewable and appealing than the others, many photographers consider using Soft Lighting for photography as one of the best Photography Lighting Tips.

Using the Soft Lighting in your photo you can gain more details in both the highlights and the shadows where the shadows in the photos clicked having hard lighting are way sharper, but the photos shot by the hard lighting have their own liking and gradings as well.

Which is better Natural or Artificial?

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It's advisable for all the new photographers to start their photography career using natural lighting in their photos, using natural light may not give you many controls but it allows you to make some great photos.

Similar to that of diffused lighting and other methods of having the details in your photos is using the natural lighting, there are many of the new age photographers who have come up in the last few years have never in their career used artificial lighting.

Now when you are experienced in the art of photography you can make use of the best artificial lighting sources available in the market for getting the best photography experience.

Having artificial lighting gives you maximum control over the image, making the image as you wanted to have it on the camera screen.

You can keep the lighting at any distance, any angle, and any level of brightness making the best images you ever wanted.

Managing the Temperature of the Image

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The temperature of the photograph is also important and now when talking about photography lighting tips we have the point of temperature where having the proper temperature of the image is mandatory.

Having a warm coffee in the shot with reduced temperature may make the image look dull and even colder than normal making the image lose all its meaning hence the temperature control of the images is very very important.

If you are having a decent camera then probably your camera already comes with a built-in system to take the control of temperature, and if you starting new try using the manual mode on the cameras to create the best photographs.

By any chance, if you are using the android phone then the best option for you will be using any good third-party camera like the open camera to use the temperature mode on it.

Using High-end strobes

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Strobes are used by big commercial photographers and if you can afford one then surely you can use one for making the images look more awesome.

Now some photographers may give the photography lighting tips to use multiple lights to make the best use of it being an artificial source of light it makes the control over the light much easier and like the other sources you can adjust the look and the temperature you seek in the photograph.

Using strobes is more common with indoor photography and model shooting and also sometimes with the products, using strobes gives the photographer maximum control over the lighting and how the image will look in the final cut.

And sometimes using multiple lights help in bringing out the highlights, when the shadows are not so important for the click.

Low light or Night Time Photography

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Using the camera to shoot in the dark can be tricky and sometimes making the complete process a lot more torturous. But some of the latest cameras and good camera mobile phones coming up with a great night and low light photography feature have made the process of taking photos in dark much easier.

Use these features to make low-light photos pop up and bring the best in the environment.


To apply these photography lighting tips use the following guides:

  • Try shooting in natural light rather than artificial.
  • Try to diffuse the light to the max and if not able use props like paper, cloth, or something else that can spread the light over the subject.
  • Try shooting the photos in the golden hour in the morning and evening to get the best results.
  • learn to light gradually.


We have forgotten how photography meant drawing with the light and get focused more on other trivial stuff rather than focusing on having better lighting and how many have made the process to learn the lighting more and more confused with time.

Let's learn the lighting more easily and gradually.

If you like such content on photography you may like to read our article about mobile photography over at SocialMirror.