Lighting For Landscape and Nature Photography
The broader the light source you use, the softer the light will be on your subject. The narrower the source used, the harder the light. When you use a broad light source the shadows, contrast, and textures are all reduced and softened. The use of a narrow light source during the photo shoot will do the opposite. This happens because light rays hit your subject from more directions when a broad light source is used, the light tends to fill in the shadows and give more even illumination throughout the scene. The narrow light source is closer to the subject which reduces the lights ability to bounce around and reflect off of other surfaces.
When it comes to nature and landscape photography most new photographers confuse the sun for a broad light because it looks small in the sky, however its actually a narrow light. This is why when you are shooting mid-day you get such hard, defined edges of the shadows.
If you want softer light in your landscape photos, do not shoot with a cloudless sky. Come back to the location when the sky has clouds, the clouds will help filter the sun light and make it bounce in different directions to fill in the shadows.
For nature photography, if the subject is small enough take a piece of paper or cut piece of white cardboard with you. You can use it to reflect the sunlight into the shadowed area to soften the shadows. I have small 4″ x 6″ pieces of foam board in my camera bag, they work perfectly when I am photographing flowers.
About the Author and Photographer:
Melissa Fague is an emerging nature and landscape photographer from Bear, Delaware USA. In just a few short years her work has been published over two dozen times and she has won multiple national and international awards for her beautiful photographs. Her most recent accomplishment is her first published photograph in an international publication with a worldwide distribution, “Landscape Photography Magazine”. Melissa is passionate about the art of photography and nature. Exploring areas and creating photographs is her form of stress relief and art therapy, but she also loves to share her visions so that others can enjoy. Her goal is to one day be ranked among the most famous nature photographers in the world. All of Melissa’s nature and landscape photographs are available for purchase, visit Pi Photography and Fine Art.