Thursday, February 16, 2012

Web Photography Basics: The Importance of Light

The following is a guest post by Linda Kelso, owner and author of The Subversive Plot. (The "Simplifying Social Media" series will resume on Tuesday.)

Many consumers research companies online before they ever decide to walk in the door or call for information. Potential clients will use both the text and the pictures on your website to decide if they want to use your services. In fact, attractive, high quality photography can communicate much, much more to your potential clients than paragraphs of text!

The good news is, you can take attractive, high quality photographs yourself provided you understand a few basic concepts. You don’t need a $3,000 camera or lots of equipment and, if you want, you can create professional looking backgrounds for very little money.

In this post, I’m going to take you through the basics of lighting. In future posts, I’ll show you how to construct a simple, inexpensive “studio” and, finally, how to compose your photographs.

When preparing to take a picture for your website, think about the following as you set up the shot:

1. Is there adequate light? Simple, but true! Contrast the two photographs, one taken with inadequate light, and one taken with adequate light. You can see the photo taken in adequate light is much more appealing.

2. Are there harsh shadows? In general, harsh shadows can distract from your subject, and look less professional. Contrast the two pictures, one with shadows over the subject, and one without any shadow. You can see the difference the shadows make!   

3. What tone is the light giving your photo? For instance, the first photo utilized indoor lighting from a standard 60 watt bulb. It has a yellow tone. The second picture was taken with early morning sunlight on a slightly overcast day. It has a blue tone.  

My favorite type of light is natural sunlight on a slightly overcast day. The tone of natural light is pleasing to the eye and, best of all, it is free! An overcast day is preferable because you won’t get harsh shadows. I like to shoot next to a large, south facing window, which provides a lot of good natural light.

There are many other lighting techniques, but these three should get you started!  

About Linda Kelso

Linda is the founder of The Subversive Plot, a blog that teaches simple techniques to successfully grow, cook, and preserve fresh, delicious foods. She is an avid photographer and self-produces all of the photography used on her blog.

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