I thought I would try to explain some of the different ways of using light in photography by linking the ideas to lighting that you use in the home.
So, for example, task lighting. At home, you might use a spotlight to illuminate a particular area where you want to work in the kitchen say. Similarly, by capturing a shaft of light on a stormy day, you can transform a fairly ordinary photo into one that really stands out.
|Wall Spot Light|
|Enhancing the mood by capturing a shaft of light|
Ambient lighting creates the mood, both for the room and the photograph. Ideally, this should be warm and inviting and is often produced by using a number of lamps around the room creating pockets of diffused light, rather than using one overhead light which tends to produce a rather flat, dull result. Think of this type of lighting as that which you see at dawn and dusk, when the sun is very low in the sky producing warm diffused light.
|Soft ambient light produces warm inviting pictures|
Finally, there is accent lighting, which gives texture and focus, adding depth and shade, with shadows in some corners and pools of light in others. An example of this in the home might be plinth lighting in the kitchen, particularly where it captures the rough hewn surface of a beautiful natural stone floor. Similarly, the sun creates shadows and depth of field, ensuring that your image is not flat and uninteresting to the eye.
|Add depth with accent lighting|
Now, go grab your camera and see if you too can capture the light!
Thanks to LightingMajestic.co.uk for the examples of home lighting that I have used in this blog post. :)