As we mentioned in the previous course, natural light or daylight, has many advantages. The most important one would probably be the intensity of sunlight. Generally, when we are shooting photographs during the day, we will have enough light to achieve a great depth of field and to control movement in the photograph; and it's free energy.
Another advantage is that photographs shot under daylight generally have a natural look which makes images pleasant and warm.
Nevertheless, daylight changes depending on the time of the year, location (latitude, longitude), the time of the day and the weather. Consequently, it is important to know and understand these variables.
From dawn to dusk and nightfall,light will vary in colour temperature, intensity, contrast, etc. When we are taking pictures, it is important for us to know the type of light we will have available during that particular time during the day. This will allow us to know what we can do to improve or change light (and if it is possible or necessary, of course) and make plans according to this (for example: Do we need to use, and thus take, something to reflect light?). We will also know the limitations we will face: Is there too much contrast or too little?, Is there enough light for me to use a low sensitivity and, as a result, achieve a higher definition? or, Is there too little light and I'm going to have to use a tripod or a high sensitivity?
We will see examples of the same photograph taken at different moments during the day. We will analyse these photographs for you to have a better idea of how daylight changes and which would the best moments to take pictures be.
We will also analyse the disadvantages and advantages of shooting photographs at different times during the day. And of course, we will see the different exposition options when we are shooting photographs.
First, we will define some terms we will be using in this course.
Intensity: light intensity simply means how strong and potent light is. Light intensity will change in the course of the day; and that is something we can not change. What we can do is know how light varies to be able to control and use that light to achieve better photographs.
Contrast: contrast is the difference found between the brighter parts and darker parts of a photograph, between lights (highlight) and shadows in a photograph or scene. Contrast varies during the day. Contrast will also vary depending on the weather: it is not the same to shoot while there is plenty of sun (sunny day), if its partially or totally clouded (cloudy day).
Colour temperature: as we mentioned in the previous course, colour temperature is the colour of light. This will also vary depending on the point we are during the day. If we take a photograph at Noon under the sun and another one at Noon under a shade, the colour temperature will also be different (see the lesson on Noon). The colour temperature of sunlight is not the same at dawn as it is at Noon.
Direction: light direction changes during the day. This is something photographers can control (except in summer, at noon, when the sun is directly over our heads). We need to begin observing the different types of illumination we can achieve depending on the direction of the light illuminating our subject or object. It is not the same to illuminate a subject directly (light in front of the object/subject), than illuminate the subject/object from the side or with counter-light (light source found behind the object/subject).
We will discuss these 4 topics in this course.