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  • Creative Lighting


    Creative Lighting Digital Photography Tips & Techniques

    One of a photographer’s most essential skills is the ability to accurately and creatively observe light. Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques explains the impact of light whether you are using natural light when photographing landscapes, or using strobes and soft boxes in the studio.

    From observation comes the ability to manipulate. You’ll learn how to use exposure settings that have the most impact on lighting, and the best ways to take advantage of—and enhance—existing light in the fi eld. You’ll also fi nd out how to plan photography around natural lighting from the cycle of days and seasons, and discover the best techniques for rendering light in motion from car headlights and other moving objects.

    Moving indoors, Creative Lighting shows you how to take advantage of ambient light, and use continuous lighting and strobes to make the most powerful images possible.

    Richly illustrated with Harold Davis’s beautiful images, Creative Lighting explores exposure and how to effectively use many kinds of lighting, as well as creating and using shadows and refl ectivity. Then it takes you into the digital darkroom where you’ll fi nd out how to enhance lighting effects with Adobe Photoshop.

    The technical details are here, too: for each photo in this book you’ll fi nd the focal length of the lens used, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and the back story behind the image.

    Learn to “see” light and its impact on photos

    Use natural light to make spectacular images

    Plan your photos around light and lighting

    Use exposure controls to enhance lighting

    Explore chiaroscuro, shadow, high-key and low-key lighting

    Enhance lighting with multi-RAW and HDR processing


    $29.99 US/$35.99 CAN

    Visit our Web site at

    D igital Photography Tips &


    Harold Davis is an award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of more than 30 books, including Creative Portraits: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques, Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques, and Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques. Harold writes the popular Photoblog 2.0,

    Creative Lighting Digital Photography Tips & Techniques


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  • Creative Lighting

    Harold Davis

    Digital Photography Tips & Techniques

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  • 4 Creative Lighting

    Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques by Harold Davis

    Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. 10475 Crosspoint Boulevard Indianapolis, IN 46256

    Copyright © 2011 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana All photographs © Harold Davis

    Published simultaneously in Canada

    ISBN: 978-0-470-87823-1

    Manufactured in the United States of America

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    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 750-4744. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Legal Department, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46256, (317) 572-3447, fax (317) 572-4355, or online at

    Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. The fact that an organization or Web site is referred to in this work as a citation and/or a potential source of further information does not mean that the author or the publisher endorses the information the organization or Web site may provide or recommendations it may make. Further, readers should be aware that Internet Web sites listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it is read.

    For general information on our other products and services or to obtain technical support, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at (800) 762-2974, outside the U.S. at (317) 572-3993 or fax (317) 572-4002.

    Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books.

    Library of Congress Control Number: 2011920610

    Trademarks: Wiley and the Wiley Publishing logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley and Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc. is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book.

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  • 5

    Front piece: On my belly in wet grass, I pointed a telephoto macro lens directly at the rising sun, captured through the blades of grass and water drops. I intentionally used shallow focus to emphasize the refractions created by the sunlight. 200mm macro, 1/640 of a second at f/5 and ISO 100, tripod mounted

    Title page: To get the lighting right, I combined an exposure of the rising full moon with a longer exposure (to let more light in) of the San Francisco skyline. 400mm, 2 combined exposures at 1/30 of a second and 1/2 of a second, each exposure at f/5.6 and ISO 400, tripod mounted

    Above: The lighting was perfect on these water drops caught in a spider’s web in the sunshine following a brief shower. 200mm macro lens, 24mm extension tube, close-up filter, 1/2 of a second at f/32 and ISO 200, tripod mounted

    Page 6: To bring out the drama inherent in this model’s eyes and hair, I posed her so that her face was in the lighting but the background disappeared into dark shadows. 200mm, 1/160 of a second at f/5.6 and ISO 100, hand held


    Special thanks to Courtney Allen, Graham Bird, Mark Brokering, Steven Christenson, Gary Cornell, Barry Pruett, Sandy Smith, and Matt Wagner.


    Acquisitions Editor: Courtney Allen

    Project Editor: Matthew Buchanan

    Technical Editor: Chris Bucher

    Copy Editor: Matthew Buchanan

    Editorial Manager: Robyn Siesky

    Business Manager: Amy Knies

    Senior Marketing Manager: Sandy Smith

    Vice President and Executive Group Publisher: Richard Swadley

    Vice President and Publisher: Barry Pruett

    Book Designer: Phyllis Davis

    Media Development Project Manager: Laura Moss

    Media Development Assistant Project Manager: Jenny Swisher

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  • Contents

    8 Introduction

    10 Seeing the Light

    12 Quality of Light

    12 Understanding Light

    16 Characteristics of Light

    18 The Golden Hour

    22 Intensity of Light

    28 Direction of Light

    34 Color of Light

    40 Diffusion

    44 Backlighting

    46 High-Key and Low-Key Lighting

    50 Chiaroscuro

    52 Understanding Refl ectivity

    56 Transparency versus Opacity

    60 Lure of Shadows

    64 Light and the Monochromatic Vision

    68 Exposure and Lighting

    70 Understanding Exposure

    74 Overexposure and Underexposure

    78 Using a Histogram

    82 Aperture

    84 Aperture, Depth-of-Field, and Focus

    86 Working with Shutter Speed

    92 ISO

    94 Causes of Noise

    98 Using Exposure Controls with Lighting

    102 White Balance and Color

    108 Pre-Visualizing the Impact of Lighting

    112 Working with Ambient Light

    114 Understanding Ambient Light

    120 Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

    122 Landscapes

    126 City Light

    132 Close-Ups and Macros

    136 Using a Fill Lighting

    142 Using Flash as Suppl