TASK 01: BASIC ELEMENTS FOR AN IMAGE
3. BASIC ELEMENTS OF IMAGES
Light is a form of energy. You already know that it moves at the unbelievable speed of 300,000 Km per second. The word photography is formed by the Greek words “photo” which refers to the light and the word “graphos” which refers to drawing, so it means “drawing with light”. Thanks to light we can see what surrounds us. Thanks to light we can see the world in colours.
We can’t have images without colours, lines, shapes textures… but above all we can’t have images without light. It is true we can take photos in the dark with special cameras which use a different type of light the human eye cannot see; that is to say, they also need light.
Airplane shadow. California. National Geographic. Avani Awargay.
The features of the light that strikes an object or subject to be photographed have a decisive influence on both the aesthetic level (on his sense of harmony and beauty) as at the semantic level (what the photo is able to transmit, what it means and how we can read it).
Let’s see some of these features:
Quality of light refers to the effect that your light source creates on your subject. It determines how soft or harsh the light looks in your image. Soft light will have a slow and gradual shift from highlights, to neutrals, to shadows. The shadows will be light and smooth. Harsh light will have a sharp transition from highlights, to neutrals, to shadows. The shadows will be deep and dark.
Example of hard light:
Example of soft light:
Depending on where you get the light to the object, this can be:
- Top lighting – from above in the vertical.
- High-angle lighting (picada in Spanish) – from top to bottom forming an angle.
- Low-angle lighting (contrapicada in Spanish) – from bottom to top forming an angle.
- Front lighting – from the front.
- Backlighting – from behind.
It is the difference in amount of light between the brightest areas of the image and the less enlightened.