How does lighting effect the outcome of a photograph?

Without light, you will have no photo. Without proper lighting, the image won’t be perfect. The use of lighting has a massive effect on how the image will come out. Basically how a camera works is it intakes light to produce the photo and the less light there is, the longer the shutter has to be open for to intake enough light, which can cause the image to be blurry if handheld. In a dark image, you can make the ISO higher to lighten the image more but this will cause the image to be more grainy. (ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor).


Using the in-built flash for close photos like portraits in a not so bright area is always the best option in my opinion because you get a much more clear, crisp image with lots of detail vs. a grainy, dark image without the flash.

Using flash is also good for brightening the foreground or subject of an image making the overall image look better and drawing more attention to the subject.

Without Flash With Flash

Shutter speed

Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter is open, intaking light. Very high shutter speed means the shutter isn’t open for very long, meaning the camera doesn’t take in much light from the image. High shutter speeds are used to freeze objects and give them definition. To take a photo with a high shutter speed, you need to brighten the subject to allow for a crisp image.

For example, in this picture if there was no added lighting, you would only be able to see a small light where the brightest part of the flame is. But by adding external lighting behind the camera, we can see get a clear image of the lighter and all of the sparks.


Strategically using light in certain images can be very effective with shadows. Shadows in photography can help give the image some depth and a more 3 dimensional feel. Subtle shadows in portraits can provide a sense of shape. It’s the way light is used in combination with shadows that make the subject come to life.

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