Lighting is one of the most important factors in taking photographs of natural subjects. Unlike with studio shots where you control the lights and the shadows, taking photos outside is a little bit more complicated. In addition to not being able to control your subject, you also have to take into consideration the elements especially the lighting.
Of course for the seasoned photographer, natural light is no longer a hindrance. In fact, most photographers use light to create great effects and put color into an otherwise drab picture. Hence there are photos that play up the shadows or those that capture the different colors of the sky. This is especially true with landscape shots or those that capture flowers and other objects in the environment.
Light can have a lot of sources. In the morning, there is the sunlight while in the evening, there is the moonlight. There is also what photographers call the natural light, which is not as direct as the two previously mentioned. One can use any of these sources of light. The trick is to know how to use it by angling the camera and the subject to achieve the exposure that you want.
This is often done by studying the effect of the light and its corresponding shadows to your subject. For instance, if you want a more dramatic effect, some photographers will use shadows as their main light instead of the natural light.
There are four main directions that photographers must learn in order to take advantage of the light outside. Overhead light for instance has high contrast and harsh shadows. This is achieved when the light is directly above the subject like when it is noontime. Using lights at the front will result with a flat shot.
This is usually seen with shots that use flash in the camera. Often, pictures shot in this direction will lack depth and dimension. Light at the back, on the other hand, may require an additional fill or reflector at the back to bring out the color of the subject. Often, with a light at the back, the shadows may ruin the photo.
Shooting with the light at the side is perhaps the most recommended when it comes to the direction as this will bring out the texture and the shape of the subject that one is using. For instance, with a light on the side, there will be parts that will be highlighted and parts that are not.