Light Is The Soul Of \u00a0A Photograph Photographic camera isn\u2019t focused on any image; there\u00a0\u00a0 is no line, form or texture for it. Digital sensor or film can take only the photon flux, which is projected by the camera lens. The light is more important than the subject, because we can\u2019t see the subject itself, we can see only the light which subject reflects. Beginner photographers notices the subject, and the professional one follows the light. Before explaining the directions of light, let me give an idea about light, and its characteristics. Photo courtesy: Pedro Mart\u00edn via Flickr Characteristics of light The first and foremost thing you should know about light is its quality. One of the most common mistakes beginners make is the choice of light quality. When the quality of light is bad, the photograph will not look good no matter how good the subject is. Light can be direct and diffused. Direct light creates strong shadows while diffused light creates soft shadows. Also, it depends upon the light source and its distance from the subject. The sun, moon, sky, snow, white wall, flash are the light sources for the photographer. The farther the source is to the subject, \u00a0the softer will be the light. However, the light contrast also depends upon the source. The smaller and the farther the light source is the harder and more contrasting will be the light. Photo Credits: Michael Woloszynowicz \/500px For example, if you make a portrait in a studio with a flash without any reflectors, the light will be very hard i.e. one part of the face will be brighter and the other side will be dark. \u00a0It would be better to put a diffuser on the flash, then the light becomes softer, because the size of the source becomes bigger. Understanding the inverse square law will help you to know the characteristics of light. It is very significant in photography. It goes like this: the light intensity is inversely related to the squared distance from its source. In other words, when the distance between light-source and subject is doubled, the intensity of light falling on the subject will be reduced to four times. The Three Directions of Light There are mainly three directions of light: \tFront light \tSide light \tBack light These three light direction can come directly (from light source) or indirectly (reflected light). Let me explain briefly about the light directions. Front light When the light source is on the front of subject or the light coming from the forward direction of the subject, it is called front lighting. Front lighting is very common as when you face the sun, an artificial light source, or flash. Front lighting creates highlights on the subject leaving shadows behind. This makes the image looks \u2018flat\u2019 or low contrast. Photo Credits: Michael Flaherty\/500px Side light Side lighting, as the name says, is when the light coming from the subject\u2019s side \u2013 either directly or indirectly. This type of light can be more expressive than the front lighting if you use it skillfully. It creates highlights on the side where it falls leaving shadows on the opposite side. For example, say,if you li on the right side of your friend\u2019s face, then the shadows forms on the left side of the face. This property increases the image. So you should be very careful with the choice of exposition . The lateral light is perfect for the photos with the texture and pattern like wood, sand, mountains. Eventhough it is not a common choice of light for portrait photography, you can add drama to your portraits if you use it properly. Photo Credits: Stefan Thaler\/500px Backlight A subject is backlit when the light source is behind the subject. Backlighting is tricky as it confuses the camera\u2019s light meter. Common examples are when you pose for a photography with sunset as backdrop. Backlight creates strong silhouette\u00a0thereby making interesting images. Photo Credits: Irawan Subingar\/500px Your turn Now that you know the three different directions of light, it is your turn to try it out. You can try these by changing the direction of light sources. It will help you to know how the direction of light creates highlights and shadows. Changing the direction of light creates different images with the same subject. If you have any queries, please drop them as comments. About the author Paul Smith is a writer at essay writing services uk. He is an interesting person, fond of photography, travelling and have several articles about it.