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12 Light Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

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Working with light is a great way to introduce different elements into your pictures. But while light is a great tool to have at your disposal, it can be challenging to take your pictures to the next level.

This guide can give you a few different ideas that you can use as inspiration. So, check them out, then go see what you can create!

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The 12 Light Photography Ideas

1. Write With Light

Ease of Completion Challenging
Creativity Level High

We tend to think that we can’t manipulate light that much. But with photographs, we can! Writing with light is a great way to get creative with your messaging. You can use it in many different ways, so try it out and see what you can do!


2. Use Natural Light

Ease of Completion Easy
Creativity Level Low

Sometimes all you need to do to get great light elements in your photos is to use what’s already there. Natural lighting is great for photographs, and you can mix things up too. Combine natural light with a single light exposure, or find ways to filter out some of the light.


3. Use Shadows

Ease of Completion Easy
Creativity Level Low

Sometimes the best way to use light in your photos is to take it out of certain areas. Shadows are powerful in photographs, and while they typically represent darkness, you need light to make that stand out.


4. Use Just One Light

Ease of Completion Easy
Creativity Level Low

Typically, it’s about eliminating shadows to get the perfect picture. But with one-light photography, you get to use them in unique ways. So, experiment with different one-light setups, and see what kinds of pictures you can get.


5. Get Close to the Subject

Ease of Completion Easy
Creativity Level Low

Both micro and macro photography involve getting close to the subject, and no matter which one you go with, you can use light in a unique way. You can try to shine light completely through different objects or use shadows on a much smaller level. Either way, you’re going to get great pictures.


6. Paint With Light

Ease of Completion Challenging
Creativity Level High

You can write different words with light, but if you want to take things a step further, try creating pictures with light. You can either add different elements to the existing background or try to create entire scenes with light.

It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but if you pull it off, it can be a great way to get unique pictures.


7. Edit Away

Ease of Completion Easy to challenging
Creativity Level Low to high

There are many ways that you can edit the existing light in your photos. You can brighten things up to help remove shadows or darken them to highlight other areas.

You can also add light elements to different areas in your pictures or create artificial lighting. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but with photo-editing software, your only limitations are your skill level and creativity.


8. Use Silhouettes

Ease of Completion Easy
Creativity Level Mid-range

Silhouettes help you look differently at the things that you see every day. You can use full or partial silhouettes — it’s all about manipulating where the light hits. You’ll need to find ways to get the silhouettes that you want, but the results will be impressive photos.


9. Go Abstract

Ease of Completion Mid-range
Creativity Level High

Abstract photography can be challenging to create, but there are many different ways that you can use light to get the results that you want. Whether you’re distorting light with water or finding ways to shift the focus, get creative and go abstract with light!


10. Use Artificial Light

Ease of Completion Easy
Creativity Level Low

While natural light is excellent for photographs when you’re trying to get creative with light, using artificial light is also a great way to go. Different light sources project in different ways, giving off various hues, levels of warmth, and brightness. Mix up the light source, and see what kinds of pictures you can get!


11. Add a Starburst

 

Ease of Completion Mid-range
Creativity Level Low

For most pictures, you don’t want a starburst from light because it makes it hard to see everything. But when you’re deliberately trying to get a starburst, it’s not always the easiest thing to capture!

Still, with enough practice and hard work, you can pull it off and capture a starburst in a unique position that makes for an outstanding photo.


12. Use Lamps

Ease of Completion Easy
Creativity Level Low

You can either highlight the lamp in the photo or use the light from the lamp. Either way, it’s a great way to take different photos that highlight the subject in a new way. Experiment with moving the lamp around to catch different areas in a new light, and see what you like and don’t like with the pictures.

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Conclusion

With so many great ideas out there, it’s up to you to make the most of them. Try pairing a few or just take elements from various ones. Mix things up, try new things, and find something that works.

Getting creative with your pictures is essential to making them stand out, so see what you can do with a camera and a unique twist on light!


Featured Image Credit: goodluz, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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