Photography Tips – Understanding Light (Pt 1b) Appropriate Light

I can’t over emphasis how important light is if you want to get that wow factor into your pictures, it’s more important than expression, sometimes composition, location, it certainly more important than a whole
host of menu settings you may find in the back of your camera. If you start shooting pictures in light that’s inappropriate to the subject you’re shooting, the pictures going to be dull, mediocre at best. When you’re out there all around the world shooting in available light, you need to plan ahead you have to think
about what you’re going to do, you often have to think on your feet because when the light changes, what you were going to shoot you may not be able too, you’re gonna have to choose something else. You’ll also have to be very patient, this row of trees caught my eye on a dull cloudy day and as you can see the picture itself is pretty dull but I could see the brightness sweeping the hill side beyond so I settled down to wait to see if one would reach my trees, took about an hour and a half for the gap in the clouds to let the sun come through in just the right place but because I had the composition already set up on a tripod all I had to do was press the shutter as the sun reached the trees. Big colourful subjects like these balloons not only need big strong sunlight to saturate the colours it needs to be at a low angle to make the textures more interesting too. See how the sun’s lighting them from the side, the same shot from mid day wouldn’t be anything like as exciting because the light would be coming straight down. Most of our day to day lives are spent with the sun directly over head, so we’re going out and shooting a
picture when it isn’t, you can instantly make a shot like this stand out from the rest of the crowd. I found these cans in a recycling sack about six thirty a.m one summers morning and the same things going on here, the lights coming from the sun low in
the sky and hitting them from the side which brings out the color and texture. If you’re into nature photography look out for those morning pools of light coming through trees, and it puts highlights on the plants. These shots were taken at expery gardens at six a.m in June, so the sun was low and slarnty and spotlighty and in tiny areas like a stage light. You have to stay alert and move pretty quick when you spot one because they don’t stay still after a few moments that they have moved. As we walk around the world just looking at things about us, we don’t tend to notice what the light’s doing beyond whether it’s bright or whether it’s dark, but they’re qualities of different light and you can find all sorts of interesting light in all sorts of interesting and very various places. Behind me I’ve got the ancient city gate to Southampton and there’s all sorts of things happening on this wall, now look over here we’ve got a very angled sun and it’s coming across those stones and it’s putting these sorts of highlights across it and it’s making it very textured, so if you’ve got a texture to show that’s kind of great light. Back here a bit you’ve got this corner where my hand is and it’s in shade, that’s a very soft flat light, if you look at the stones there’s no real texture to them like there is there. That’ll be great for a very soft and
subtle subject like maybe flowers or maybe even a portrait, up this end here we’ve got the sun hitting it smack on the wall like that, face on, which on the stones is not brilliant because they’ve lost all of there shape and texture but it would be a great place to maybe put a a model leaning up against the wall with some sun glasses on. Just sort of looking up like that, and shoot it in from the side. And then all this very rough and rocky bit here it’s really bringing out the texture because it’s all these highlights glancing off these nobbles and it really makes for a very very very textured shot. By playing around and experimenting with all these different pieces of light you’ll get to learn what is appropriate light for the shot you want to take and an appropriate is the key word here.


  1. allan valenzona October 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    im a newbie in photography… your tutorials/videos really are a very big help… thank you very very much = ) …

  2. Leonardo Abreu October 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Be my uncle? 🙂

  3. GabrielKnightz October 11, 2012 at 9:29 am

    This was uploaded yesterday, it never showed up in my sub box.
    Glad i saw it the related videos list.

  4. Elizabeth Photog November 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    lovely video!!

  5. Mike Browne November 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Thank you

  6. Carlos Giovanni Salvatori January 18, 2013 at 12:08 am

    You're great! I just figured there's still a lot I have to learn about lighting.

  7. Mike Browne January 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you. Light is THE most important thing of all and for most of us it takes a lot of practise. And there's always more to learn. Myself included – Mike

  8. Mike Browne February 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you

  9. Steve Austin March 3, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Great tutorials altogether Mike, as a beginner photographer I appreciate your wellmade vids. You put a lot of work in them, and they are very understandable. I have recommended them allready to a few of my eveningclass colleagues.

  10. Mike Browne March 5, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you Juan. And please keep recommending us anywhere that's appropriate. many thanks again – Mike

  11. Mike Browne April 23, 2013 at 11:56 am


  12. Radek Szmid July 14, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Mike, the way you talk and explain is just amazing! It is enjoyable, funny and of course very informative. You speak so clearly which is a big plus for non-english ppl. You're definitely a gifted teacher:) Thanks for your effort! Best wishes to you and Jayne:)

  13. Mike Browne July 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Thank you

  14. Vikdaddy July 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    1.55-58 Mike reads from script! 🙂

  15. Guichet Studios July 23, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I'm just learning with you . thank you Mr. Browne 🙂

  16. Mike Browne July 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Pleasure Mr amirpiloo 🙂

  17. Mike Browne July 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Yup he sure does 😉

  18. sudheer gk August 24, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Ty so much sir…. Ur way of explaining things are too good for a beginner like myself… Thanks

  19. Mike Browne August 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm


  20. Tony Badcock September 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Mike, really appreciate all the hard work you put into these tutorials and how you break the topics down into easy to digest, bite sized pieces. Many of the tutorials talk about "planning" the shot, e.g. waiting for the right light, which could take hours or even days. Sometimes we don't have the luxury of being able to plan, especially as a "tourist" when you may only be somewhere for a few hours. Any hints on "making the most" of a situation and the available light would be greatly appreciated

  21. Mike Browne September 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you Tony. When shooting as a tourist it's hard because there's nothing you can do – you're there when you're there. Unfortunately there's no way around light though apart from going back when it's better. Nice idea for a vid though. I'll give it some thought. Now all I need is a nice holiday, somewhere hot and sunny would do nicely 🙂

  22. BenCrabb1 September 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    How professional can one be fantastic tutorials mike.

  23. Mike Browne October 5, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Thank you

  24. Mohd Zulkamal Radzi December 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    good info

  25. Fang-Zhou Jiang June 4, 2014 at 11:27 am

    very informative 

  26. Peter Nappa January 1, 2015 at 5:16 am

    I learnt more in 3.33 minutes about light than I have in the last 3.33 years.

  27. pei broker March 4, 2015 at 12:15 am

    you are helping me learn about light, thank you…

  28. Venkatesh Makina February 5, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Can't Thank you enough for the wonderful information you are providing….

  29. martin van rumt April 24, 2016 at 10:01 am

    hi i learn aboutyour  lessons but  i have problems in low light  in a concert I have pictures made iso 5000   f  3.5 60 s i have good pictures but the noise how rudeuce that i have phpotoshop elements 14 must  I get lightroom is that better?

  30. Ion Petrisor May 12, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Thanks! Really helpful!

  31. tectorama July 4, 2016 at 9:28 am

    The biggest problem with getting the "right" light, is that we tend to visit places of interest in the daytime, when the light is bright.
    Yesterday (3rd July) was a lovely day here in Essex, so I said to my wife that we could go to our local beauty spot of Hadleigh Castle (Essex) and take some sunset pictures. Of course sods law meant that the clouds started to roll in around 6pm.
    I looked out of the window just before 8pm and the sky had magically cleared. So grab camera, jump in van and head to Hadleigh. Now I must have taken literally hundreds of pictures at this location, but on this evening it looked totally different, with the sun starting to go down over the Olympic Mountain bike course. The colours and shadows were truly amazing. With the light changing so quickly. Even though I say it myself, I took a lot of great pictures.
    I just need to make the effort to get up for some sunrise shots.

    Keep up the great work Mike…………… Alan Radley

  32. Barry Lambert December 22, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Hi mike, have you made any videos on black and white photography, ive look on you page but cant find any. i would also like to wish you and your family a very merry christmas and a happy new year

  33. yujin landscape photography. June 10, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Hi Mike, Really helpful. Thank you!

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