Class 1 - light
Photography is all about capturing light in it's many different forms. In many regards, this should be the very first thing you learn about. We know however, that this can be a very theoretical subject and you guys are itching to go and and shoot.
With a few practical skills under your belt, learning how to see and identify light should now be quite fun.
Different types of light sources
Anything that gives off light it technically a light source. The two categories of light source are natural and artificial light sources. As you can imagine, the sun and the moon constitute as a natural light source. Artificial light is anything that is man made. This takes forms such as speedlite flashes, strobes, household lighting, street lights.. The list goes on.
Light properties can also be defined into 2 different categories. Hard and soft light. You've probably heard of hard and soft light before, but what are the differences?
Hard light -
Hard light can be identified be the harsh shadows it produces. The shadows have very defined edges with little feathering transition. Small light sources, in relation to the subject, produce hard light.
The sun is a perfect example. While being a gigantic ball of gas, the sun in, relation to a person, is tiny! This means that the light it produces is hard. The sun at midday is higher in the sky, creating an even bigger distance between the light source and the subject, making midday sun light really hard.
Soft light -
Soft light can be identified by the soft shadows and low contrast light it produces. Big light sources, in relation to the subject, create very soft light. Overcast/cloudy days are brilliant examples of soft light. Sunlight gets diffused by the clouds, effectively turning the sky into a huge softbox.
Soft light is typically the go to light for portrait photographers, as it is very flattering. Moving a light source physically closer to a subject will make that light softer.