What’s the first thing that a photographer learns? Photography is primarily about light. Composition and subject selection are important too, but nearly every decision in photography comes down to manipulating light.
Bad light, bad photo. There’s no escaping this truth, which is why you owe it to yourself to learn about one of light’s most fundamental properties: the Inverse Square Law, which sounds scarier than it actually is.
The law in a nutshell: as light travels, it gets exponentially weaker with distance. Common sense says that if the distance from light source to subject doubles, then the brightness should decrease to one-half — but this isn’t the case. The brightness actually decreases to one-quarter.
Simply put, the closer an object is to a light source, the more of a light gradient there will be. Conversely, the farther an object is from a light source, the flatter the light fall-off will be. Want dramatic shadows? Get closer. Want a smoother look? Get farther.
Here’s another tutorial that’ll help cement the concept:
Have you used the Inverse Square Law to improve your photos before? What other lighting tips can you share with us? Drop a comment down below!
Image Credit: Freckled Woman Portrait by Irina Bg via Shutterstock