Photography Exposure and Lighting Essentials

Illuminate Your Photography

How to Illuminate Your Photography by Learning to Recognize, Manage and Manipulate Light in all Photo Environments

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

George Eastman, founder of Kodak.


Light makes up our visual world, and the framing and managing of that light is our mission as photographers. Our photographic lighting influences not only brightness and darkness, but also tone, mood, and atmosphere. You can also use light to give texture and vibrancy to your image and make your subjects more luminous.

Photography is essentially a record of light in a given place and time. It is, in fact, the light that bounces off our scene and subject that our camera’s record. Without light, we would have no image. With bad lighting, we will only be allowed to produce sub-par images.

With optimal lighting, our end result can be a frozen treasure in time. In other words, good photography starts with good lighting and with good image exposure.

Lighting refers to the ambient light in your scene as well as the direct illumination of your subject. Likewise, exposure settings refer to your camera’s ability to record that light in that given situation, based on your preferences. It allows you to combine not only what you see, but how you see it.

Proper Exposure and Lighting is what can make the difference between simple picture-taking and inspiring photography.

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What you can expect from this Photography Lighting and Exposure Essentials Course?

This is a course for Light Stalkers everywhere!

The content of this course is designed to help you See, Capture, and Enhance the Light in your Scene. You will learn why, when, and where the optimal lighting can be obtained and you will have the techniques to do so.

If you already have some experience in photography and want to improve, or if you are just starting out, this course will ground you in your exposure controls. It will also help you recognize and maximize existing and artificial light sources. You will also know how to use and interpret your light meter and histograms. But the fun really starts when we explore the qualities of light and experiment with Light Trails, Bouncing Light with the help of Reflectors and Using Light as your canvas with Light Painting.

This course is highly visual and is meant to stimulate and inspire you with ideas about how to use light in your own work. Also included in the course are interactive quizzes, assignments, and challenges to help keep you motivated along the way.

What do you need for this course?

Beginners and Amateur photographers with gain tremendously by laying for themselves a solid foundation in Exposure Settings and Lighting.

To best learn these fundamentals I recommend participating in this course with a camera that allows for manual settings.

This can be either a DSLR digital single-reflex camera, or even an analog film SLR single-reflex camera. Working with film these days can be an acquired taste and it can be a costly endeavor, but it certainly has it awards.

For a good run down of recommended cameras check out this link for camera reviews..


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However, if you don’t have a single-reflex camera, time, or money to buy one, or if you don’t have an old hand-me-down film camera, you can also download one of a number of apps on your smartphone to give you some manual controls and allow you to follow along and get down and dirty with the basics of Exposure Settings.

Here is also a good rundown of several apps for Android and Iphone.

Optional equipment but not required are a camera flash, internal or external, a tripod, and a light reflector. If you don’t have these on hand, there are always hacks and ways around it which we will cover in the course.

Topics Include:

  • Identifying Light Source and Direction.
  • Mastering your Light Meter.
  • Light Painting.
  • Understanding the Exposure Triangle.
  • Hard vs Soft Light.
  • Bouncing Light.
  • 3-Point Lighting Systems.
  • How and When to use Flash.

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About the Author

Born in Chicago, I received my B.A. in Studio Arts with a concentration in Photography from Oberlin College. In 2001, I moved to Amman, Jordan where I worked both as a contemporary artist and as a photojournalist. I exhibited my photography in numerous exhibitions throughout the Middle East and internationally.Eventually, I became the lead photographer for a Jordanian Lifestyle Magazine and Photo Editor for two regional publications: a Fashion Magazine and a Men’s Magazine. This allowed me to gain a second editorial eye for photography, as I regularly organized, commissioned, and published photoshoots from other talented photographers in the region.While in Jordan, I also began teaching courses and workshops on Drawing, Seeing with Perspective, and Photography. I consider my teaching style to be somewhat radical but very effective and have received much positive feedback from my students through the years, who in turn became professional artists themselves.In 2007, I moved to Berlin, Germany where I am currently based, and while I continue to expand my own fine art photography and contemporary art practices, I gain special joy and satisfaction from sharing my experiences and knowledge with my students.

To see more of my personal artwork click here.

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