The moment you take the leap of understanding to realize you are not photographing a subject but are photographing light is when you have control over the medium. – Daryl Benson – Alberta (2004)
and that one thing is lighting. The lighting on your subject(s) needs to be perfect. It can’t be too bright or too low. The effect of light on the subject should be such that it evokes what you want to portray. This takes a bit of experience to judge what is the right amount of light. You best bet as a beginning photographer is to take advantage of your digital camera. Now there are fully automatic and those that aren’t. With the full automatic cameras, you don’t have to do much. That doesn’t mean you get great shots ALL the time. Automattic cameras are challenged when it comes to low light scenes such as indoors and dawn and dusk. So, what do you do with such cameras? If the camera has various scene settings, don’t overlook that feature. Read up your manual and see how to set them. You can get creative also by experimenting with various scene modes.
If you do have a semi-automatic or a fully controllable camera you have several options to control lighting. The idea of the Photography Tips series is to keep it simple so it doesn’t get too technical. The series gives you idea what to look for and you can read up on it when it gets too technical. So with a camera where you can control settings, you can vary aperture and shutter speed. Different combinations let in different amount of light and the effect on the image can be different each time.
One thing to keep in mind is whatever you do don’t let too much light. Too much light will ‘over expose’ the image i.e., it blurs out the details. With less light you can edit the photo in an editor such as the free Picasa and ‘add light’ if you need to.
Another thing about light is the best times of the day to shoot pictures is either near dawn or dusk or when the sun isn’t overly glaring. At dawn and dusk, you can take dramatic photos such as the one in this post that I took on a Sunday evening at a park. You can see the combination of sun and clouds and the trees darkened by the setting sun makes for a creative image.
If you up there in your learning, then adding a filter such as a circular polarizer will filter out some of the glare and retain more detail in the photographs.