The black and white photographer’s guide to light and contrast

The black and white photographer's guide to light and contrast

Understanding point source lighting

Understanding point source lighting

On a clear day the sun acts as a very hard ‘point source’ which casts strong, dense shadows, as with the shadow of this rusted iron hoop.

If you want to see what ‘point source’ lighting looks like, just go out on a sunny day.

The sun actually forms a disc in the sky rather than a point source, but it’s small enough to be considered a point for our purposes.

Point sources produce a very harsh light with clear, sharp shadows.

The difference in brightness between sunlit areas and shadows on a sunny day can be so extreme that it’s difficult to record both at the same time – there’s more on exposure and dynamic range later in this chapter.

However, a blue sky also produces a small amount of background illumination, and the light reflected from walls, cars, clothing and other items in the scene help raise the illumination levels in the shadows, and this does reduce the overall contrast levels and make them easier to manage.

PAGE 1: The black and white photographer’s guide to lighting direction
PAGE 2: The black and white photographer’s guide to light quality
PAGE 3: Understanding point source lighting
PAGE 4: Working with natural light in black and white
PAGE 5: Metering tips for black and white photographers
PAGE 6: Exposure tips for black and white photographers

READ MORE

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