What is ambient light?

Interior architecture
Ambient light simply means taking pictures using the light already there in the scene. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Quite literally, photography means ‘drawing with light’ and if you break the process down, you never take a shot of a scene or subject – you only photograph the light reflecting off it! With this in mind, it’s worth thinking about the nature of the light bouncing off your chosen target: what is its source, and is it natural or artificial?

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Jon Adams

Jon started out as a film-maker, working as a cameraman and video editor before becoming a writer/director. He made corporate & broadcast programmes in the UK and Middle East, and also composed music, writing for TV, radio and cinema. Jon worked as a photographer and journalist alongside this, and took his video skills into magazine publishing, where he edited the Digital Photo magazine for over 15 years. He is an expert in photo editing, video making and camera techniques.