What's the Most Important Aspect of Photography?


Light. Light is the most important aspect of photography. By far. If you think about it, light is what the camera's sensor absorbs to create the actual image, but beyond that, it's light that can make or break a shot. Think about the different types of light different times of day can offer. Morning light is good, it evokes a certain type of feeling. Bright afternoon sunshine isn't often the best type of lighting for photography, but if you're shooting kid beach models, it's perfect. The golden hour, as they call it, is highly sought after in photography because the light is colorful and soft and enveloping. If you think about the light that streams through a window as the sun is falling, you'll understand what I'm talking about here.

So many budding photographers wonder what they're doing wrong when their photos don't come out as appealing as photos they've seen put out by the pros. They think it's their cameras that are all wrong or perhaps it's their lenses. Maybe they don't know enough. I can tell you from personal experience that you can take wonderful photos with the cheapest of cameras and they'll look incredible if taken at the right time of day. And not only that, the right season. There's nothing like the golden hour in November in the northeast U.S. If you step outside the front door of where you're living and say, "Oh, that's pretty. That's nice light," you better run back inside to grab your camera. Prepare for these times and take full advantage of them.

If you capture two identical photos at two different times of the day, you'll see two drastically different results. Let's say you take the first shot of some beautiful mountains at high noon. Your image will end up rather bright and cool looking. The sky will be blue and, in my opinion, will appear sort of normal. Now, if you wait for the sun to almost set and take the same shot from the same position, the image will appear completely different. The mood will have varied and I'm sure people will much prefer the second photo. The light will be much warmer and the entire atmosphere will turn from normal to incredible. If you don't believe me, just search "Golden Hour Photography" on Google. Go to the images to see what I'm talking about. Even the most inexperienced photographer is able to succeed during this time of day.

So that's my advice for you if you're a beginning photographer. Take notice of the light in your scene and play off it. If you're shooting in the afternoon, perhaps wait a few hours until the sun begins to fall. Take some more shots then and compare the two times of day. This is the way we learn and become awesome photographers. Thanks for reading!