The safest and the most conventional way to take successful pictures is with the sun behind you. This is because the majority of the shadows are thrown out of view, behind the subject, and surfaces are relatively evenly lit. Frontal lighting maximises visible detail in the scene and, when direct, provides the strongest colour saturation.
The main disadvantage of frontal lighting is that the lack of shadow means that it cannot provide strong clues to texture and form. If lit from straight on, in fact, buildings can look like two- dimensional cutouts. For this reason, it is better to use frontal lighting if the sun is over your shoulder rather than directly behind you; this slight change in the lighting angle provides sufficient shading to add some feeling of depth and form. Unlike with side lighting and backlighting, frontal lighting creates a scene with a contrast range that a digital camera can easily manage. This means that automatic exposure systems cope well, without need for manual overrides.
Front lighting or Butterfly lighting as it is called, when the light is along the camera axis and a little bit above the subject, creating a butterfly shaped shadow under the nose. Depending upon the height of the light the shadow may be small or may reach up to the lips. This is often used to photograph women to hide the skin texture ( blemishes and imperfections ) which is not desirable in beauty shots.
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Munish Khanna is a well experienced creative photographer based in Delhi, India
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