26 Weeks Photo Challenge #5: The One Thing All Photography is About / by Simeon Smith

I've no idea who took this photo, I found it on my hard drive.

I've no idea who took this photo, I found it on my hard drive.

Photography is about one thing: Light. 

All we have is a box with a hole in it that captures just one thing: Light. 

That’s the one thing we get: Light. 

Yet often, we think about everything but light. We spend ages finding great subjects and framing them in an interesting way without thinking about light. When we do think about it, it’s often after the light has already arrived at the camera, playing around with aperture, shutter speed, ISO settings, and choosing lenses. 

But how can we affect light before it reaches the camera? 

If you’ve been to a photographic studio, or seen professionals working you’ve probably seen a whole host of artificial lighting options, speed lights, reflectors, backlights, diffusers, etc. But you really don’t need all that stuff to start to think more about light when you’re shooting. If you’re outside, try shooting in the sun and in shadows. Try shooting with the sun in front of you and behind you. If you’re inside, or there is no sun, try using a flash, a torch, a lamp, a window, a TV screen, the fridge. Anything that makes light. Posh reflectors are nice, but the budget version of these is white card. Get creative.

Your challenge this week is to use light in an obvious and planned way to enhance a photo


  1. Is natural light always better? Why or why not?
  2. How important is light to you in your home or place of work? Do you have candles, lamps or shades that you’ve particularly chosen for the quality of light they emit? 
  3. Natural light changes drastically with the seasons. When do your photos look like they were shot? 


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