4 Less Popular Types of Lighting Every Photographer Should Know

How can you, as a photographer, best use lighting to your advantage? Working with different kinds of light can be a challenge for even the most seasoned photographers. This often leads to a common suggestion: “Point your shadow at the subject.” Yet certain underutilized less popular types of lighting can actually enhance your photographs.

macro photography bokeh flower dahlia - Types of Lighting

In this article, you’ll get tips for working with four different types of natural lighting, including shade, overcast light, and strong backlighting. Hopefully, you’ll come away with the know-how and inspiration to start using more creative lighting in your own photographs.

macro photography bokeh flower tulip - Types of Lighting

1. Shade plus front light

By “shade plus front light” I’m referring to the lighting situation when the sun is behind you (and coming over your shoulder), but the subject is shaded. That is, the sun would normally front light the subject, but it is blocked by an object.

macro photography bokeh flower trout lily - Types of Lighting

I shaded this trout lily with my body, resulting in a shaded subject and a well-lit background.

Many photographers like to ignore shaded subjects. However, I love this lighting situation for a few reasons.

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