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The Photograph & You >

8 Reasons for Good Photographs >

24.8 - Light

#8: Light

Good light is the most important ingredient in a photograph.

This seems obvious, but perhaps not.

Manu Smith-Palomeque asked, on an online forum, the following question:

Q. Key To A Photograph In ONE more..! What makes an excellent photograph?1

There were seventy-one responses.

Only four people mentioned light.

Of these, none snuck in an extra word by adding adjectives such as good light or great light.


Let's say you're photographing a rose bush in bloom.

The rose was grown from a cutting you made from your great-grandmother's garden.

Her mansion and garden have since become a condominium development.

The light is poor, but you photograph anyways.

You could have waited for the light to change, but you didn't.

A few weeks latter, at the K-Mart garden center, you photograph another rose.

The plant needs to be watered, and it's a common rose.

Yet, sentiment aside, the photograph is better than the one using poor light.

1 Oct 10, 2003,