The Emotion of Light

George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, the company that popularised photography once said:

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

It was a little under half way through my photographic career that I came to realise how accurate this statement was. A knowledge of light is fundamental to our understanding of photography but it goes beyond that. Light isn’t just a physical property of transmission, reflection or refraction, it is also an ‘emotion’ and by that I mean it induces emotion in a similar way to music.

How does it do this? Well part of it is imprinting, in that we become familiar through culture to certain styles or moods that light conveys and part of it is actual science in that the human brain is pre-programmed to perceive visual stimuli in a certain ways for survival reasons.

The bottom line of all of this is how can this influence our photography? How can we use this knowledge to harness the power of light to create better images?

In this unique workshop I will be answering those questions (and more), through a series of presentations as well as practical lighting demonstrations.

In this live photography show you’ll learn the following:

  •  Human visual response to light
  •  Theory of color — juxtposing & complimentary colors and their effects
  •  Directional light and its impact
  •  How to control shadows
  •  Using negative fill to control light
  •  Simulating sunlight with a single light
  •  How to control light in small studio spaces
  •  Using reflectors and flags
  •  Lighting modifiers & their effects
  •  The best modifiers for soft light
  •  How to work with & balance multiple lights
  •  Four different lighting setups for effective portrait photography

This photography class is a must-watch for those wanting to understand the emotion of light and how to use it to best effect. More information on the theory of light can be found in Chapter One of our portrait photography section.

If you have any questions regarding this course use the comments area below.


  1. What would I search for to find the floor support stands your used to hold your 2″ thick poly boards up?

    1. Hi Keith, most studios get them custom made by a metal work shop (as I did with mine). I’ve seen some studios use bike stands that hold the front wheel of a bike.

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