The Difference Light Makes


Below are two photographs of a house in my neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They were both shot with a 35mm lens, with me standing in about the same spot, at the same time of day, but on different days. The first was shot on a cloudy, overcast afternoon. The second was done on a sunny afternoon.


Click images to see a larger view.


Photograph of a house on an overcast day.

The house photographed in the soft light of a cloudy, overcast afternoon.


Photograph of a house on a sunny day.

The house photographed in the harsher light of a sunny afternoon.


What a big difference the change in light makes!

The first one has soft light that flattens the scene; while the second has harsher light that creates deeply shadowed areas and makes the white house stand out in the scene to a much greater degree than in the overcast light. Which one is better? The answer is that neither is better! That's an artistic judgement. Some people will prefer the first one, others the second. I usually prefer to work in overcast light, but bright sun can be very beautiful for architecture and landscape work.

A lot of photographers don't put as much thought into light as they should. It makes as much, if not more of a difference, than choice of film or developer or gear...all of which are obsessed over by many.

I often photograph the same place in different light to see how it changes the look of things. Sometimes I will find an interesting place when the light is not what I want, so instead of photographing it in bad light, I'll note the location and go back another time. Patience is key! I have, in some instances, waited MONTHS to get the light I wanted on a particular scene.





The knowledge that I am sharing took many years of study and practice to attain. If you find it valuable, please donate through my Paypal button below. My creative work is how I support myself and my son. Thank you!






©2022 Christopher Crawford