Understanding Light – its quality
High quality light has no harsh, sharp edges on the shadows. It's soft and there is detail in those shadows - yet the light can still be directional as in theis picture taken in a potter's dusty studio. Photograph by Philip Dunn

Understanding Light – its quality

THE QUALITY OF LIGHT What’s all this about the quality of light? Philip Dunn shows you how to recognise good light - and improve it when it’s not so good. When asked to define the quality of light, there are some photographers who go all precious and claim it’s the sort of thing that only ‘artistic’ people (like themselves presumably) can recognise. Well, as I’m only a simple photographer I’ll try to be a bit more objective.   HARSH OR DIFFUSED LIGHT? I think of the quality of light in terms of its softness or…

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Understanding Light – its direction
It's not just the old man's face and beard that brings impact to this portrait. I is the strong side light. That's what is emphasizing the texture of his skin. I deliberately positioned my subject beside a small window. Photography by Philip Dunn

Understanding Light – its direction

THE DIRECTION OF LIGHT Good light is the photographer’s most vital yet least understood ingredient. It’s more important than a whole bagful of expensive gear. Let's get to grips with the direction of light. Let’s face it, you can’t take photographs without it so the more you get to grips with it the better. An understanding of light will transform the way you see and enable you to express yourself visually. It will help you highlight the vibrancy of colours, create visual mood, pick out the textures of everything from stone walls to wrinkly faces,…

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Mixed Light Photography
Philip Dunn's students get to grips with the technique of using mixed-light

Mixed Light Photography

HOW TO USE MIXED LIGHT Ever wondered how to create those wonderful atmospheric photographs where golden light from a house window streams into the cold, blue light of the street? You must have seen them – National Geographic photographers use this technique all the time when taking pictures of villages or towns. It's called mixed light photography, and advertising photographers use it when photographing hotels and guest houses. It’s a really old trick to make the place look cosy and inviting – the front door is often left open so that yellow light spills out…

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Photo Technique Articles
Mixing the high temperature blue light of early evening with the yellow of artificial tungsten light has added considerably to the atmosphere of this photograph taken for You Magazine

Photo Technique Articles

Photo Technique Articles The old PhotoActive website blog had a vast store of photo technique articles. I am starting here with a clean sheet - a new website, a new base here in Shropshire - and a new plan for the photography courses and workshops. But all those photo-technique articles are just as valid now as they were before. I know for certain that they have helped countless photographers. So my plan is to re-post them here over time. There are many new articles planned to help you improve your photography and enable you to capture…

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Street Photography on the beach
Lovers on the beach - a really intimate picture of two people cuddling up together on a chilly beach near Kirkcudbright in Scotland

Street Photography on the beach

VALENTINES DAY PHOTOGRAPHY As it's Valentine's Day, I thought I would give this old picture another airing. Well, today is all about lovers, after all, so what about a spot of Valentine's Day photography - and what could be more pleasant than photographing lovers on the beach - even if it was a very misty and chilly beach.   Canon Powershot compact digital I took this picture while working alongside one of my one-to-one photography students in Scotland a few years ago. It was captured on one of my favourite little cameras - a Canon…

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So many friends from photography courses

MAKING FRIENDS IN PHOTOGRAPHY Building the new PhotoActive website over the last few days I've been delving into past files in my search for pictures of the many photography holidays, weekends and courses we organised for so many years. So many pictures of friends. So much fun... Ken Terry - who came on our Menorca photography holidays 13 times! Professor Martin Rowe - he came with us to Menorca, Venice and Scotland. He's been here to Shropshire, too, for one-to-one tuition recently. Cathy Robertson, Russell Turner, Joe Banin, John Proud, John Cannon, John Smith, Maria…

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