All Light is Good Light

As a photographer, you are a “Lover of Light”:

An idea:

As photographers, we are lovers of light. And let us realize:

All light is good light.


The word "philosophy" literally means

  • philos (love) + sophia (wisdom)

So philosophy means,

Love of [the pursuit] of wisdom.


For photography, the word means:

  • Photo (light) + graphy (drawing)

Thus photography is the art of drawing (or painting) with light.

What is light?

When we think about light, is there such thing as "good" or "bad" light?

Obviously not. Light is just different.

For example, most photographers think that golden hour (sunrise / sunset) is the "best" light. But in reality, it is just a different type of light; different color and tone.

For example often when we photograph at mid day (noon), the sun is directly above, shining down. This creates more "harsh" shadows. I prefer the concept that it creates more "dramatic" or "angled" light.

In praise of shooting with a flash

The great thing about shooting with a flash is that you can control the light. You become a photo-god (light god).

You can control the drama, the light. Just watch any gangster film (Godfather) or film noir (Third Man) to see how they control the light and shadows to create more dramatic imagery.

Exposure compensation is the key

When you’re shooting during the middle of the day, shoot with -1 or -2 exposure compensation to ensure you don’t "blow the highlights". This will make your photos have a darker, richer, more dramatic image. You can do this with a phone or your standalone digital camera.

Never stop experimenting with the light

When in doubt, experiment shooting with a flash. Shoot with a flash in the middle of the day. Shoot two versions of the same photo: one with flash, and one without flash. Compare them afterwards to see which photo you prefer.

Do you love the light? If so, you’re a photographer!