Lighting is the most powerful tool to capture emotions. Lighting can change the mood, atmosphere, and depth of any illustration. That’s why choosing the lighting during the process of creating an image is so crucial. There is no scene without the light, there is just a black render. By changing the lighting we change our perception of things.
Different lighting, different effect - let me explain what are the main differences for natural light depending on the time of day.
The period shortly after sunrise and before sunset. Lighting during this time of day adds warm color, texture, and depth to the scene. It creates dramatic and artistic images with gentle mood and subtle atmosphere. It works really well in both interior and exterior images.
Also known as dusk or twilight, the period before sunrise and after sunset. During the blue hour, contrast is low and the light casts a cool palette tone. Images occur to be more subdued. This period of time works great with urban and city scenery where soft natural light contrasts with artificial lights coming from street lights and buildings. Excellent idea is to use the blue hour lighting in the interiors where cold natural light is balanced by warm light from the room.
It is the best time for creating general images because the sky casts a slightly more yellow subtle light and eliminates harsh shadows. This type of lighting doesn’t give a moody atmosphere but can work really well, f.ex. if you want to show the space that will be used mainly during the day hours as a balcony, a park or a building of the school.
Between 11 am and 1 pm, it is possibly the worst time for images because of harsh light from the sun. In the images created during these hours, the sunlight that is high above the horizontal line is strong and the shadows are harsh
Photographs wake up before everybody and go back late for a reason. The most beneficial moment from the photographic point of view is when the sun is close to the horizon. In the midday, you should look for photos composed with few simple elements. It is not impossible to find a unique image during this time but it is not a simple task to come up with the outstanding illustration.
When it comes to architectural visualization and you have an opportunity to choose whatever lighting you want, selecting the midday time seems unsupported.
During this time, you can create a unique nighttime image of the city with the colorful lights around or an impressive shot of the interior with exposed indoor lights. It makes the image really special, creates a dramatic, mysterious, and glamour look.
Another important issue is defining the qualities of light. Below I will briefly explain the differences and purposes of this. It can be used both natural and artificial lights.
Conceals information from viewers, making an image appear mysterious, refined and moody. It works well for instance with high-end interiors with additional use of fill lights.
Adds lightness and cheerful mood. If your goal is to create a happy, optimistic, and airy atmosphere, the bright lighting will fit perfectly.
The high contrast images attract attention, look punchy and vibrant. Strong contrast makes an image look dramatic and outstanding. It works well, for instance in interior with bright, warm light during the evening.
If you are looking for a more gentle, intimate and subtle atmosphere, low contrast image can be a good choice. Low contrast images don’t draw attention as the high contrast ones, but well - used can create a subtle, muted, and relaxed mood.
To sum up, lighting plays a key role in creating an image. By changing the type of lighting and chiaroscuro, we can influence how the viewer understand the illustration. Depends on the goal we want to achieve, we can show the same space in many ways. A crucial issue will be decision - what the final output has to be.