Main Light and Fill

February 10, 2010

As we have talked about in the past, light is one of the most important things to learn about in photography. Light can be your friend or your enemy, depending upon how well you understand it and how much you are able to use it in your photography.

The other side of light, shadow, can also be very useful; however, today I will discuss the use of light. Light can be categorized in two ways – main light and fill light.

Main light is that light which provides the primary illumination of your subject. Fill light, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like – light that you provide to fill in those areas of your subject that are in shadow.

Main Light Example

Main Light Example

If you look at the photograph on the right you can clearly see an example of main light, that is, the light which is coming from the both the front and right hand side of the child illuminating the image clearly.

You will also notice the shadow of the child extending slightly behind and off to his left. You can see that his pants have a shadow on them, but his face is clearly visible in the photograph. This is because I used fill flash from the camera in order to make sure the child’s face did not have any shadows falling across it.

This is an example of how to use fill flash. Fill flash comes from a flash attachment, usually called a speedlight, attached to the camera and adjustable. By adjustable I mean it can be aimed in one direction or another rather than straight at the subject like you would have from a point-and-shoot camera.

Many times it is beneficial to aim the flash at something above or to either side of your subject, preferably which is white or at least a neutral color, in order to fill in the areas in shadow so that the entire subject can be clearly seen.

If you need to soften the light from the flash, you can diffuse it by placing some type of material between your flash unit and the subject so that the light is softened, eliminating any harsh shadows or washed-out skin tones.

One or two pieces of vellum tape placed across the front of the speedlight can soften the light enough so that your subject does not look star-struck from the flash.

Whether working with direct light or indirect light, it is important that you understand light and how best to incorporate it into your photographs.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Copy the code below to your web site.


No Comments Yet.

Got something to say?

Starter Canon Rebel Camera

Purchasing a digital camera can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Learn what you really need to know when purchasing a digital slr camera for the first time.               read more ...

Don’t Ignore Photographing Your Children!

Childhood is such a precious yet fleeting time. A baby arrives in our life and from then on we are immersed in a   read more...

Pictures On Canvas

Isn’t technology great? Film, slides then images on a computer to share. But those great photographs can do so much more. In the digital age we can use them to decorate our home or office.  read more ...

How To Photograph Your Children

We all love to have wonderful photos of our children, documenting their growing up and preserving the memories of our family lives.   read more...

Unleash Your Creativity

Don't let those great photographs of your children get lost in a drawer! Safely upload them to a trusted, established website with FREE membership to get prints, share and more.   read more ...

Are You Wasting Those Great Photos Of Your Kids?

Once you have taken some gorgeous photos of your children, what do you do with them? Often we download our digital photos ...   read more...