You are currently viewing The Photographer’s Eye – photography /fəˈtɑːgrəfi/ noun

The Photographer’s Eye – photography /fəˈtɑːgrəfi/ noun

As part of a series of articles designed to help you take better images, Anne Watson, of the Whitley Bay Photographic Society, explores light.

The Latin translation of Photography is ‘light writing’. Reach for a dictionary and you’ll see the modern interpretation as being ‘Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or by means of a light-sensitive photographic film’. Photography is all about your camera or smartphone capturing light – and light and colour are inextricably linked together. A bright summers day gives the amateur photographer greater light, shadow and colour options to play with whereas a dull day with poor light can be the time for moody atmospheric black and white photographs. 

Photographers use light to direct the eye of the viewer to the chosen subject area as bright areas attract attention while our eyes and brain tend to ignore darker areas. 

Another technique to help attract the viewer’s attention is the use of warm colours such as red, orange, yellow and magenta. 

Hopefully we’ll have a few more sunny days before autumn arrives but the harsh midday sunlight in summer can bring challenges for amateur photographers as it creates very strong shadows. 

Tips: To avoid your subject being lost in the shadows – try placing the sun behind you so your subject is evenly lit. If the sun is very strong then place your subject in any shade that’s handy as you don’t want to photograph them squinting. A creative use of the sun can be to place it behind your subject and to photograph it side on to capture both the subject and the shadows created. 

And a final tip is to avoid standing too close to your subject, with the sun behind you, as you’ll want to avoid capturing your own shadow by mistake!

Experiment with how light affects your subjects at different times of the day and evening and most of all ~ have fun with your camera knowing that you’re ‘writing with light’.

If you’re interested in joining the Whitley Bay Photographic Society, please visit