Different Times Of Day = Different Light = Different Photos – Photography Experiments

Let’s get started early on today’s photography experiment!

Different Times Of Day = Different Light = Different Photos

The purpose of the 40 Photography Experiments series is not to bring up earth shattering concepts, but to start you looking at light, and how you capture it, in a different way.

Today’s experiment will seem obvious, but it will be helpful to run through it, even if you read the title and commented, “Duh!”

Here’s the experiment you can run:

1) This experiment will go slow, so let’s try Manual Mode today. As the light will be changing in this experiment, you will need to think through changes to Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO as appropriate. If you get stuck, leave a comment and I will help out.
2) Choose a subject which is in an area where light will change during the day. Outside will likely be best, but items inside, with ample windows, work just as well.
3) Shoot your subject at three or four different times of the day. Keep the framing and point of view the same in each image so they match up. In other words; same subject, same camera location. Use a tripod if needed.


Some things to think about while performing this experiment:

  • How is the light helping or hindering your shots?
  • How does the mood in the image change?
  • What would happen if you got obsessive and shot your subject each hour?
  • Get crafty and try this experiment with more than one object at a time.

Here are three shots I took yesterday of a tree out front of my house.

The first two were fairly close together, about two hours apart. But I missed the chance for a sunset shot, opting instead to wait until night and catch the accent lights (with a little bit of camera blur from having the shutter open for .5 seconds and no tripod!).

Same tree, totally different feel.
31+ Days Of Photography Experiments - Different Times Of Day = Different Light = Different Photos

Lighting Matters

Changes in lighting will make a dramatic shift in the mood and content of your photos. Remember, you are taking pictures of light, not just of objects. How that light plays and interacts with your subject is important.

What I hope you learn from this experiment is to not always accept the light that is given to you and take bad pictures because of it. Sometimes you might stumble upon a great subject, but the lighting in horrible. Wait a while, or maybe half a day, until the lighting improves.

Come back on a different day or different time of season. Think long term and visualize how you want the light to appear with a particular subject then take steps to make it happen.

I would love to see your experiments if you want to share them. Just include a link in the comments section below.

Questions?  Pop ’em like Pez in the comments section below. or email me at peter@peterwestcarey.com.

Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure, and its companion 40 Photography Experiments, are series written by professional photographer Peter West Carey. The series are designed to unravel the mysteries of photography, helping you can take better pictures. Subscribe here to receive all the updates and bonus material. Your comments are always welcome.

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