All two-dimensional art, whether photographic, drawing or painting, has two primary elements: Light and perspective. That’s all it is. Every style, regardless of modern or classical or the imaging material used, builds from that base. Rembrandt, Picasso, Ansel Adams, everybody starts there. Light and perspective are the foundation of all things visual.
I have certain favorite tools out of the dozens currently available that can facilitate the creation of photo art; lighting effects is one of them. Often I employ it so subtly it is nearly unnoticeable. It can be used to emphasize the primary element of the composition (there’s the ‘perspective’) and to lighten a part of the work that otherwise recedes into darkness. It can also add color or hue to a work (it’s how I often add color to a black and white capture). It can be rather tricky to use, and can ruin a work if it is applied too early in the process.
(NOTE: Adobe has changed Photoshop such that layers using the lighting effects tool need to be converted to a smart objects first – although that could actually be a bug that they are unable or unwilling to correct. But I’ve noticed they seem to encourage smart objects. That’s a mistake. Smart objects become problematic if the artist tries to change the size or resolution of a work, or if a filter is added after the smart object).
In ‘Abstract Realism’, the genre in which I tend to live, lighting effects seem to place abstract compositions into a more realistic context. In this 1x2 scale work, I wanted to show the small yellow roses within the context of their larger red siblings, but in unfiltered light they were clearly overwhelmed. Simply desaturating, perhaps also blurring, the color red would have proved inappropriate. The answer was a tight spotlight emphasizing the yellow roses while encouraging the otherwise dominate red roses to naturally recede, but not disappear. The art of using light itself as a brush to reveal subliminal emotion.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.