What is Light?

The word photography is derived from the Greek meaning: light drawing. Photography therefore describes a technical procedure where the characteristics of light are stored (permanently).

Light is an electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range that is visible to the human eye. Physically, light exhibits properties of both waves and particles. The wavelength range that is visible to the human eye is between 380 and 780 nanometres. Depending on the wavelength, most people perceive the following colours. White light consists of the prismatic colours (red, orange, yellow, blue, purple). The prismatic colours can be made visible with e.g. prisms.

The wavelength range that is visible to the human eye is between 380 and 780 nanometres

The wavelength range that is visible to the human eye is between 380 and 780 nanometres

As well as wavelength, light properties such as intensity, polarisation and direction are also highly important.

Beyond this technical approach, to the photographer, light is like a paint brush and paint at the same time. Light moulds the subject’s reflexion properties into shapes and colours, but missing light is also of great artistic value.

You are here: Home The Right Light What is Light?