The transition from light to shadow is often lost in modern landscape photography. Camera sensors with incredible dynamic range, along with the popularity of HDR techniques, have allowed us to bring back a lot of detail in the shadows of our landscapes.
This isn’t a bad thing in itself, because usually, we want some detail in the shadows, but it often goes too far. Just because we can brighten the shadows doesn’t mean we should. Leaving parts of the image in darkness add mood and mystery.
I learned about Rembrandt lighting before I had ever heard of the artist it was named after. Rembrandt was a master painter who understood the principles of light and shadow better than anyone. Studying his paintings will teach you a lot about how they can create mood and drama in an image.
Rembrandt lighting has become known as a classic lighting setup in portrait photography. Using soft side-lighting, this technique creates a beautiful look that you will likely recognize.