Laws of Light: Create Emotion with Light

On this video, part of a series “laws of light” by photographer Jay P. Morgan from the Slanted Lens we look at how light can help convey emotion in your photos and videos.

The first thing you need to look at are ratios of light – how much light falls on the two different sides of the face – a bigger ratio goes better with a sad (or even evil) looking mood of a shot while a smaller ratio is more flattering  and typically nicer more positive in terms of the emotions conveyed  in the shot.

Next you have the quality of light – is if harder or softer (note that you can have a hard light with a small ratio or hard ratio and the same goes for soft light). Here again a soft light tend to give a more positive emotion while a hard light can be perceived  is aggressive or evil looking.

The color of light also conveys personality – warmer colors gives more comfort, pleasant feeling while cooler lights (blues typically) can give a more gloomy feeling.

The direction of the light is also very important – light from above seems normal to us (the sun comes from above after all), but light from below can seem intimidating on a model (do note that light directly from above can also seem pretty unnatural).

You can check out the rest of the Laws of Light videos we published in the past from this series on this link.

You can find lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid, and you can find all of Jay P. Morgan’s videos here on LensVid on the following link.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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