11 Ways To Improve Your Photographic Lighting

lighting techniques
Grasping good lighting is a lot like understanding the relationship between aperture and shutter speed—it’s confusing up until the moment it clicks, and then every photograph becomes a variation on that idea. These photographic lighting articles present go-to techniques, with some gear recommendations, that are the foundation on which all other lighting is built. With an understanding of these photographic lighting basics, you can easily light any scene.

1. Portrait Lighting Essentials

lighting techniques

The art of portrait lighting is the art of bringing out the essence of an individual—identifying the person’s personality and facial features, and coming up with a lighting scheme that will synchronize with them. Read More…

2. The Balancing Act Of Flash On Location

lighting techniques

As professional photographers let go of their expensive studio spaces and make the world their studio, it’s time to examine the needs of a photographer on the go. When studios were the norm, most pros had a space where they’d keep a number of power packs, stands, heads and all manner of modifiers. Today, we’re all working meaner and leaner, and our lighting gear is evolving with our business models. Read More…

3. Misinformation: Lighting Tech

lighting techniques

In an economic slowdown, photographers look to cut costs as much as possible. In many cases, this has meant eliminating the studio and a lot of the expensive gear that often sits around taking up space in said studio. Thankfully, eliminating the studio, and therefore studio lighting, doesn’t really mean that your lighting possibilities are limited. Read More…

4. Hi-Tech Studio: Continuous Lighting For Motion And Stills

lighting techniques

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are incredibly compact bulbs that consume very little power while throwing off absolutely minimal heat. Unlike traditional continuous lighting, this makes them efficiently designed fixtures particularly suitable for working in closed environments like photo studios. What’s more, the light produced by an LED bulb is soft and flattering. Read More…

5. Simplify Your Lighting

lighting techniques

I recently received a call from a commercial photographer who was to visit my city on assignment. Along with recommendations for assistants, digital techs and hairstylists, he also inquired about renting a basic lighting setup. “Only four or five packs,” he said, “and maybe just eight or 10 heads.” He would be bringing some more of his own, after all. Read More…

6. Hi-Tech Studio: An Option For Continuous Lighting

lighting techniques

With DSLRs and video taking the photography and film worlds by storm, more and more photographers are looking to break into motion work. With that in mind, some photographers who have been more accustomed to strobe lighting are finding that continuous lights for both still and video might be a better fit for their new workflow. Read More…

7. A Constant Light: LED Lighting Solutions

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The flash of a strobe is intertwined so closely with the identity of a photographer that it has always been the signal in entertainment that a character is a photographer. Think, for instance, of film-noir dramas, where a news reporter catches a shot of a mobster—their Speed Graphic camera is always seen with a large, round Graflex flashgun popping in the face of the criminal. Read More…

8. Bright, Soft And Portable

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It’s odd to think that today’s LED lights—bright, low power and lightweight—are related to the LED lights of the late 1960s and 1970s. Anyone of a certain age who suffered from insomnia or rolled into bed after a night of partying is familiar with the persistent, obnoxious glow of a bedside alarm clock. Who knew that the technology used to highlight your insomnia would one day be used to light up your studio shots? Read More…

9. Essential Lighting

lighting techniques

Whether you’re creating a beauty shot, crafting an environmental portrait or setting up a still life, one single photography truth will always remain: Light matters. What separates professional photographers from the crowd is the ability to shape light into a previsualized design appropriate for the subject and client. But when faced with every light source and modifier under the sun (including the sun!), where do you start? Read More…

10. DPP Solutions: Lighting In A Box

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Location photographers often have to make compromises when it comes to lighting, opting to carry an unreasonable amount of lighting gear in order to achieve a look similar to studio lighting, or dramatically scale back the power and performance of the studio for weight and cost savings. Read More…

11. Four Hot Lighting Looks

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Everyone is looking for a way to make his or her images stand out from the crowd. Today, when the crowd is huge and websites are selling decent-quality amateur work for $1, that crowd is bigger than ever before. Innovation in lighting is at the core of being a professional photographer, and creating today’s hottest, most in-demand looks is something pros do exceptionally well. Read More…

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