Studio lighting: painting with light

Once discovered, studio lighting can become a photographer’s best friend. With studio lighting, you are no longer having to wait for golden hour or the perfect cloudy day to capture your subject, you can recreate perfect lighting any time of the day or night with a little bit of knowledge and practice. As a photographer who loved shooting outdoor portraits, once I begin to understand the extent of control and possibilities of controlled lighting setups, I was hooked!

With studio lighting, a photographer can literally “paint” his or her subject with light and shadows. By deciding where on the subject you want a shadow to fall and choosing the right type of light source, the manipulation of light and shadows on your subject is endless. And even more importantly for a beginning studio photographer, it is predictable and repeatable. Light travels in a straight line until it hit something where it is either absorbed or reflected.

Picture a billiards table. A great player analyzes the required angle of impact on the side of the table required to produce the direction needed to sink the shot. When looking at your model, determine where a light needs to be placed and at what angle in order to control the light placement on her face. Before even turning on studio lights, consider where you want the highlights and shadows to fall on your subject. Then determine where lights need to be placed to achieve exactly that.

The good news is that you can start out with minimal equipment. Studio lighting setups to make any subject look fantastic with a single light and reflector (or wall). Read about: 5 Easy Studio Setups With One Light