Brooke Shaden Explains How To Light Portraits With Nothing But A House Lamp

Nov 25, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

Brooke Shaden Explains How To Light Portraits With Nothing But A House Lamp

Nov 25, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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Brooke Shaden is the kind of inventive photographer who prefers to do-it-herself rather than spends wheelbarrows of money on expensive studio lighting and modifiers. Instead, Shaden challenges us to get creative with what resources we have available to us. In this case, it was one or two basic house lamps from Ikea. (And if you really want to get elaborate with your set up, she also explains how to use a tissue to diffuse the light from the lamps.)

The video clip below is from Shaden’s Creative Live clinic on fine art compositing. For this particular segment of her clinic, she was focusing on low-tech lighting options. Of course, the end result of the photoshoot in the video will actually be a composite image, but the lamp technique she uses can be applied to single image photographs, as well.

Take a look:

YouTube video

[ via Creative Live ]

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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7 responses to “Brooke Shaden Explains How To Light Portraits With Nothing But A House Lamp”

  1. BuckCash Avatar
    BuckCash

    I saw this happening live on CreativeLive while it was happening, and it was downright painful to watch.

    All she had to do was feather the softbox they had set up for her and maybe use a reflector, but since by her own admission she didn’t know how to work with conventional photography lights AT ALL, she tried to figure out a few other ways to light her subject, none of which worked, and finally she pulled people out of their seats to hold light bulbs for her.

    So yeah, I guess if you want to be a portrait shooter, just don’t learn how to use conventional photography lights and modifiers, and instead have a few assistants hanging around to hold lamps for you, and you can be just like Brooke. Your clients will no doubt be duly impressed.

    1. C. A. Bridges Avatar
      C. A. Bridges

      I can see this as useful for when you’re taking impromptu shots and you don’t have your gear with you — at a friend’s house, at a party, etc — and want a little better than ambient light. Or just as an exercise to show how to improvise when things go wrong. I got pretty creative with my iPhone flashlight app a few weeks ago when I was shooting at dusk and my speedlite remote flatly refused to work.

      But as a regular practice? Nah.

      1. wopwop Avatar
        wopwop

        creativelive isn’t just for professionals with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. What she was trying to show is that anyone can take a photo with whatever you have on hand. Sure it takes longer but can be done.

    2. ajfudge Avatar
      ajfudge

      Leave it to CreativeLive to turn a “failure” into a “feature” with focus on “alternative lighting”, of course.

  2. JOhn C Avatar
    JOhn C

    So it’s how to do it with 1 lamp, and a window, a backdrop and an assistant. Never-mind you are using 2 very different types of light.

    1. JOhn C Avatar
      JOhn C

      oh, and a very patient model

  3. Michael Goolsby Avatar
    Michael Goolsby

    Is this girl really the total hack she appears to be? I enjoy simple solutions, too, but this who affair was ridiculous. I can’t believe people actually spent money on this.