So before my regulars start to suspect that I’ve been kidnapped and forced to write this against my will, yes this is indeed a lighting setup article that involves natural light! But don’t worry, we’ll quickly skip over the easy, beginner daylight setup and move on to the adult version that combines gels and strobes later on. So, if you’re suspiciously U.V. averse to the point where you could star in an Anne Rice novel, don’t worry, stick around to the end and I’ll have something a little more visually engaging for you there.
One of the bigger personal projects I’ve been working on recently is my Cinematic Studio Lighting course. During the process of writing the accompanying notes and shooting promotional images for the event, I’ve done a ton of research on how cinematographers and directors of photography work, think and plan their shots. I originally thought the two worlds of photography and cinematography would be fairly similar, but I ended up learning a lot more than I thought I would and I think that’s down to how cinematographers approach the setup of their image compared to many of us photographers, especially those of us who primarily shoot in a studio.
There will always be ‘classics’ in any industry. Sure these classics may not turn heads or make the headlines and they may even take a dip in popularity for a while, but these ‘classics’ will always be a timeless safe bet.
Fashion has its ‘little black dress’ and ‘tan trench coat’, cooking has its lasagne, burger, pizza, and many, many more. They’re always going to be winners in most peoples eyes and they’re as popular today as they were years ago, plus they will undoubtedly be popular for many years to come.
I’d argue that nearly all of us owned a speedlight at some point before we owned a studio strobe. When we’re looking to dip our toes into supplemental lighting, strobes seem like a big investment. It just makes sense to pick up a cheap speedlight to play with right?
Like many others, I did the same thing. I bought a cheap speedlight (that was ultimately pretty crappy), then I got a proper one, but I was still unhappy, whereupon I quickly bought a strobe. I immediately wished I’d done it sooner. Here’s why.
Clearer, sharper, brighter!
In recent years, we’ve spent a lot of money investing in expensive camera tech and lenses that produce flawless and crystal-clear imagery (ironically, that’s a dated expression given that we actually want images to be a lot clearer than crystal). But, is it really necessary? Do we really need to remove all traces of the image making process from our photographs? Have our images lost some of their uniqueness along the way?
In this article I’ll explain a beautifully soft lighting setup that can be achieved in almost any sized space – In fact, this setup actually takes advantage of very small rooms and the tight spaces of home studios!
In recent months, many of us have struggled to get back into the studio to shoot. Lock-downs and safety concerns surrounding large teams of people have made certain photoshoots pretty tricky to achieve whilst still being safe. But whilst we wait for things to get back to ‘normal’, I thought I’d share a lighting setup that actually takes advantage of small shoot spaces. Maybe you can’t get back into the studio and maybe you’d prefer to shoot in a controlled space like your own home. What are some of the disadvantages/advantages of that?
Tight quarters is one thing, but low ceilings can be a real pain too. But is there a way we can use that to our advantage somehow?
In this setup I play with a clever little setup that uses the restrictive confines of your own home to your advantage, and this technique can be achieved in almost any size space!
This article will cover a client case study on how I organised not only myself, but the client prior to the actual shoot day.
Topics I’ll cover in this article include:
- Initial client contact
- Client phone call
- Mood boards
- Interpreting client mood board into an actual shoot plan
- Final images
Using coloured gels can be a little unforgiving, especially if you’re new to using strobes. But one of the biggest reasons using gels can be tricky, is due to how hard it can be to use multiple coloured gels in the same setup. Coloured lights do not play well together and unlike paint, where you can create new and wonderful colours by mixing them, mixing coloured light often results in dull, washed-out colours. Coloured gels do not mix and consequently must ordinarily be kept separate in your shot at all times.
Thankfully though, in today’s setup, I will be showing you how to mix coloured gels with incredible ease, in fact, it’s so easy, we’ll only be using one light to do it!
Big-shock I know. A coloured gel lighting technique from me is hardly surprising, but this time I’m scaling things down and today I’ll be sharing a super simple 2 light setup for still-life.
To be clear, I’m a million years away from being an even remotely good still-life photographer, but I thought I’d share this quick little setup as I had a few questions about some shots I shared in a recent article. Plus, if I, a know-nothing portrait and fashion shooter can throw together this still life setup, anyone can do it.
What even is a ‘studio shooter’ today? Years ago it was a little easier to define, but due to us having tons of heavy, cumbersome lighting and cameras, we were all pretty grounded in the actual home-base of a studio. Today though, the vast majority of my own jobs are not shot in my own space. I shoot wherever I’m needed and whether that be in a home, an office, hair salon or even another hired studio, I’m always on the move.
The clamps and brackets I’m about to run though in this article are great for all types of studio shooters, and although they will be ideal for those of you who may never shoot outside of your own controlled space, many of these items will be invaluable to those of you, who like me, need to carry, assemble and breakdown their studio setups regularly in a multitude of spaces.