Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Studio Lighting

I have to admit, I really like my Canon speedlights. Studio photography is (in most cases) much easier than landscape photography - no steep mountains to climb, no difficult weather conditions, no trekking heavy gear through miles of wilderness. And no bears... usually. Still, there are many challenges, and studio photography is anything but boring.

Perfect studio lighting may seem to be as simple as the flick of a switch - but it's actually much more complicated than you think. The mood of the image depends upon the lighting as much as subject and composition. I've seen so many fantastic images that just don't have the impact they could because the light isn't right. We use reflected or diffused light more often then not - but there are situations that call for direct lighting as well. I have an article in the works that shows our basic studio lighting setup... that will help explain the basics for those who aren't sure where to start.

Our equipment is relatively simple - three flash units with stands, three umbrellas, a white paper backdrop, heavy black curtains, white reflective flooring, a couple of reflectors, and assorted clamps, stands, and backdrops for more creative shots. We've hung our white paper from the ceiling, so it can be rolled up and put away when not in use. Our black curtains hang from hooks in the ceiling, and they can be taken down as well. The reflective flooring is actually two large panels - which can be taken up and stored against a wall. All our lights and stands fit neatly into a small trunk that also serves as a coffee table. So our studio becomes our living room when we're done with it. It's a great set-up for a house full of kids!
More on studio lighting in future posts...


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