Aug 10 2009

Lighting for Beginner Photographers

Published by at 11:19 pm under Learning

Basic lighting for photography really is simple if you break it down.Many new photographers don’t take time to learn the basic rules about light. Start with ambient light before moving to strobes.

What you need to start.

  • Soft Doorway Light
  • Manual Setting on Camera
  • Silver Reflector

I would suggest trying to learn how to see light first then worry about what lighting equipment to buy.This will save you a lot of money and confusion when getting started in photography.
This is easy way to get started. Open the front or back door of your house when the sun is on the opposite side of the building. Place a chair about 1 foot inside the doorway and have your model sit down.MAke sure she is not wearing too much bright reflective jewelry. Small earrings are fine. Go outside and take a look at how the light flows in. It will light her evenly and quickly fade off on the floor 2-3 feet behind her. Now you know what soft even light looks like. Add a reflector and see the change. A simple white foam core board will reflect light and a silver color reflector will do the same but look quite a bit different hitting the model. A light gray or off white will still cast some reflection. The gray or off white may also change the color of the light which may not be as easy to see until after you take the photo. Using the white or silver will look like a light was turned on from the reflection. The others will be a lot softer and harder to see but will make a difference. Make a mental note of the look.

Always look for the same soft even light everywhere you go. Find a covered area such as a bridge, doorway or large overhang and look for the same light. It will always be there if you look for it. Notice how the light enters the covered area and provides full even coverage of your model then drops off quickly allowing the background to be darker and less noticeable. Do some shots and start to modify the look. A white sidewalk or building next to you will reflect light different than grass or an open field. Keep using the reflectors to modify the look of the photo. It will become something you don’t need to think about. You just see slight changes in light and know what to do without much thought. Like most things it is easy after you learn how to do it. When ready to add flash start the same way. One fill light from the front then move it to the side. It will look better and you will actually see why. Later add a strobe and by the time you get to using reflectors and 3-4 strobes you will understand and see what each one is doing to the image. Start with just the bare minimum and add components only after you can see the changes each one makes. This will not only help you take much better photos it will save you a lot of money. You will know ahead of time what kind of light modifiers you really want to use to control your light before you buy them.

Another very important thing I should mention is you must have control of your camera. Make sure to shoot only in Manual mode. Any auto functions will be making changes and you will not know the difference you see are from camera settings or light control.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge