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Lighting Tips and Tricks

Lighting is key to a good photography. You may often have asked yourself if the size of the lighting rig mattered. Have you thought of ever going beyond studio lights or sunlight, though? Knowledge about these concepts can prove profitable to you as a photographer, both commercially and otherwise. Here is how you go about it.

– Ask yourself what you really want from the photo shoot many days prior to it. Delve deep into the mood you want to convey, the location, the equipment you might need, the restrictions you might face and so on. Once you have answers to all these questions, you’ll be saving a lot of time on D Day.

– For a soft effect, the beauty dish could be your main light. In the beauty dish, the light is soft but inherently sharp and contrasty, another prime reason for selecting the larger studio lights.  If you want to shoot a person but the background is white, then put at least 10 feet between the background and the model.  When shooting, the hair often tends to blend with the background. Avoid this by setting up SB 900 external flash units on either side of the model, so the hair shines. Your main light should have sharp and contrast values. Once you ensure all of these, you’re ready to go.


Beauty dish for flash photography

Would the same methods work when outside? You can enhance your photos with the simplest of things, like shadows. The challenge when outside is to get the light in the right position and angle. What you need is sharp and harsh contrast when photographing with shadows.  The SB 900 external flash units, being portable, can be used to enhance the shadows. Use the zoom function to get the natural sharpness. If you want to get a feel of the afternoon in your photograph, you could go ahead and use gels like CTO (color temperature orange, shown in image below) to warm up the scene or use CTB (colour temperature blue) to cool it down. You could use the beauty dish again if you want the light to be soft on your subject.  Once this is done, use all of the techniques you’d use in the studio to trigger the flash units and then you’re ready to shoot.


Orange gel


SB 900 external flash

These are generic instructions. At the end of the day, you need to know what works for you at that time of day or night and with the limited lighting equipment you have. Each scenario will bring up a situation that’ll let you think in a different way, and thereby, will allow you to work towards getting the best shot. Just T.H.I.N.K and you will get by easily.

~Zahid H. Javali