It’s too often that we photographers can get stuck in lighting scenario ruts. Many of us shoot exclusively available light or employ just one setup of studio lighting. We find our comfort zone with our lighting and pretty much stay there. But, understanding different methods of lighting not only gives you more control over the end result of your photos, but it keeps things fresh creatively and brings your ultimate vision to life.
Photographers often make this mistake when it comes to studio lighting. They’re going for a certain look, but the only really know how to light their scene or subject one way. So they try to create the effect in Photoshop.
But wouldn’t it be better to get it right in camera instead of wasting so much time in post-production? Begin to take note of how often you are retouching a photo to correct lighting situations and start looking for ways to fix this with your actual lighting.
For example: I began with a one light setup when I was first starting out. After noticing I was spending too much time softening shadows, I added a reflector to my lighting mix and eventually a second strobe. I now have 4 different lights in my arsenal. And, while I rarely need them all at once, I know that I can achieve many different looks with them by lighting my scenes with absolute intention.
Deconstruct my lighting setups and win a prize!
In order to understand light, you need to be able to deconstruct it. Get in the habit of studying other photographers’ work to try to make sense of how they may have lit the scene. I am offering up some of my images from a recent shoot for you to do so. I would love to hear how you all think these different lighting scenarios were set up! The person who comes the closest to guessing how they were shot, will get a copy of my “5 Boudoir Poses, 15 Sellable Images” book! Steps for entering are at the end of this post.
A little back story on this shoot to help guide you in my thought process
This particular client (an old friend of mine from California who came out to Vegas to do a boudoir session with me) has an interesting story to share that touches on both femininity as well as masculinity (keep an eye on my blog for the full story soon). So, we wanted to portray that with wardrobe obviously, but I also knew my lighting would be an integral part in telling this story too. For the masculine side I wanted a more stark, brightly lit and contrasty look than the softer feminine looks (although I also tried some moodier shots there too). So, I planned out and employed my lighting setups accordingly.
Can you guess what I used for lighting? What kinds of modifiers or accessories did I choose for this, if any?
Note: There are a few shadows I may have leaned towards softening or retouching out in a couple of these, but decided to leave them in to better help you identify the lighting. There is actually very minimum retouching on these at all, as a matter of fact.