Photography lighting tips from the trenches
Some of the best photography lighting is also some of the most basic lighting.
Two lights, one on either side, both with the same, or near same output. Wash the subject with light.
Kinda flat, kinda boring….
We used to call this idiot lighting. Maybe we still do, as offensive as that sounds.
The truth is, there’s a time and place for it. And I use it often enough.
The key is to know when and where. For me, I use it when I need properly exposed images and I have very little time, and the lighting and scene available is tricky. A wedding is a great example. Or, in a small location shooting families at a house.
Likewise, when I’m shooting a large family, I don’t want to fuss, just get the job done, done right, I will use this lighting.
To rely on this lighting and only this lighting is very limiting however. I suppose this is where and when “idiot” applies. Being able to create portraits using a main and good use of shadows is key to being diverse and creative.
Here’s an example I will be showing in an upcoming Lighting Mastermind
(LIGHTING MASTERMIND REPLAYS ARE HERE FOR MEMBERS)….from a fall in-home session:
I will also use this lighting outdoors, during a wedding, especially for the formal portraits with the family.
These shots are there to document the family, and I often have little time.
Same exact lighting as above. We’re in open shade, but there was not enough area to light everyone evenly so I set up my two softboxes.
Sony A7Rii 85MM Batis lens at f4 ISO 100. Weak fill flash on camera to fire the two softboxes.
You can see the two main lights showing up in the specular catch lights.
Knowing when to use this lighting for your photography and best results is key. When I am on location I always bring enough, more than enough gear, to make sure if I need to set up this lighting I can do it. I need to stress the importance of not relying on this lighting exclusively for your photography. You risk creating images that are stale and predictable.
To be fair, there are some photo industries and photography markets where this lighting will work all the time, say for example, sporting tournament and the like or similar higher volume demands.
Yours in lighting,
Gary Hammond says
Robert, I’m surprise you are able to fire the SB800’s in slave mode since those sensors are quite hidden behind the soft boxes vs. using some radio triggers for unquestionable triggering. I gather you used this setup to verify it can be done vs using larger a/c strobes.
Always enjoy your perspective on lighting.
Robert Provencher says
I fire the onboard flash aimed up to the ceiling, or, when outdoors, I use the on board bounce card. It works fine everytime. I do use larger modifiers on location…beauty dish, halo (large and small….wind dependent….). I use this setup when I need portability and speed is of essence….(weddings)….or smaller areas, larger groups. Thanks….R