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Tips for Studio Lighting Setup

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…Unless you take a picture of it. The art of photography is the art of capturing a fleeting moment and making it eternal. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. But you can express your own definition of beauty through the camera lens.

No matter whether you are an amateur, or finished a photography course, you should know that lightning is one of the key elements in photography. It is the light that determines whether the pictures look dark and flat or have enough depth and contrast.

Lighting kit and the studio are like oil paint and canvas – made for each other. You need both elements to portray your unique vision of the subject. Those who want to immerse themselves in the art of photography can find some tips for studio lighting setup here:

Let There Be The Key Light

The Key Light
Everything new is well-forgotten old. The key light technique is a cinematography lighting method that is now commonly used by photographers.

This is the primary light of the picture, and it is indispensable for taking a high-quality photo. It can be used alone, but in order to add more details and illuminate the needed parts, you will have to use additional lights. Usually, every extra light is adjusted to the key one.

cinematography lighting

Depending on your style and the vision of the result, you can place the key light below, above, or at the same line as the camera. You should also try playing with different positions of the main source of light in relation to the photo camera and the subject.

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Placing A Key Light High

A Key Light High

High-key photography is a way to make the pictures look very bright and light. The amount of shadows is minimized when you use this method. The subject will be softened and look much smoother. The atmosphere of the pictures will always be airy and light.

When the primary source of light is placed above the camera, it also helps to illuminate a couple of subjects at the same time evenly.  Therefore, it will be a perfect option for group photography or marketing photography.

Placing A Key Light Below The Subject

A Key Light Below

In contrast to the previous method of lighting, the low-key method makes dark colors look deeper and emphasized. Correct usage of the key light that is placed below the subjects makes the pictures look mysterious, dramatic, and enigmatic. This is a perfect method to evoke perplexity and curiosity by keeping certain elements of a picture secret and highlight only the needed ones.

The Fill Light

The Fill Light

The key light is indeed a very good option to create a contrast and give shades to the subjects. However, sometimes using the primary source of light only is not enough. It may give an unnecessary dramatic and sharp look to the picture.

So, how to soften the image and fill in the shadows you don’t need? This is the moment when a fill light comes in handy. It should not be too powerful and always adjusted to the key light. You don’t want to create a double shadow, right?

Very often, if the fill light is too powerful, it should be placed further from the camera and the subject. You can also use scrims in order to soften and reduce the intensity of the light.

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If You Want To Save Money

Here the knowledge of the laws of physics can come in handy. When a ray of light hits a mirror, it gets reflected. Now put this knowledge into practice.

You can use something that reflects the lights from the key source and illuminate the subject. You can either use a foam core board or a reflector. The huge advantage of these tools is the fact that they are very light and easy to transport.

Last But Not Least. The Back Light

The Back Light

This type of light illuminates the background of a subject. You may use one or several sources of light. Some people argue that it makes photos look unrealistic. But photography is the place where you should break all the rules and let your imagination take the wheel.

So-called ‘shooting against the light’ is created by putting the source of light behind the subject. But make sure the light does not spill, and the rays do not get directly into the lens. It will make the colors fade and create lens flare.

In order to avoid light spilling in the areas where you don’t need it, you can use a neutral density gel. It allows you to control the exposure and doesn’t let light reach the sensor of the camera.

Another solution is a diffusion panel. If you have enough time, you can save some money by making this tool by yourself. There are many tutorials available online that can help you create a DIY diffusion panel easily.

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