Friday, August 21, 2009

Learning Photography Lighting

A person wrote me the other day asking for advice about learning lighting for photography. They said something to the effect of 'i'm looking into getting strobes and a softbox...' and I immediately thought 'Whoa! Slow down!'

When it comes to lighting it seems to makes sence to start with something simple and then work into more complex situations. So, what lighting is simple?

Well, lighting in general is fairly simple once you understand how it works. For this post I'm not going to go into any math or ratios, but I am going to go through a few steps in learning lighting.

First of all it's probably a good idea to start with natural light.  This is a great intro into seeing natural light the way god intended it. Go out and shoot natural light. Shoot in direct sunlight, shade, side lighting, back lighting, butterfly, etc...shoot until you get great dynamic images that get attention. Once you do, you have just mastered one light!

Now, pull out your reflectors and start bouncing the light around. Figure how to shoot great images with your reflector and natural light. Once you get the feel of controlling the given light, you will be ready to have a light source of your own!

Now, get one strobe and learn what heigth, angle and intensity you need to make good images indoors. Use the knowledge you learned in dealing with natural light and a reflector to your strobe. You will quickly learn how to use your one strobe.

Next, get a second strobe. This is the point where you will need to start measuring the light intensity with a light meter.

In my next post I will go over some basic ideas on using one strobe outdoors and two strobes indoors and outdoors. 

Until then, happy shooting!