The key to a great photograph is how the photographer lights the subject, whether it be in the form of natural light or controlled studio lighting. Lighting is important in creating the look, feel and mood of the image, it assists with the compensation, and provides the desired balance opportunities for the photographer to work inline with the dynamic range for the shot.

These factors will depend on the photographer’s knowledge and understanding of light to ensure that perfect good shot. Without the knowledge and understanding lighting, there is a good chance the results will be poor. So, as a photographer who intends to take better photographs, my suggestion would be to read up, or better still, invest in a short lighting in studio workshop, or an outdoor course in photography, where all the fundamentals, as well as the practical implementations of lighting are taught. This will be very helpful to the photographer when buying their own lighting. There are many products and brands to choose from, all with different purposes and price tags, so make sure you have done your research, had some practical experience working with lighting and asked all the right questions.

Tips for Best Natural Lighting for Photographers

Using natural lighting is a preference. Many photographers will only shoot using natural light as they believe that controlled light is limiting and “unnatural”. The use of only using natural light means that you need to be really well prepared before the shoot. The main areas that I refer to is location, time of day and the weather on the day of the shoot.

The best time of day to plan your shoot is early morning or late afternoon, better known as “the golden hour”, where the light is soft and diffused and free of harsh shadows and dappled interference. Soft light creates a beautiful overall feel, especially when photographing people, thereafter, cloudy weather, where the sun will never be direct on the subject, and therefore, never introduce challenges with unwanted shadows. The weather report will also need to be taken into consideration, as uncontrolled hair that has been styled and flowing garments, are no friend of a photographer when the wind is gusting. This can ruin the look and feel of the shoot. So, do a weather check before your shoot, and plan accordingly. It is the job of the photographer to advice the client about the weather before the shoot.

If the light is perfect, the photographer’s job should be without stress. No need to transporting heavy or unnecessary equipment, but rather just the basics such as a reflector to bounce the light and a scrim shade it, a stand and a flash for fill in, and finally the correct lenses. Outdoor photoshoots can be quick and very effective, if planning is done properly. The reality is that the rest of the team also need to be on their game, but as least your job is done and you are ready to start shooting.

Tips for Best Studio Lighting for Photographers

Again, this will be the preference of the photographer and the nature of the client brief. The advantage to studio lighting, is that the photographer is in control of the light source from the brightness and compensation, to angles and setups, through to the harsh look, or diffused look, that is required. There are also no restraints to time of day or weather conditions.

Unfortunately, there are a few negatives, and that includes cost of lighting gear, and the ambience and mood limitations you can achieve through outdoor.. A Photography studio need not be large, it is all about what the shoot demands. Photo studios can be rented, so there is no need to own your own space, unless you have large volumes of ongoing work to make up your running costs. The advantage of renting a studio, is that you remain flexible and have no real ongoing responsibility in this regard. There are also some great photo studios that provide packages where all lighting, transmitters and additional gear is included in the packages. Often the studio will even provide you with the assistance of helping you to set the lights, taking away all the stress so you can concentrate on the shoot. To own professional photographic lighting, as mentioned, is costly, so this would be my first choice.

There are many different forms of controlled lighting options that can be purchased, but you will need to firstly identify the type of photography you are intending to pursue in studio, and then your budget. Decide if portability is your choice, and in this case, consider a reliable set of speed light’s and a transmitter setup. Using the correct diffusers and bounce options will allow you meet your objectives. The advantage of this option is compatibility and convenience when travelling, there is no need for electricity, so you are more versatile. This is your most cost-effective option. Thereafter, you might consider studio lighting, which is costlier, depending on the brand you choose, and quality of your expectations. As lighting is important, fork out the money, don’t hold back. There is a huge difference between average and good when it comes to lighting equipment. Unfortunately, there is also a huge difference in the price too. As I initially suggested, attend a short course in studio lighting in a genre that you are pursuing, which will allow you to understand lighting set ups, as well as be hands on. Lastly, ask the questions that will assist you in making the best choices for your lighting requirements.

I trust this will add light to your decisions and help you move forward.