2 Easy Studio Lighting Setups

A guest post by Allen Mowery

Anyone think it’s difficult or expensive to get professional quality lighting? Here are a couple lighting setups to debunk those myths.

I was inspired to try out a couple ideas that I had generated on the drive home from the office recently, so immediately upon arriving at my abode I furiously turned the living room into a makeshift studio. I was particularly interested in testing this technique on a small scale since I have been wanting to build large, portable diffusion panels for a while now with this particular setup in mind. My three-year-old daughter, having apparently been watching too much America’s Next Top Model lately, willingly volunteered to be my victim, frequently repeating “Work it, work it …” as she made her way through a repertoire of poses.

Setup Time: 2-3 min.

Simple 2-Light Setup

THE SETUP: A DIY diffusion panel was placed behind the subject to act as a simple backdrop. A Vivitar 283 was shot through the diffusion panel at about 1/2 power to brighten the backdrop and act as a rim light, and a Promaster 7000m was fired at full power into a DIY reflective umbrella to camera right at 45 degrees to subject.

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Photography Lighting Tips

How can you take a few photography lighting tips, and change the way you look at images forever?

Wedding Photography
Weddings are by far the most difficult to shoot, and will test your true capabilities as a photographer. In one event, you may have to deal with harsh, bright sunlight streaming onto the wedding party, and trying to capture the bride and groom in a nearly dark reception hall. All with the extremes of a bride in a white gown and a groom in a black tux.

Photography Lighting Tips

Start by finding the perfect location outside to take advantage of natural light. Whether you are at a church or a reception site, get there a few minutes early and walk around, noticing the direction of sun movement. Find one side with a lot of shade, look for interesting architecture, or a grouping of trees. Remember, you aren’t capturing the entire area in your photographs; you can find great areas that will deliver what you are looking for. Fill in with reflectors and diffusers to soften the light even further.

For your inside images, use a combination of on camera flash and stand alone light sources. Use diffusers to bounce the flash, giving your images a softer look. If the ambiance of the reception site is a dark, romantic look, you don’t want to flood it with harsh, unnatural light. Yet you can set up one or two light sources on the dance floor for all the main action images, and still leave the reception room as the bride and groom intended.
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