Critique the Community

Hot Lights

Submit your best image taken with a constant light for your chance to win a free Fstoppers tutorial
  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 02 May 19 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

Some photographers claim to shoot only natural light while others depend largely on their strobes. This episode of Critique the Community is for those images shot only with constant light. 

Between now and May 1st, we will accept up to two images that were shot with only hot lights to be critiqued. We will be choosing a total of 20 submissions to provide feedback to and two of the entrants will win a free Fstoppers tutorial. The first winner will be based on the image that gets the highest averaged community rating and the second will be chosen at random. 

Once you've uploaded your images, scroll through the rest of the submissions and provide some feedback of your own. Use your number and keypad to rate the images quickly. When you come across an image where you notice an area that could be improved, we encourage you to leave a positive and helpful comment. 

A big thanks to Jason Vinson for providing this week's featured image. 

  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 02 May 19 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 391 people have cast a total of 24,430 votes on 318 submissions from 205 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results


I'm going to take the first comment slot to make a suggestion for a "Cinematic Photography" CTC.

Isn't "color grading" the same? Fstoppers did that CTC about 2 months ago.

I don’t think so. Color Grading is a story telling tool. It was a little strange to me that they picked it for a CTC, it’s akin to saying “Lighting”.

Cinematic means telling a story in a picture. Look at Crewdson, Olaf, Leibovitz. They’re not portraits - they’re not editorial, they’re telling a story.

Funny! I was just typing in to please consider minimalism or abstract or pano or high key or ... Something more significantly different than the previous.

What counts under natural/hot light ??

Is it only sun, fire... Or can it be room ceiling lamp?? etc

After watching the last video, it’s clear that the rules are really only suggestions.

Count on seeing plenty of strobe, natural, hot, practical, flashlight and moon lighting. For some reason this quote comes to mind:

“Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.” -Dr.Emmet Brown

Usually a 'hot light' refers to constant lights. That's what I read it as...

I'm sorry, maybe it's just me. But it seems the guidelines for qualifying are pretty much any photograph you have that uses pretty much any lightsource (as long as it' not a strobe)? Is that about it??????

+1 to that question.. ... I'm trying to find out the same...

Thanks George. I was confused when I saw the submissions and saw most of them using natural light. Thanks for clearing that up.

last 6/10 in the rating queue I saw were landscape shots..

Yes hotlights refer to constant light sources that are not ambient. Like not shooting outside or using a window. I wouldn’t consider interior lighting of a home or building either outside of stage lighting.

But even in that case it’s someone else doing your lighting for you.

Seems to come down to petit semantics most of the time, gets slightly annoying to skip through 60% of the photos, people need to 'just go with the rule' over cheap exposure uploading the same to every critique as it slightly meets it...somehow.

I was under the impression that it meant "not a flash". Sorry, my mistake, so I have pulled an image that used window light and replaced it with a more suitable one.

However, I will say that I would not have made a mistake if the explanation for the contest had said "no flash, no natural light"

"Hot Lights" is just a generic term for constant/continuous lighting. I have never heard it used for natural light from the sun or moon. =)

In my experience, usually when someone says "hot light" they specifically mean a constant light setup specifically for the sake of photo/video. Any other type of man-made constant lighting is usually just referred to as "ambient" or "available" lighting (excluding the sun or moon). However with that said, ambient light from lamps or architectural lighting should technically qualify as well since "constant/continuous" does not necessarily mean a photo/video specific lighting fixture.

Just my $.02

Thanks Dave.

So photo taken under ''constant'' sun or moon, does not qualify?

Now I know less then on the begining... :/

Sometimes phrases enter the vernacular made up of per-existing words such has "hot" and/or "light" and because these words have commonly understood literal meanings, if they are used together in a specific context, they can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the origins of the phrase.

Although technically, the sun or moon could accurately be called a constant light source in the literal sense, the term "hot light" was coined in the photo/movie/television industry to refer specifically to the high-powered tungsten lighting sources commonly used in production which are in fact dangerously "hot."

For decades as those industries matured, these were the primary artificial light sources commonly used in these industries until eventually other technologies that ran cooler (such as CFLs and now LEDs which serve the same purpose as "constant" lights) began to proliferate. Even though they are not technically as hot as the literally "hot" tungsten constant lights from which the phrase originates, old school industry people (and pretentious hipsters) may continue to use the term, and when they do, they literally are most likely referring to constant, man made, purpose built lighting.

In conclusion, it's just an internet contest that a few hundred people might view. Interpret how ya like. Let's all not stress out too much about it. We can all come to a consensus based on our votes. =)

Hot Lights: Its a constant light sourse thats man made.

I think the next few ones should be based on the tutorials fstoppers produces! To see how the community is doing in each genre!

This is a critique contest right? I think people should explain why there votes are low for my photos. I would love to hear the feed back from the community on what i can change

I agree with your point, they should comment and share the acknowledge from everybody. I think also that some of them just put low stars on purpose.

When I rate, if the photos aren’t in line with the critique, I will give out 1s just for not reading the rules. So anything in this one using natural sun light gets a 1 no need to explain, follow the critique!

As a newbie here myself, it seems to me that there is a vast difference in the perception of a 2 and a 3. To have a photo worthy of a portfolio, it has to be one of your top 30 photos, out of potentially tens of thousands that you have. To get a 4 it needs to be something that the reviewer would think is beyond what he could do and a 5 is untouchable. A 1 is something that shows the barest hint of talent. So most scores are a 2 by default. 90% of photos are a 2. That, and the fact that when you enter a competition you are often competing where the subject is at the edges of your areas of competence gets lower marks.

I also think that this is a site for post processing more than it is for good in camera shots. A bad shot with good post will score well, whereas a good shot with bad post will not.

Not a criticism, it is a great site but it is what it is. Keep your chin up and do not take the low marks to heart.

I think that is perfectly put. A new category should be put for voting for people who didn't 'get' what the contest was about. Like the last contest where it was all about strength and people post pictures of trees.

And off topic and snap shots should be a 1. Too many off-topics are being voted on based on their quality - which in most cases is quite good - when they should either receive no votes or 1s.

This is exactly what I do, you could have a 5 and if it’s off topic I give a 1 (I might give a 2 and a comment if I really really feel a solid 5 of an off topic image)

You know the sad thing is that there are aware winning photos on this site, i.e. Martin Stranka, and they don't even get a 5 :(

I'll give you feedback, which ones are yours?

The one with the model vaping and graffiti in the background

I couldn't find it.

This is the worst contest for off topic submissions that I can remember. I don't really blame those submitting, at least not totally, as you would think that fs could just put in one sentence to define the topic as their brief description doesn't match their contest title. However, people could also look it up. The sample photo just compounds the confusion.

I don't think this topic means any photograph taken in any light without a strobe or flash. Natural light, I don't think, counts as a hot light. Hot lights are a form of artificial light set up to give constant light.

I don't even begin to know how to vote when over half the entries are off topic. If off topics get a 1, people complain about unethical voting. In reality, it could just be that the submission doesn't meet the theme.

Not sure what to do here.

agree. We need a new vote button that says 'off topic' or 'not applicable'.

The sample photo is super misleading, if you don't get their intended (I'm assuming) irony.

I'd like to see a contest focusing on skies.

For those questioning what hot lights are, fstoppers has an article about them.

Obviously all of the landscapes are off topic, most outdoor shots are too. Most sparks and flame too without supplemental lights (which is confusing based on the sample).

Since a 'critique site' implies a desire to learn, one might think that an effort would be made to figure this out and submit accordingly.

But sparks are so hot!! Hahaha...
I actually liked those photos, but you're correct, they're off topic.

I thought it was clever but apparently it has created confusion. And I agree the sparks stuff is awesome! Honestly though - you could just google "Hot Lights - Photography" and learn all about this topic.

My understanding is, picture needs to be taken under a light bulb (T.A. Edison), any other light soure (led , etc) doesn't count....
So, my next question is: does picture of a object sitting on the street, illuminated by a light bulb, qualifies for this critique ??

If this was a professional competition with an entry fee and prize structure, I would say no. But this is an informal, amatuer/pro board with a relatively token award for winning so here I would say any artificial, constant light could work I guess. Do I think a computer screen is ok? Not really. A street light? Not really. Candle? Not really. Will I vote on these? Probably but not sure yet. The category is not 'creative lighting' it is hot lights which are a thing. How's that for clear as mud!

Or people could watch the last video where there describe it. They are referring to artificial constant light.

Not natural or ambient room light. If that was the case they would have just said our critique this week is any photograph with light...

I really appreciate every ones comments, i just like hearing feed back on my work is all. Its nice hearing from people in a place like this because most of the time they are unbiased opinions.the hole voting system was a little confusing for me, so i do appreciate that being explained aswell.

As already mentioned, the focus in these contests benefits from precise guidelines. The work submitted here is hardly comparative. It's also a lot more fun to see peoples images when there is a narrow focus and you get to see how different artists shoot under the same constraints.

This one is so bad it is turning me off to the contests. If fstoppers doesn't care enough to hear the requests for an 'off topic' voting option, it doesn't feel valid.

It's not just them though. The members don't care either. It takes 2 minutes to Google "hot lights" and see what's up. And, because they haven't made an effort to self monitor, they are also voting without considering the topic was well. There are some nicely done, appropriate images here with low scores losing to landscapes, etc.

So - all round bad showing.

Thanks for all the comments above explaining what a hot light is (and is not). Much clearer now thanks guys!

I just love how photos that are 4 in my portfolio are a 2 in this contest. And I'm sorry but if you're going to rate the wasp on blue a 2, explain yourself in a comment

I agree, it is not fair to downgrade a photo that you do not think fits the brief of "hot lights". Firstly, the person rating is making assumptions as to light sources and secondly, for those that are not professional, they get a lower mark which they assume is because of quality because no one leaves a comment as to why. These are the very people that need encouragement and should not be told their images are bad just because they have not understood a very loose brief. Even in this thread, some people have said window light is OK, others not, some have said street light is OK, others not. How are beginners supposed to know what to submit and then they get disparaging marks with no explanation?

Learning starts with wanting to learn. Beginners who don't know what the topic is (or anyone at any level for that matter) should look it up before entering. Take some personal responsibility and stop blaming the voter for the submitters lack of caring and effort. This isn't kindergarten and you don't get a participation award just for entering.

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Contest Submissions

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