Creative Problem-Solving: Lighting Techniques and Tips

Lighting is a crucial aspect of photography, often making or breaking a shoot. Understanding how to manipulate light effectively is essential. This video details a challenging scenario that was transformed into a valuable lesson on lighting techniques.

Coming to you from Nathan Elson, this insightful video showcases how to adapt and problem-solve when natural lighting conditions fail to meet expectations. Elson shares his experience of planning a photoshoot in a studio with large west-facing windows, only to be met with an overcast day devoid of the desired hard light. Instead of canceling, he employed artificial lighting to recreate the look he envisioned. This adaptability is a key skill for any photographer.

Elson used an Aputure 600D light with a 26-degree spot mount and a CTO gel to mimic warm sunset light. By adding another 600D with a Light Dome 150, he reduced contrast and added a catchlight in the model’s eyes, illustrating the importance of having a versatile lighting kit and understanding how to manipulate light to achieve the desired effect, regardless of the natural conditions.

In addition to the lighting setup and retouching techniques, Elson emphasizes the importance of creative problem-solving and adaptability in photography. His approach to overcoming the lack of natural light by replicating it with artificial sources and manipulating the environment showcases how you can still achieve your vision even when conditions are less than ideal. This mindset can be applied to various challenges faced during shoots, encouraging a proactive and resourceful attitude that gets the results you and your clients want. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Elson.

If you would like to continue learning about how to light a portrait, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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