Five Tips That Will Make You Better at Lighting

Lighting: it's the beginning and end of photography. The way we think about light shapes our style, our techniques, and the way we feel about our art. Unfortunately, lighting, whether by natural or artificial means, can be intimidating. When we're learning about lighting, all too often we get so wrapped up in technique that we don't think about what we are doing before we execute. However, sometimes the best tips we can get have more to do with mentality than technique.

More than any other topic, I get asked about my lighting technique. Where do I put my lights? What are my power settings? How do I set up my camera? What's the best light brand? All of these are, of course, valid questions. The problem with them is that without some forethought into what you're trying to create, it's hard to give a definitive answer. More important than getting answers to questions about the equipment and settings is answering some questions of your own. Namely, why are you lighting the way you are? What's the scene like? Are you just lighting a certain way because it's the only way you know how? Is there a better way? How can you experiment?

In the accompanying video, I try to put together five tips that, if followed, I firmly believe can make you a stronger lighting technician in no time. If you have any questions or comments, please sound off below.

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Elan Govan's picture

Informative odd thing here is...a man known for falling down a lot on sets using the word stupid.

Hans Rosemond's picture

Haha. Well, I like to think that being clumsy has little to do with bad decision-making. But that could just be wishful thinking.

Elan Govan's picture

You are right. The point being, we can all be clumsy in our decision making process. Taking short cuts etc, when patience is required.

Dani Riot's picture

Nailed it...

Jared Wolfe's picture

Excellent video. I agree X100 on getting a light meter. Knowing your ratios can really help you get consistent results and know exactly how to setup your lights before you even fire the first frame.

Lorin Duckman's picture

Just hard to use a light meter with PCB or Canon 600s.

Hans Rosemond's picture

Not sure I follow. Why is it difficult?