Studio Lighting


Studio at home

This week we started a multi-part series on studio lighting. Now I am not talking about setting up flashes in a room with modifiers. I am talking power packs, strobes and large light modifiers. Plus we started to learn to use a light meter. This shot (left) was with one flash through an umbrella.

Now I am not sold on light metters in the digital SRL world simply because I can delete my test image and it doesn’t cost me a penny. Don’t get me wrong, they work and all but I find it an extra step and piece of equipment. Why go up to my subject and place a meter on them and determine what the intial setting of my camera should be, when I can meter in my camera and get pretty close to start and then go straight to making adjustments without having to go back and forth to and from the subject and my shooting position. For me in the end I usually don’t go with the “correct” exposure anyway. I like to be artistic and play with light so the metering gets me no closer to my desired exposure than just using my camera’s metering. Plus it must be from the point of view of the light source and not the camera. Meaning you meter from the direction of the light, where as when you meter with your camera you are doing it from the camera’s point of view which in some cases maybe more accurate.


Studio at home

Aside from the meter it’s self, I enjoyed the way my teacher Marty Deschambault of SPAO got us to learn the ropes of studio lighting and metering. Each of us took a turn positioning a model (my wife happened to help us out) and the lighting in the room and then given the meter to get our correct exposure. Once done we were only allowed one shot.

For most it was a chance to get use to metering and shooting as fast as we can. When I watch my buddy John Major shoot he is quick to meter within his camera and shoot. He makes small adjustments as he moves around the room, but it is that first setting that sets the rest of the shots in motion. I can say a couple of years ago I would meter for every shot. Now I have come to trust my camera to start and have learnt how to make those fine adjustments as I go. Not as fast and John and my teacher but still on the right track.

This lesson lends itself to the film days a lot more. Film is expensive and developing is as well. Add an unhappy client when you don’t get the shot and you have a career ending recipe.

Next week will be fun for me as it is lesson 2 on studio lighting and this time we have to come with a photo that inspires us to want to reproduce it. I have narrowed my list down to about 1000 pictures so far. The two shots here were shot in my home with a single flash.

Till next week check back for some more Lightroom tips.

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