Master Your Craft: Studio Lighting Basics


by Jeremy Gray

published on Friday, July 1, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. EDT

Studio lighting is a big topic, but it doesn’t need to feel overwhelming. Understanding basic lighting and posing can dramatically improve your studio portraits. Even better, some of the lessons will translate to other portrait photography situations. A new video of Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge offers an overview of studio lighting fundamentals, including lighting setup, directionality, negative fill, pose, and camera angle.

For beginners, it’s common to set up your light and start shooting. However, even subtle improvements can produce dramatic improvements. Jirsa shoots with a single off-camera strobe and an octabox (softbox) modifier. You can track almost any off-camera light source and a simple modifier.

A simple lighting setup, like side lighting, isn’t bad. However, once you start configuring your lights more intentionally, there is so much room for creativity. Jirsa used a “primordial” lighting position, which is top-down lighting from the middle. Be sure to tilt the light to even it out. Otherwise, you’ll end up with very strong shadows on your subject’s face.

You can also incorporate other editing tools to further augment your unique light, including V-flats, like Jirsa did, or even different reflectors or other tools to bounce the light around. You might want to watch this in-depth lighting review video from Jirsa. In this video he demonstrates how you can control a single light source to change the look of a portrait.

For a written guide and to see more sample images, visit SLR Lounge. For more great content, head over to Adorama’s YouTube channel.

(Via Adorama and SLR Lounge)

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