Studio lighting for Dummies...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Marc P., Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Marc P.

    Marc P. Guest

    Since I've had a good response for my "Profiles for dummies" post, I
    thought, what the heck...

    My other nightmare is studio lighting. I've just bought two Alien
    Bees with a 3'X4' soft dome and some umbrellas. I also have a 5 in 1
    36" reflector and, of course, different studio backdrops. Before
    that, I used a few Vivitar 285s on stands with umbrellas with mixed

    Are there any sites out there that take you through the studio
    lighting thing, step by step. I know the basics, but when I've done
    sessions in the past, it's been hit and miss.

    Often, people on or will describe their
    lighting set-up, but most times, they'll say I used this thing or that
    thing... and I don't know what the heck they are talking about. Sites
    that would have actual pictures of set ups and of gear piece by piece
    would be great (hey... don't grin... I did say "for Dummies"!).

    Any links to relevant ressources really, really appreciated.


    Marc P., Dec 31, 2003
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  2. Marc P.

    Carl Miller Guest

    Check out I got his book on Studio Lighting and
    Boudoir Photography, but his site has a LOT of free info. He makes and
    sells diffusion panels, and being the cynical old codger that I am, I
    first thought, "Yeah right, it's all just an infomercial for diffusion
    panels." I was wrong!
    Carl Miller, Jan 1, 2004
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  3. Marc P.

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Even if there is a good website on lighting it would be a PITA to use it in
    the studio. THere are a lot of books on lighting -- tons of them. I would
    suggest a trip to the library or used books store first and if you still
    haven't found anything try the lighting books on this list. They are about
    halfway down the page:
    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    Tony Spadaro, Jan 1, 2004
  4. Marc P.

    Ron Guest

    Being a studio owner in a previous life, I am a firm believer in learning
    from the pros. Check around in your area for any photography organizations
    with open membership. You may find a local organization/club that sponsors
    one or two meetings a year that include guest speakers and demos on portrait
    lighting, etc. I belonged to such a group and attended dozens of very
    informative classes over the years. You may even find a 'friendly' portrait
    photographer who wouldn't mind sharing a few tips.

    Also, check out this page. Click on the link at the bottom, 'Lighting Videos
    by Dean Collins'. I think you would get your money's worth from his Lighting
    Basics 2 - Studio Portraits.

    (email: replace 'abuse' with 'cyberguy3k')
    Ron, Jan 1, 2004
  5. Randall Ainsworth, Jan 1, 2004
  6. Depends on what scale your definition of "studio" is.
    Try this for a start:
    That might be due to a lack of previsualisation.
    It helps enormously when you know what you want
    to achieve and how to get there.
    Then do it the other way around. Look at what the
    lights do with the subject and go from there.
    Soft shadow borders result from large light formers,
    hard shadow borders result from small light formers.
    Higher distance from light to subject will make
    shadow borders harder from a given light former and
    vice versa. Learn to read images without being told
    what was used. Look at highlights in the eyes of
    persons or on reflective surfaces.

    It's all in the images, just learn to read them.
    Michael Quack, Jan 2, 2004

  7. An outstanding source. You won't go wrong with this Joe's advice.

    Also spend a few bucks on the best of the books:
    Light - Science and Magic, by Hunter and Fuqua

    It really isn't hard. But for the really hard stuff, Hunter & Fuqua
    show you how, as well.
    Sharon Everett, Jan 13, 2004
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