How do you think, when lighting?

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bicho Regular Member • Posts: 496
How do you think, when lighting?

I'm doing some deep introspective stuff here, reflecting how I think when I light in studio/on-location. I am about to do a video of this personal "internal" process. But that's just me - it would be super interesting to hear others' creative process as well?

Here is some stuff I regularly do:

I always start by "creating" the background for my subject in the camera first. The first step is setting my aperture to get the depth of field I want and then set the shutter speed to get the amount of ambient light I want for my background. Sometimes a total blackout if flashes are supposed to do all the job, and sometimes not. But this is always the first step.

The second step is to create my main light idea practically. This is still without any talent in front of the camera. It can be for the background/foreground/whatever. One characteristic lighting idea that will build the foundation for the rest - and preferably give a hint on what is going on outside the frame/building the story about the talent's environment.

The third step is to light the different "layers" in the image, starting from the layer in the furthest back to front. I bring in the talent when it's time for his/hers layer. Normally this is the last layer.

One thing I do a lot is thinking like I am using photoshop. Like, "what would I do to this image in Photoshop?". Darken some corner, brighten some part and so on - and then I do it with light. This makes the whole process like painting an empty canvas...

So, how do you think when lighting? Do you do like Leibowitz, and bring out the diffused octabox and let it do the job, or do you have a more creative process with the light it self? How do you control shadow levels? Do you use a lot of flags? Mirrors? It would be super inspiring to hear others thinking processes!

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