How do you think, when lighting?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Darrell Spreen Forum Pro • Posts: 10,796
Re: How do you think, when lighting?

Well....I'm a bit reluctant to comment because I'm strictly an amateur though I've been experimenting with lighting for a number of years. I do have some opinions.

I like to try different things so I often begin thinking about creating effects with lights. As an example, I recently produced the effect of window light through shutters by single-slit diffraction using barndoors nearly closed in front of an LED source. It turned out to be quite effective.

Usually, however, my approach is more mundane. I will usually start with the fill light, looking for the "mood". I position it from high to low to see how it plays on the background. I consider both shoot-through or reflecting umbrellas, though I usually know which one I want.

I add my key light once I have a subject (or a stand-in) and look for shadows, dimensionality, and contrast ratios. With some subjects, I recognize I need to go with flat lighting. I will then add reflectors if I want some fill not provided by my fill light. I rarely use more than 2 lights unless I need a hair light.

I get the impression I follow a somewhat similar approach to yours (as opposed to starting with the main light), but I don't think or work in layers. And I don't think about photoshop at all. I treat image editing as another variable after the fact to crop, add vignetting, or perhaps introduce a soft filter, etc.

Thanks for the opportunity to re-visit the way I like to work with lighting. It's quite different from shopping for some new light or modifier.

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