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Secrets of Photography Lighting: 8 Tips Every Beginner Should Know

11/14/2023 Matt 0 Comments

In the intricate world of photography, mastering the art of lighting is a journey that often spans years. There's a multitude of lighting techniques to explore, each capable of transforming a mundane shot into a masterpiece. 

In this video, Tyler Stalman delves into the invaluable insights shared by a seasoned photographer, revealing the lighting tips he wishes he knew when embarking on his photographic odyssey.

1. Mastering Light Placement: Creating Depth and Separation

Before delving into specific settings and modifiers, Tyler Stalman stresses the importance of strategically placing the subject in the room. Moving the subject away from the wall can be a game-changer, instantly altering the brightness ratios and enhancing the depth of field. The tip here is to seek separation, ensuring that the subject pops against the background.

2. The Cinematic Touch: Light Direction Matters

In cinematic settings, he emphasizes that the subject should often avoid acknowledging the camera directly. Adjusting the light to come from the side or even behind the subject contributes to a cinematic feel, adding a touch of mystery and depth to the visuals.

3. Embrace the Power of Bright Lights: Headroom is Key

When it comes to LED lights, brighter is often better. Tyler Stalman advocates for lights with ample headroom,  enabling flexibility in adjusting power levels. This headroom proves crucial in scenarios where additional brightness is needed to balance exposures, particularly when shooting near windows.

4. Balancing Ratios: Introducing Soft Fill with a Smaller Light Source

In the quest for a well-balanced shot, he demonstrates a clever trick using a smaller light source to fill in backgrounds. This technique adds a soft, even fill to the overall exposure while the primary key light operates independently, providing creative control.

5. Size Matters: The True Secret to Soft Lighting

Dispelling a common misconception, Tyler reveals that the key to soft lighting isn't just about the quality of the modifier but the sheer size of the light source relative to the subject. The demonstration with different diffusion sizes emphasizes how larger sources create softer, more flattering shadows.

6. From Above, Not Just From the Side: Flattering Shadows

An often-overlooked technique is lighting slightly from above rather than straight on. This adjustment minimizes unflattering shadows on the background, enhancing the separation between the subject and their surroundings.

7. White is the Default: The Magic of Bouncing Light

In bouncing light, he extols the virtues of using a white reflector over silver. While silver may offer more output, the natural and softer look of white makes it the default choice for most scenarios. Gold, on the other hand, is swiftly dismissed.

8. Beyond Color Temperature: Tint Matching

Closing the enlightening journey, he stresses the significance of matching tint rather than solely focusing on color temperature. 

 In the ever-evolving world of photography, these tips serve as a beacon for those navigating the intricate interplay of light and shadow. With the right knowledge, aspiring photographers can illuminate their path to capturing breathtaking moments in the perfect light.

About Tyler Stalman:

Professional photographer & cinematographer with an endless love of gear, technology and style. Let's Get Connected: | Listen to the podcast | Twitter | Instagram

Images and video via Tyler Stalman