Light is the basic element of any photograph. You cannot expose a clear image if there is no light. 

In order to create a good exposure, it is crucial to have enough light and this will be done only if you know that how to setup studio lighting.

Setting Up a Studio Lighting

Setting up studio lighting is not something absolute because different photographers use different equipment and setups for capturing images. 

Creating the lighting for a studio is actually a part of the creative process, but there is a standard way of doing so.

First of all, you have to setup a dropbox.

Set Back DropBox

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An appropriate backdrop is needed first. Traditionally, the backdrop is made of rolls of white paper mounted on stands and placed behind the subject. It provides a neutral background as well for photography.

The light is also called strobes or flash, becoming the most important element for image creation.

There will also be the need for stands on which the lights will be mounted.

The studio should have extension cables and power strips in relation to image creation. So photographers are able to place lights where they want while photo shooting.

Lighting Configurations of Studio

The lighting setup in a studio photoshoot is called Three Point Lighting.

The three-point lighting is a lighting setup in the studio for a photoshoot. We use these three points as a light source for our target object.

Key Light

The key light is also known as the main light, which is placed in front or toward the part of the subject’s body (face, hair, etc.) that needs light.

Fill Light

The fill light provides more balance to the lighting on the object target. It is placed close to the subject to fill in shadows to provide more light to the object.

Back Light

The photographer is trying to create an image with a high-quality background; the backlight is used to expose the background to keep the subject as the main part of the image.

The placement of the light is important because it is the only way to get your image clear and vivid for you.

A light meter is an instrument that photographers use to get settings for proper exposure of their image.

Lighting Techniques of Studio

There exist different sources of light in the world. We use modifiers to alter the type of light from the source to the target subject.

We have discussed 5 types of lighting techniques with their modifiers for users.

SoftBox

A softbox is designed to diffuse the light on the subject so that it is softer and more even. The modifier is placed in front of the light source on the light stand. 

There are two ways of triggering the lights: via a cable connected to the camera or wirelessly.

The softbox effect gives a soft light that smoothens the subject’s skin which masks many details. 

This is sometimes good since it can reduce retouching in post when working on the skin.

Beauty Dish

Beauty dishes are parabolic metallic dishes that bounce light from strobes to subjects.

It provides a much harder light that makes the skin and color more vibrant and highlights more details.

Images created using a beauty dish may require some additional retouching, especially if it exposes too many flaws on the subject.

Umbrella

An umbrella is a common light modifier that resembles a rain umbrella. 

You can also place the strobe to shine directly through the umbrella as a diffuser or to reflect light back to the subject.

The umbrella provides diffused light that is focused on a subject, providing a softer light that can cover a wider area under it.

Umbrella sizes are measured by their diameter in inches.

Bare Strobe Bulb

The photographer may want to shoot directly on the bulb or with just the strobe without using any diffuser or light modifier.

A photographer might want to blow the highlights a bit by getting the most out of the light source at its highest power rating. 

This will result in an image with a high-key appearance, bringing out the light tones and whites.

There is another reason to shoot with bare bulb light to provide backlighting for photography.

The Flash Light

This technique uses the on-camera flash or a Speedlight (flash unit) mounted on the hot shoe.

Generally, the subject is photographed against a wall or backdrop in a studio, although any background can work.

FAQ's

How to build a light studio at home without electricity?

If you don’t have electricity available at your home to build a light studio at home, then you can use these things as light sources.

  • Candles. Way to light your home off-grid
  • Oil Lamps. Oil lamps are a good option for lighting
  • Solar Lights
  • Flashlights or Battery Powered Lamps
  • Solar Panels or LED Lights
  • Outdoor natural lighting.
  • Maybe a combination of all.

Which studio lighting technique is better: an umbrella or softbox?

A softbox can shape the light more accurately than an umbrella and prevent more light spilling. 

Larger softboxes produce softer light, but they also require a greater amount of light to sufficiently fill the entire softbox.

How can we setup studio lights?

Place a silver brolly over one of the flash heads at a 45-degree angle to the model about six feet above the ground. As a result, a direct, hard, strong light is created along the top and side.

In this case, it is called a key light. To even out the lighting, place a reflector on the shadow side of the model to allow light to reflect back into it.