Working with studio lights can be a daunting process for many photographers. Many find the studio to be a place of fear and anxiety where the sanctity of natural light has vacated and the hauntingly, horrific wasteland of light stands, strobes and modifiers is all that remains.
So how does one meander there way through this alien landscape and find a corridor of comfort in which they can relax? The simplest and often most powerful way to navigate this network of nerves is with a go to one light set-up that will provide a never ending reservoir of great imagery.
Early on when I started shooting with studio lighting, I was always overly concerned with the light. Sounds like a strange comment, huh? You must be thinking, “Of course he should be concerned with the light, it is studio lighting.” As intuitive as that thought might sound, I was always so focused on my light source that what I never paid attention to was the shadows created by the light.
In studio lighting, it is the transition of light to shadow that provides depth, beauty and interest to your photos.
Is this a hard transition with a distinct line and harsh contrast separating the two? Or is it a soft, gradual melting of the light into the shadow? This transition zone is what should be the focus of your attention when getting into studio lighting.
How do these shadows change with a large, soft light close to your subject or a small, harsh light placed several feet from your subject? These are concepts that need to be experimented with and understood and the best way to do it is to practice.
So let’s go ahead and give you a place to get started and begin to nurture your studio skills.