Introduction: Lighting Tutorial for Photography

Eric Blacker & Joelle Bowman

Step 1: Step 1: Have the Photo Prepared, Organized, and Ready for Capturing.

Having your picture ready to to be taken is the important aspect when composing your lighting. Making sure you have everything in the right positions will tell us where we need to place our lighting, based on the shadows and dark sides of the subjects/items. We can debate on where and what direction our light source is pointing. This may vary depending on your angles you want to shoot or what you involve in the image and also what is happening in the background.

Step 2: Search for a Light Source

Your light is a very important part of your photo. You’ll need some form of light source otherwise your photo will be completely dark. Using a stage light would be your best form of light. Think about different ways to use your light such as back light, side light, etc. to capture your subject the best.

Step 3: Adjust the Position of the Light Source and Subject

Adjustments are very critical when it comes to detail such as shadows, what sides or angles you want to show and really bring out for your subject or object. When you are trying to figure out where to put the lighting, try every angle and consider with an open mind what choices you have that are available. When you have your object set in place and your camera set up then I would suggest keeping it there, the only thing now that you should move and adjust is your lighting.

When using light lamps or anything lamp that is movable, consider moving it around the subject/object. Try having it in place at 3 different angles: 45, 90 and 180. These angles can expose the front of the object, one specific side of your choosing and also the back of your object. This can bring the viewers attention by showing them a special, unique side of the object that is very different and striking to the eye.

Within finding what angle you want to present the light, you also need to think about how high or low you want the lighting in the specific angle because there are plenty of different ways you can have shadows shown in the photo. Three different ways are High Medium and Low. High and low can bring a little more glam in certain areas of the photo, but medium is mainly just the normal height you do in order to cover the whole object on that angle and not get that much shadow included.

Step 4: Double Check Your Adjustments

After you have your subject and your light source in the position you want them, double check to make sure all of your adjustments are correct. Take a few test photos to make sure everything is in the right spot.

Step 5: Double Check the Exposure of Light for Your Liking

Double checking allows you to look at all your work and make sure that you didn't forget anything. It is very important that you double check your exposure of light for your liking and how much light you want to let in. If you're wanting a more dark photo with some light standing out and then edit it later to clean it up and make it look sharp, then you would want to make sure that you don't include that much or at least have a low setting set. If you're looking more towards having a bright photo, then you would want to double check you have enough lighting and have it on a higher setting. You could also double check if you have enough natural light if you are using that as your source. Sources vary when you are looking at how much light you want to include, so as long as you double check that you have the right amount you need for your liking, then you're set and ready to move on.

Step 6: Take the Photo!

Once your light source and subject are in the right spot, and your camera settings are set correctly for the photo you’re ready to take your photo!