Lesson Task: Studio Lightning

Name three lighting sources and their functions:

1. Natural light

In photography when talking about natural light we are talking about using the sun as our lightning source. This is my absolute favorite lightning source when it comes to photography. Here you can be as creative as you want and move around until you find the perfect spot. It is all about understanding the angel of the sun and how it will affect your photos. The best time for photographing in natural light is the hours closest to sunrise or sunset. Here you get a softer light with stunning colors. Photographing in the middle of a sunny day can create some harsh contrast to your pictures. Photographing on a cloudy day can create some stunning and dramatic shots. The clouds work as a diffuser and the contrast of light on your subject is less harsh.    

2. Hard light

Hard light creates a high contrast where the transition between highlights and shadows are sharp and well defined. To create this you usually use a single-point light source aimed from a distance to create a dramatic photograph. This can also be achieved outside on a sunny day or at night with the help of a streetlight.        

3. Soft light

Soft light is light that is filtered by something. Like sunlight through a sheer curtain or the light behind a lampshade or a professional light in a softbox. This is used to create a more natural-looking appearance, it is more flattering and often requires less retouching. It can smooth out wrinkles, hide acne and bring out the light in someone’s eyes.        


Name two light modifiers and explain the difference between them:

1. Softbox

A softbox is great at filling in shadows when the light is harsh. It can improve the lighting in your pictures and is very useful when available light is low. Softboxes are used to diffuse the light onto your subject.   

2. Reflectors

Reflectors are a great way to control your shadows when photographing. They don’t create light, they reflect light. You can use it to fill dark shadows, use the reflective layer to bounce light onto your subject, or use the black backside of your reflector to block light from your subject.

The difference between a softbox and a reflector is that a softbox creates a soft light and a reflector can only reflect light from a light source or block it. Both are great tools to help improve shadows and light when you’re photographing.     

Draw a diagram of and describe the three-point lighting setup:

Draw three studio setups for the following subject matters (portrait, beauty, and fashion) and list all the equipment that you would use to light your subjects:

In a magazine or on the Internet, find one fashion shot, a beauty shot and a portrait shot and explain how you think the lighting was set up in each shot:


For this fashion shot, I believe that they have used one light source above the model pointing slightly down on the model. Creating a more dramatic effect. When you use paramount lightning also called “butterfly lightning” as you can see the shape of a butterfly shadow under the model’s nose.


For this beauty shot. I believe that they have used one light source placed right in front of the model, a little above the eyes to create this shot. You can see the light source in the eyes of the model and the whole face is beautifully captured without too many shadows. The background is quite dark and the only shadows seem to be coming from the flowers. There is no light on the back of the cheeks suggesting that only one light source has been used here.


For this portrait shot, I believe they have used a three-point lighting setup. One key light as the main source of light is placed to the left of the camera, and a second fill light to the right of the camera on the opposite side of the key light and about half as bright as the key light, and then one back light. Placed opposite from the key light, used to light up the model from behind to create more depth to your portraits.

Take some portrait shots and pay specific attention to the lighting you use. Do one shot with soft lighting and one with more dramatic, harder lighting. It would be beneficial to hire studio lighting, but if you can’t, you may use natural light, reflectors, and your camera’s flash.

Soft lighting

This photograph was taken outside on my terrace one afternoon on a cloudy day. Nature’s own diffuser. I took a white bed sheet and used it as a backdrop.

Hard lightning

For this photograph, I built a homemade studio in my living room. I used a natural light source from a window and one led light stick that I hanged from the roof. To the right from my model. I underexposed it a bit so I would get enough contrast in the shadows. I have then edit it to black and white to get an even more dramatic look.

Choose a portrait photograph from the ones you took in Question 3. Create a unique movie poster for a fictional fantasy movie of your choice.

For this LT I used one of my pictures from the portrait shoot. I first added the red color layer in photoshop then I added the text.

Hope you like it!

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