We need to choose what Lighting Types best suit our work
We all have very varied experience with studio photography, so I wanted to make sure that you feel comfortable with making decisions about what kind of lighting types will work best for you.
All the information about Lighting Types you need to get started is in the video, however if you search for LED photography panels, LED wands and professional flash heads you will start to see the tremendous choice that is available. The choices may confuse you, so definitely do not go rushing out to buy lots of kit unless you are absolutely sure it is right for your needs.
Check out food photography blogs as well if you are interested in learning more about food photography and daylight use, in particular well known chef Jamie Oliver uses a great photographer David Loftus who loves daylight! Using Daylight may be your first best option, don’t overlook it!
Enjoy your viewing!
Don’t have the time, or cannot watch the video? Here’s the transcript…
Lighting Types – An Introduction to Lighting types and uses
Photographers would be really nothing without knowledge and mastery of light. This could seem an obvious statement, but knowing that some of you are complete beginners, I don’t want to assume that we all understand lighting. So, let’s start off with the basics and look at the three main types of light source that I think you will come into contact with.
In my mind we have Flash, Constant (LED) and Daylight (natural).
In a controlled shooting space, products have traditionally been shot with flash. Professionals tend to use Flash. I think this is because flash has a very consistent light output. Every time we hit the shutter, we want to know exactly the result we are going to get. The flash heads we use in professional studios always have a modelling bulb, so we see fairly well what the subjects are looking like. With flash, the shooting space does not have to be blacked out. If you are working from home, having a dark shooting space is more than likely not an option for you.
Flash is easy to use and very controllable. The downside is that for the starter set up it can be very expensive. We have low-cost Speed Lights, that can of course be used. These lights are very much more accessible for everyone. However, the power of the flash heads and the lack of a modelling bulb can make tricky to use. I do not think they the ideal light source to help you learn and develop your lighting skills.
What about Constant Light?
For shooting products, there is a new breed of modern lighting available to us in the form of LED lighting, which is starting to really impress me. The reason LED lighting so good now, is because we’ve suddenly got masses of variety in the market place. Now it’s both affordable and offers us choices.
Let’s start with the LED panel. Panels are great for flat lighting large areas. This gives us opportunity for creating the right light when using as the main product light either direct or diffuse, or as big fill in. We now have LED heads that act just like the pro flash heads I use. We can put reflectors and grids on the front or pop on a soft box or strip light. Other forms of LED lights are strip lights and hand held wands. These are beautifully light, and do not get hot so can we can experiment holding them for looking at lighting angles and can even lay them down onto the shooting surface itself. These lights are way more versatile than a flash head, and cost a lot less.
My favourite thing about LED lighting is that many of the panels, strip lights and heads allow us to vary the colour of the light. This is where we can mix the yellow and white light together to achieve our perfect colour balance. The beauty of this light for beginners, is that you can instantly see the result you are getting with 100% accuracy. This is so much easier for you then guessing what the light is going to do with a speedlight or judging the light difference between a modelling bulb and the actual flash.
Daylight or Natural light.
This is not the most common used light for product photographers, due to its ever-changing nature, however when dealing with softer more organic subjects it can look amazing!
Daylight is quite literally the light, from outside ,coming in through a window. The changeability is the hard thing to deal with. The sun direction is constantly moving, and changes colour throughout the day. Daylight can be very intense if direct or feel very flat grey and dull if overcast. Saying that, if you get it right, it can be the most beautiful instant and free light source you can possibly ask for.
Shooting in daylight requires knowledge about diffusion and filling in. Both can be quite simple techniques when learned. A genre of photography that loves shooting with daylight is food photography. So many food photographers I have known love shooting with daylight. As a beginner with no lighting kit available, this could a great place for you to start to learn.
So, there are 3 main lighting types, and they all have their uses.
- Flash is dependable and consistent but can be pricey.
- LED is a new kind of lighting that I feel really suits the new photographer. It is now affordable, great quality and offers the variety you need.
- Daylight is something to be considered given the right situation, however probably not the serious product photographers choice.
Product photography, and lighting is all about control. It’s about understanding how to create the right light and when to use it. As you advance, you’re going to want to gain consistency in your results. You are going to want to pre-empt your results and speed up. Your lighting skills and understanding will help you achieve this. I feel very passionate that lighting is everything. I taught myself lighting as a photographer, and I believe you also need to find out what kind of lighting makes you really excited about your product photography.
Shoot Products like A Pro teaches these basic skills that you need and takes you through a structured process where you gain an understanding of what is required to be in control. Practice and experimentation and experience will hone these skills. Then, you can apply your thinking to any of the lighting and photographic challenges that you will face in your photography journey.
It has been great to chat today. We will be revisiting and talking about specific lighting many, many, many times in the future, so don’t worry if you are not yet sure about what to look for, or what is best for you.
Cheers for now!
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