Here are some simple but effective tools to create a solid photo or video. Of course, natural lighting is always the way to go; however, not all of us have the gusto to get up at 5 a.m. for the perfect light. So here are a few options.
This is my fancy party bulb.
You can get fancy to create a specific style or feel. That's where these babies come in!
Another simple and cheap option is to use a poster board. This a technique to soften shadows as well as bounce light back into the image.
Ok so, this is an example of good lighting. The image is bright, but does not have any blown out highlights. The shadows are dark, but soft and unobtrusive to the image. This is your standard option.
|Chiaroscuro like an SOB|
The great thing about art is once you know the rules you don't have to follow them at all. Some of my favorite photos are created with bad or odd lighting. The important thing is to know what to do when necessary. I like my makeshift studios because they are inexpensive and mobile. I don't mind if my stuff is broken, because it is easily replaceable. Also a word on flash. Don't be afraid. It's OK to use flash, just do it sparingly!
One final thing I've picked up along the way. Do your work before you get to Photoshop. It is an amazing tool, but think how much further your images can go when you have a solid foundation.